CONTROL AND PACK
TRANSFER TO PAPER BOXES - Step 20
After the winnowing, the needles are distributed randomly: they are said to be "bunched up" It is impossible to condition them if they are not parallel. The ridged tray used in step 13 is used once again. Once they are parallel, a curved spatula is used to put the needles in envelopes with flat bottoms, called "boxes". These "boxes" are then taken to the triage and conditioning workshops where they will be handled easily.
SORTING BY LENGHT - Step 21
After cutting and pointing, the needles are all of slightly different lenghts, so they have to be sorted by a process called "tallage". These machine dating from the 19th century, allow the needles to allign themselves on a notched wheel, then drop into brass holders calibrated for each needle's lenght. These "brass hands each receive needles of only one lenght.
ORIENTATION - Step 22
After the tallage, the second sorting process is to have them all lined up in the same direction, either by the eye or the point. This is called "appérissage". The aligning machine is composed of tappets calibrated to find the needle's center of gravity. Once they are centered, the needles that arrived pointing in both directions either fall into the grooves below, or continue on their way.
QUALITY CONTROL BY MACHINE - Step 23
The machine senses the direction of the needles by their weight and turns them in the same direction as needed. However, the machine also checks the eye and point. Any imperfections - a crooked point, a damaged eye - are detected by the machine's electronic readers and ejected.
MANUAL QUALITY CONTROL - Steps 24 and 25
The needles are rolled under the worker's fingers. Many years of experience are needed to master this kind on manual control. In order to verify that there are no remaining defects, a light is shown on a hand full of needles, points up. A white spot means that the light is reflecting on a flat surface and the needle is therefore defective; this is called a dull needle.
STICKING THE NEEDLES - Step 26
Loaded in the hoppers according to size, the machine takes one needle from each hopper, places them next to each other, pinches the fabric ribbon, sticks them in, then lines them up from the bottom. This operation is called "sticking the needles". The machine is equipped with a counter, and the ribbon is wound around a spool.
INSERT INTO PACKAGES - Last step
The spools are loaded onto the packing machine. In one continuous process, this machine cuts the ribbon, places the cellophane cover, folds the cardboard package which is loaded by the operator, and makes its own fastener. The packages are then loaded 50 at a time into a box, and the needles are now ready to be shipped to BOHIN France clients.