LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 13, 2017) — Textiles play a major role in customer satisfaction in the health care and hospitality industries. The University of Kentucky Textiles Testing Laboratory helps these industries ensure customer demands are met. It recently celebrated its 30th year of doing so through continuous funding from the Association for Linen Management.
“The appearance of the textiles affects the overall quality of the experience, whether it is a patient’s stay in the hospital or the guest in a hotel room,” said Elizabeth Easter, professor in the UK Department of Retailing and Tourism Management. “It is the responsibility of the textile care manager to maintain the aesthetics in addition to the durability of the textiles.”
The association is dedicated to the professional development of personnel in the textile care industry. Members of the association are textile care managers in hospitals, nursing homes, resorts and hotels.
The partnership between the UK lab and the association began when Easter started teaching textile classes in the association’s Laundry and Linen College, its training and educational program for linen managers. The lab, housed in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, provides the association’s members with a test piece service. The test piece is a quality control tool, which enables linen managers to monitor the ability to maintain aesthetically pleasing and durable textiles. Preparation and evaluation of the test piece is conducted by UK graduate and undergraduate student lab technicians. They measure the tensile strength of the test piece to determine durability and the whiteness index for aesthetics.
Since the lab began, the association has provided more than $880,000 to UK, which has enabled Easter to hire research assistants and lab technicians. Easter said the test piece service provides students an opportunity to work directly with industry and to gain textile testing experience. The industry has hired students based on their work experience in the Textile Testing Lab.