The automation revolution has arrived in fashion! The apparel stitching by robots has shown that the clothing industry was among the first to be mechanized. Electric sewing machines have been in use for well over a hundred years. But the need is that they require skilled human hands to guide the materials. Now as robotic automation has evolved, it has considerably reduced the number of workers needed for mass production of clothing.
Sewbots have evolved by Igniting a transformation in the field of clothes manufacturing! The apparel manufacturing, supply chains and speed of delivery can all be brought to limelight in case of speedy processing. These could have significant implications for the promotional products industry, where apparel accounts for 39% of annual industry sales, according to SOI data.
A Georgia Tech spin-off, SoftWear Automation in Atlanta, claims to have built a practical sewing robot. And it doesn’t need starch. Rather, it’s based on a much higher-tech approach, one that combines machine vision and advanced manipulators.
This is a big achievement for Atlanta based brand SoftWear Automation, which launched in 2012! The company’s Sewbots use a combination of patented high-speed computer vision and lightweight robotics to steer fabric to and through the needle with greater speed and accuracy than humans!
Adidas and automated Sewbots!
This is a major breakthrough in the automation of garment assembly by the global partnership! Leading sportswear brand Adidas is planning to produce 800,000 T-shirts per day using fully automated Sewbot Workline’s supplied by SoftWear Automation, of Atlanta, GA.
Tianyuan Garments Company, of Suzhou, China, the largest producer of apparel for Adidas worldwide, has partnered with SoftWear Automation to produce the T-shirts.
From fabric cutting and sewing to finished product, it takes roughly four minutes,” said Tang Xinhong, chairman of Tianyuan Garments. “We will install 21 production lines. When fully operational, the system will make one T-shirt every 22 seconds. We will produce 800,000 T-shirts a day for Adidas.
The Manufacturing Scenario Using SewBots!
By using advanced machine vision, cutting-edge computing and robotic sewing, the Sewbots will be able to handle soft fabrics and actually “make” T-shirts, says SoftWear Automation CEO, Palaniswamy Rajan. Indeed, China-based Tianyuan Garments Company, which owns the Arkansas plant, aims to produce massive volumes of tees for Adidas with the Sewbots.
“From fabric cutting and sewing to finished product, it takes roughly four minutes,” Tang Xinhong, chairman of Tianyuan Garments, recently told China Daily. “We will install 21 production lines. When fully operational, the system will make one T-shirt every 22 seconds.” Labour costs, Tang says, will be about 33 cents per shirt. “Around the world, even the cheapest labour market can’t compete with us,” he says, noting the plant’s operations will ultimately generate 400 new jobs in Arkansas.
Manufacturing in its Many Forms
It takes a cue from established robot counterparts. It works by using a water-soluble thermoplastic to stiffen fabric to be as sturdy as cardboard, which can then be manipulated by an off-the-shelf universal robot and fed into a sewing machine. Once the seams are stitched, the stiffened garment is put into hot water, where the plastic melts off and the shirt emerges in its soft, finished state.
Sewing Automation at Different Companies
Today, clothes must still be hand-fed into a sewing machine. Also to consider is the labour costs involved! There is no doubt about the fact that sewing automation has ignited the world of automation! And other startups are working on it.
Different companies use different methodologies for sewing automation! For instance,
- Kniterate, was founded several years ago and is trying to knit together ready-to-wear garments. They perform this by the 3D printing of fabric. Here they establish that it requires no fabric sewing at all!
- Fabrican uses a “spray-on fabric,” where a chemical is applied directly to the body to create a garment that moulds to any individual’s physical form.
- SoftWare Automation uses computer-enabled cameras to track the location of the fabric and determine stitching position. But
- Sewbo appears to be the only startup using a stiffener to make fabric adaptable to existing robots–a cheaper solution than building a machine that uses cameras and algorithms to manipulate fabric, since
- Zornow estimates the cost of plastic needed to stiffen one shirt is less than 10 cents.
Future Robotic Automation In Garment Industry and Its Impact!
The biggest concern about the rise of robots, automation and artificial intelligence is the job loss! According to the statistics on the apparel industry revolution by sewing robots, the entire garment industry employs 60 to 75 million people worldwide. In a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO says that automated assembly lines will most likely cost the jobs of 90 per cent of garment workers!
Applications of robotic automation are already in place in every industry. The time is “Now”! Get started right away with our customized product and service-based solutions.
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