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02.7.2018

TRT World: Will Robots Completely Replace Humans from Textile Factory Floors?

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TRT World: Will Robots Completely Replace Humans from Textile Factory Floors?

 

A lot of the work that goes into making a t-shirt or a pair of jeans has been automated, except for cutting and sewing. Now machines are taking over one of these last surviving manual jobs, which humans have performed for hundreds of years.

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Just picking up a piece of fabric is a massive step forward for robots. Sewing and stitching has eluded machines because cloth is floppy and crumbly, difficult to handle even for humans who are not trained tailors.

Nimble finger movements can quickly adjust a piece of fabric under the needle of a sewing machine. It’s a grueling job for a worker to continuously adjust the garment under the striking needle, making sure the seam stays straight and smooth.

It’s a skill that garment factory workers in developing countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and India acquire over many years of mentorship.

What has come to drive them out of the factories is a combination of powerful algorithms, fast computing speed and the ever-decreasing cost of technological products.

The Sewbot work-line robots rely on high speed cameras, which see the individual threads in fabric, pinpointing the exact location where a needle strikes and adjusting the garment accordingly.

Softwear Automation sees this as a disruptive technology, which will have a lasting impact on how apparel, home textiles and garments are made. And it can do that without workers.

“Our Sewbot work-line can produce nearly twice as many finished t-shirts in an eight-hour shift as manual sewing and can running 24 hours a day,” Softwear Automation’s CEO Palaniswamy Rajan said.

“It’s 80 percent more efficient.”

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