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AATCC : Impact of Digital Technology on Textile Manufacturing


AATCC : Impact of Digital Technology on Textile Manufacturing

Whether for large-scale contract manufacturers or artisanal designers, new digital systems are opening new possibilities for making and using textiles. And, as with the e-textiles discussed in last month’s issue, some of the most promising early markets are for home goods and interiors.

Take Atlanta-based SoftWear Automation. A Georgia Tech spinoff, this startup sells sewing systems, dubbed “sewbots,” that use machine vision and robots to control stitching. Its software tracks needle placement, using the thread pattern and surface textures to create a map of the fabric.

“We’re at half-a-millimeter accuracy,” says K.P. Reddy, the company’s former chief executive. “Most humans can’t even contemplate what that looks like. We can do things like sew a perfect circle, which a human can’t do.”

Thanks to the low-cost, off-the-shelf cameras that drive the machine vision, SoftWear Automation can boast that its machines pay for themselves in just two years.

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