Innovation in Textiles: Filling the Automation Gap

An Atlanta, US, based brand SoftWear Automation, launched in 2012, aims to change this by creating autonomous ‘sewn good’ worklines for home goods, footwear, and automotive sectors. With its patented Sewbots fully automated technology, the company aims to geographically shorten the distance between manufacturer and consumer by utilizing benefits of disruptive technologies.

“In 2002, the Berry Amendment went into effect restricting the military from procuring clothing that was not made in the USA. Complying with the rule proved challenging due to a lack of skilled labour available in the US that only got worse as the current generation of seamstresses retired with no new talent to take their places. It was under these circumstances that the initial idea for Soft Wear was born and the company was launched in 2012,” explained Chairman and CEO Palaniswamy Rajan.

“Since then, we have grown our team to 25 engineers and developers, delivered our first products in the US and are currently working on moving from worklines for home goods to launching our first fully automated workline solely for apparel production.” The company received US$ 1.75 million grant from the defense department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to produce a prototype of its automatic sewing machine in 2012, ultimately raising US$ 4.5 million to further advance the technology.

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