AP­PAREL MAN­U­FAC­TUR­ING IS CHANG­ING WORLD­WIDE…

PRO­DUC­TION SYS­TEMS ARE NOW VIEWED WITH A WHOLE NEW MEAN­ING

Stitch World - - NEWS -

In­ter­net of Things (IoT), ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing, man-to-ma­chine com­mu­ni­ca­tion, ma­chine-to-ma­chine com­mu­ni­ca­tion, SaaS, smart man­u­fac­tur­ing, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence – dif­fer­ent jar­gons con­cocted from which the term ‘In­dus­try 4.0’ emerged out. It is a rev­o­lu­tion­ary wave in the global ap­parel in­dus­try which is sure to trans­form the ways of ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing, where not only your fac­tory will be­come ‘smart’, but your tech­nol­ogy as well as your gar­ment too will come un­der the ‘smart’ cat­e­gory. In this In­dus­try 4.0 ready world, is it ac­cept­able to rely on the tra­di­tional way of man­u­fac­tur­ing gar­ments? Walk­ing at par with the swift­ness of the clock, it is time to switch over to a whole new way of man­u­fac­tur­ing gar­ments. Team StitchWorld analy­ses few such in­no­va­tive ap­parel pro­duc­tion sys­tems…

Unit Pro­duc­tion Sys­tem ( UPS), Pro­gres­sive Bun­dle Unit Sys­tem ( PBU) and Mod­u­lar Pro­duc­tion Sys­tem – all three de­note the preva­lent ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing sys­tems but are likely to lose their mo­men­tum in near fu­ture with new or im­pro­vised re­vi­sion hap­pen­ing in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sys­tems. The ques­tion that pro­vokes the change is how to reach the cus­tomer fast and re­duce the time from the de­sign process to the point it reaches the store. For once, cheap labour and work­ing with the tra­di­tional man­u­fac­tur­ing sys­tems will not have the supremacy as be­fore as against the newly adopted man­u­fac­tur­ing sys­tems.

Team StitchWorld has iden­ti­fied some such pro­duc­tion sys­tems that have caught at­ten­tion of the world and presents a de­tailed anal­y­sis of the same.

Mi­cro Fac­tory

Re­cently un­veiled at Tex­pro­cess 2017, a Dig­i­tal Tex­tile Mi­cro Fac­tory is a model of fu­ture man­u­fac­tur­ing that will en­able the pro­duc­tion of cus­tom­ized prod­ucts in a com­pet­i­tive way, near to the point of use to meet the cus­tomers’ de­mand through the dig­i­tal net­work­ing of au­to­mated pro­cesses.

The cur­rent model where re­tail­ers place their or­der with the man­u­fac­tur­ing hubs months be­fore, and the prod­uct finds a home with the con­sumer, is no longer ca­pa­ble of serv­ing the cus­tomiza­tion needs. Ris­ing de­mand of cus­tomiza­tion re­quires flex­i­ble pro­duc­tion pro­cesses. A demon­stra­tion of each and ev­ery pro­duc­tion stage right from de­sign, colour man­age­ment and print­ing, dig­i­tal cut­ting, as­sem­bling, la­belling to fin­ish­ing with the use of state-of-the-art dig­i­tal and au­to­mated ma­chines con­veyed what the fu­ture be­holds and what the fu­ture de­mands.

Dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies such as 3D de­sign and body scan­ning ma­chines that can fully scan an ath­lete's body to give the ex­act size and fit, 3D print­ing and rapid pro­to­typ­ing that can turn an idea to sam­ple in a much lesser time com­pared to 12-15 days, are ma­jor iden­ti­ties of speed fac­to­ries.

Assyst, a com­pany in the Hu­man So­lu­tions Group, Cad­don Print­ing and Imag­ing, Er­gosoft, Mi­maki, Cold­en­hove, Monti An­to­nio, Zund, Duerkopp Adler, PFAFF, Veit and Seri­press were the part­ners which made ‘Mi­cro Fac­tory’ con­cept a suc­cess.

“Es­pe­cially when it comes to ‘fast fash­ion’, mi­cro fac­to­ries of­fer the op­por­tu­nity to put ideas into prac­tice im­me­di­ately and to try out new busi­ness mod­els, based on spe­cific cus­tomer re­quire­ments. They fa­cil­i­tate a type of pro­duc­tion that is re­spon­sive to the mar­ket and, as an ad­di­tional bonus, en­sure

op­ti­mized use of ma­te­rial, so as to con­trib­ute to greater lev­els of sus­tain­abil­ity in tex­tile pro­cess­ing,” says Olaf Sch­midt, Vice Pres­i­dent – Tex­tiles and Tex­tile Tech­nolo­gies,

Messe Frank­furt.

Speed Fac­tory

As the name sug­gests, speed fac­tory works on the con­cept of swift and faster pro­duc­tion. The faster the man­u­fac­tur­ing is ac­com­plished, faster the prod­uct will be in the hands of the cus­tomer.

Termed as the ‘fu­ture of pro­duc­tion’, speed fac­tory adopts man­u­fac­tur­ing 4.0 prin­ci­ples sup­ported by au­to­mated man­u­fac­tur­ing with in­tel­li­gent ro­botic tech­nol­ogy, cut­ting-edge ma­chin­ery and ro­botic as­sem­bly lines. Dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies such as 3D de­sign and body scan­ning ma­chines that can fully scan an ath­lete's body to give the ex­act size and fit, 3D print­ing and rapid pro­to­typ­ing that can turn an idea to sam­ple in a much lesser time com­pared to 12-15 days, are ma­jor iden­ti­ties of speed fac­to­ries.

The con­cept oc­curred from the gap that per­sists be­tween the sourc­ing des­ti­na­tion and con­sump­tion des­ti­na­tion. Mostly, Asian coun­tries man­u­fac­ture prod­ucts for the cus­tomers sit­ting in UK, USA or Europe. The time mea­sured in months for pro­duc­tion can merely be re­duced to hours, en­sur­ing trendy prod­ucts on shelves and no huge chunks of in­ven­tory. By the time the con­sumer gets the prod­uct, the time in-be­tween is enough for the cus­tomer to change his mind and term the prod­uct as ‘no longer wanted’.

Man­u­fac­tur­ing near the ‘point of con­sump­tion’ is the lat­est eupho­ria in a faster ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing sce­nario. Made on small scale or in­di­vid­u­ally cus­tom­ized con­cept, such fac­to­ries are an epit­ome of holis­tic high-tech ex­pe­ri­ence us­ing rev­o­lu­tion­ary man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nolo­gies, in-store cus­tomiza­tion and in­ter­ac­tive dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ences.

With an aim to spur domestic man­u­fac­tur­ing, the wave of reshoring has brought along cer­tain ben­e­fits too such as slashed trans­porta­tion costs, re­duced man­u­fac­tur­ing costs and re­duced hu­man touch to save time and money, while en­sur­ing higher qual­ity. Fur­ther­more, the lead time in de­sign­ing a sam­ple can also be re­duced.

Adi­das Speed­fac­tory and Un­der Ar­mour Light­house are per­fect ex­am­ples of the con­cept of speed fac­tory.

Store Fac­tory

Store fac­to­ries are the pro­duc­tion sys­tems where the prod­ucts can be man­u­fac­tured di­rectly in store ac­cord­ing to cus­tomers’ spe­cific re­quire­ments. Imag­ine

Min­istry of Sup­ply has in­stalled Shima Seiki’s WHOLEGARMENT MACH2X knit­ting ma­chine in its store and is of­fer­ing a cus­tom­ized 3D-knit blazer which is ready in just 90 min­utes.

a sneaker or a cardi­gan or a dress you like. Just se­lect the fab­ric and the print, pro­vide or get mea­sured for the size and the fit, place or­der and wait. The or­der placed would be de­liv­ered to you in 2 hours or may be even less. It is pos­si­ble with the store fac­tory.

Us­ing state-of-the-art tech­nolo­gies such as

3D body scan­ners and 3D print­ers makes this a re­al­ity and will carve its way in near fu­ture. With the WHOLEGARMENT tech­nol­ogy from Shima Seiki, may be some­thing more will also come in-be­tween, a con­cept of us­ing cot­ton di­rectly to a knit­ted dress.

Still in the ini­tial stage of plan­ning, few names have al­ready suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented these tech­nolo­gies. These are Bos­ton-based la­bel Min­istry of Sup­ply and Adi­das. Min­istry of Sup­ply has in­stalled Shima Seiki’s WHOLEGARMENT MACH2X knit­ting ma­chine in its store and is of­fer­ing a cus­tom­ized 3D-knit blazer which is ready in just 90 min­utes.

Adi­das is also test­ing the con­cept of ‘3D knit­ting on-de­mand in stores’ in one of its stores in Ber­lin where cus­tomers need to go through a 3D body scan which cap­tures its nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion. Based on the in­for­ma­tion ob­tained, a 3D merino-wool sweater is de­vel­oped and dis­patched within four hours.

The con­cept of store fac­tory brings along a num­ber of ad­van­tages such as, it caters to the grow­ing de­mand for cus­tomiza­tion. Also, less of in­ven­tory has to be main­tained in the re­tail spa­ces as the gar­ment would be de­vel­oped ac­cord­ing to the de­mand, which au­to­mat­i­cally turns down the in­ven­tory costs.

Yves-Si­mon Gloy, RWTH Aachen Univer­sity terms ‘store fac­tory’ as the hot topic in ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing.

On-De­mand Man­u­fac­tur­ing

Meet­ing to­day’s fast-paced fash­ion, on-de­mand ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing sys­tem is fully au­to­mated and pumps fin­ished goods to the cus­tomer bas­ket at a much faster speed. Un­der the sys­tem, the ap­parel items would be man­u­fac­tured in batches based on fac­tors, like cus­tomer ship­ping ad­dress and other pa­ram­e­ters like ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tions, type of fab­ric re­quired or by the as­sem­bly pro­cesses in­volved. In near fu­ture, it would also con­sist of tex­tile print­ers, au­to­matic fab­ric cut­ters, an as­sem­bly line and cam­eras to pho­to­graph gar­ments for fu­ture feed­back based on al­ter­na­tions needed in sub­se­quent items.

A tex­tile printer would print the var­i­ous pat­terns needed. The fabrics would then be au­to­mat­i­cally fed over to a tex­tile cut­ter, which would cut out the pat­terns from the lay­ers of fab­ric to be as­sem­bled into the fin­ished gar­ments. Even­tu­ally, the fin­ished gar­ments would be checked for qual­ity, packed, and shipped. For this man­u­fac­tur­ing to hap­pen sys­tem­at­i­cally, the in­ven­tory

will be held in the form of raw ma­te­ri­als like fab­ric, plas­tic, pa­per, leather, rub­ber and other ma­te­ri­als.

A steadily grow­ing e-com­merce jug­ger­naut, Ama­zon, has re­cently un­veiled this con­cept of on-de­mand man­u­fac­tur­ing sys­tem which is likely to in­flu­ence the ap­parel in­dus­try.

Clus­ter Fac­tory

Last but not the least, clus­ter fac­tory of to­day is pri­mar­ily the un­or­ga­nized set-ups within an ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing hub. In the maze of lanes and by-lanes of the hub, each lane is en­gaged in pre­par­ing a part of the gar­ment. Each lane spe­cial­izes in a cer­tain op­er­a­tion – whether it be the op­er­a­tion of cut­ting, sew­ing or fin­ish­ing. The en­tire lo­cal­ity can be viewed as one mas­sive as­sem­bly line. Tak­ing an ex­am­ple of pro­duc­tion of jeans, the sew­ing work can be fur­ther di­vided where one lane makes the front and back part of jeans with or­di­nary ma­chines. In case of oper­a­tions where spe­cial­ized ma­chines such as feed-offthe-arm sew­ing ma­chine, bar­tack ma­chine, but­ton hol­ing or zip­per at­tach­ment ma­chines are re­quired, it is then passed on to other lanes hav­ing the ca­pac­i­ties.

With an aim to spur domestic man­u­fac­tur­ing, the wave of reshoring has brought along cer­tain ben­e­fits too such as slashed trans­porta­tion costs, re­duced man­u­fac­tur­ing costs and re­duced hu­man touch to save time and money, while en­sur­ing higher qual­ity.

Thriv­ing on ex­treme spe­cial­iza­tion or core com­pe­tency theme, these clus­ter fac­to­ries ex­cel in jeans man­u­fac­tur­ing at a price that even Bangladesh can­not beat. It is all due to the op­ti­mum use of man and ma­chine and pro­duc­tiv­ity achieved due to repet­i­tive na­ture of tasks.

Right within the metro city of Delhi, where labour wage is sky­rock­et­ing, whether these ‘clus­ter fac­to­ries’, a term coined by Deepak Mo­hin­dra, Edi­tor-in-Chief, StitchWorld, will lead way to a clus­ter man­u­fac­tur­ing suc­cess story like Italy, or set a sus­tain­able bench­mark, only time will tell. But these are here to dis­rupt the tra­di­tional man­u­fac­tur­ing for sure.

3dMD is one of the de­vel­op­ment part­ners at Un­der Ar­mour Light­house

PFAFF demon­strat­ing weld­ing as a part of mi­cro fac­tory con­cept

Adi­das ex­per­i­ment­ing on-de­mand 3D knit­ting at its Ber­lin store

Min­istry of Sup­ply col­lab­o­rates with Shima Seiki to of­fer in-store pro­duc­tion

Some of the un­or­ga­nized ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing set-ups use black um­brella ma­chines even to­day

Ama­zon has patented the con­cept of on-de­mand man­u­fac­tur­ing

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