AUTOMATION IN APPAREL INDUSTRY
Textile Value Chain|February 2021
Automation is most often defined as, automatically controlled operation of an apparatus, process or system by mechanical or electronic devices that take the place of human organs of observation, effort, and decision. The purpose of this paper was to investigate the status and the effects of technology adoption on the level of organizational factors within the context of the apparel industry.
Dr. PRAVIN UKEY, Akash Deshmukh, Trupti Pawar

Introduction

Definition

Automation is often defined as, The automatic operation of an instrument, process or system by mechanical or electronic devices that replace human organs for observation, effort, and resolution. The intensified competition in the global market, it became important for manufacturers to thrive, to gain sustainable competitive advantage by innovations in technology or concepts as well as in production. Typical production in the garment manufacturing process still involves large manual operations and automatic assembly. Garment manufacturing is still more labour intensive than technical work, so the need for technical support may not be significant in apparel industry technology. Faced with the rising cost of labour, advanced textile manufacturing technologies have been called upon to increase productivity and produce high-quality goods, at high volume, in short cycles, at low cost [1]. The adoption of advanced technology is a way to improve such areas and meet export standards. Recent automation in apparel industry includes computerized data monitoring, computer-aided designing, automatic fabric spreader, automatic fabric cutters, high-speed sewing machines, advanced pressing and finishing machines, etc. This contributes to the development of advanced goods in the global supply of clothing and provides a new understanding of how manufacturers can embrace technology and remain competitive in the global market.

The need for Automation in Apparel Industry

The adoption of technology has emerged as an important competitive decision in recent global trade. The most important reasons for moving toward more mechanization and automation are to be able to reduce cost or to increase production without increasing cost. If the industry can decrease the cost per item, it will increase production without increasing total cost. The ability to increase the quality without increasing cost per item was nearly as important. Flexibility, quality, inventory reduction, efficient production cycle, and shorter lead-time in manufacturing became essential for firms to achieve global competitiveness. It is apparent that reducing cost and improving production capacity are most important for firms, which are seeking an increased share of the market today. The common introduction and adoption of new technologies become an important factor in the competitive advantage of the global market because firms can maintain rapid responses and market demands using technology [1].

Developments in various department of the garment industry

CAD

CAD stands for Computer-Aided Design. It is nothing but the use of computer in the creation, modification and optimization of a design. CAD software is used to improve the efficiency and productivity of a designer by providing a tool using which, they can visualize how the 3D model of that product design will look like. CAD is used in many applications including automotive, ship building and aerospace industries and many more. CAD also widely used to produce computer animation and to produce special effects in movies. CAD plays important role in designing and manufacturing industries [2]. Nowadays, CAD software becomes an essential tool for fashion designers and garment manufacturers by providing functionality such as pattern making, virtual test fitting, pattern grading, marker making etc. With the help of CAD, software designers can visualize the final product and can inspect these models to make modifications. Along with the conversion of the 2D model into the 3D model, the system also provides tools to give animations to these products so that movement of that product can be visualized. In addition, we can rotate the model to view it from all angles. Hence, with this 3D modelling, there is no need to make a physical sample and every design can be stored online for future reference [3].

3D Designing

3D designing in garment industry refers to the draping of 2D digital pattern pieces on virtual mannequins followed by making changes according to the requirement of designs. Later on, this virtual garment can be displayed on the real body by making an actual garment. Various computer-aided design systems for visualizing 3D designs have been already introduced into the garment industry [4].

Spreading development

Spreading is the process of the unwinding of fabric rolls on long and wide tables for cutting. It is the basic step to get a high-quality final product, so it should be done precisely. Several fabric layers to be spread depends upon several garments to be stitched. Spreading can be done manually or with the help of machines. Fabric spreading machine is used for bulk production.

Intellocut software

This system works at the fabric utilization stage i.e., at cutting department. Before cutting of garment pieces, it is important to spread fabric correctly. Intellocut helps us by providing features like planning automation, paperless execution, providing warning signals and real-time visibility.

• Planning Automation- Intellocut helps us for automatic planning with the assistance of artificial intelligence by providing the most efficient cut plan.

• Paperless Execution- Intellocut controls key processes such generation of the lay plan with the help of system or tablet application by avoiding any paperwork.

• Warning Signals- Intellocut software can immediately replan cut plan on one click after getting any negative feedback from the cutting department.

• Real-time visibility- Intellocut tracks fabric usage or wastage with the BOM vs actual reporting. This will give us a clear idea about the current scenario of cutting department [5],[6].

Cutting

Cutting is the process of cutting fabric into garment pieces. This department is responsible for the cutting of fabric and feeding of that cut parts to the sewing department. After marker making, garment parts are cut and taken out of layers. Cutting can be done manually or with the help of machines. Various cutting technologies like straight knife cutting, band knife cutting machine and computer-controlled automatic cutting machines are available.

Gerber Cutter (Blade)

Gerber introduced the world’s first automated cloth cutting machine, which brought a revolution to the apparel industry.

Key features of Gerber Blade Cutter:

1. Easy to use- Gerber cutter is user friendly; an operator can learn within a few hours; how to operate Gerber cutter and can rely on its built-in intelligence, to guide them through any cutting task.

2. Maximum throughput- Machine helps us for quick and accurate setup. Moreover, its self-adjusting intelligence allows an operator to start cutting faster with higher efficiency. It improves productivity and workflow; the output of the machine is cut parts hence it reduces lead-time.

3. Optimal first-run yield- Machine makes a fine balance between cut speed and part quality. It maximizes the speed of the machine only when it is giving optimum quality in the final cut parts.

4. Uptime- Operator can replace knife-sharpening stones in few seconds and get up to three times more usable life than traditional stones.

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