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Updated: Apr 25

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Many processes in the apparel industry have been automated, but robotic stitching may be the next big thing. Levi Strauss & Co. took part in a project led by industrial manufacturing behemoth Siemens that looked into the applications of robotics in the manufacture of clothing. The company took part in the project's early stages, a spokesman for the denim giant confirmed to Reuters, but she declined to provide Rivet with further information.

Siemens' earlier efforts to develop software to direct robots that could handle various kinds of flexible materials, like thin wire cables, led to the company's ambitions to automate the garment manufacturing process.

Siemens' research team leader, Eugen Solowjow, claims that the business quickly discovered that apparel was a good candidate for this type of robotics technology.

According to Solowjow, who spoke to Reuters, "Clothing is the final trillion-dollar business that hasn't been mechanized."

Robotics implementation is still in its relative infancy in some industries. Only 13% of CEOs claim they are actively using robotic automation, according to a recent report from a supply chain robotics technology vendor. However, they are aware of the direction the industry is going, as shown by the fact that 51% of executives have already used robotics or have plans to do so.

However, the 200 senior-level supply chain executives Berkshire Grey polled did not necessarily rank garment production as a top priority. Up to 62 percent of respondents say automation will likely be used to help packaging and labeling, and 59 percent say they will use it for item sortation. 58 percent said they would use the technology for product retrieval and returns.


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