From Sewbo: Sewbo Inc. on Thursday announced that it has achieved the long-sought goal of automated sewing, by using an industrial robot to sew together a T-shirt. This milestone represents the first time that a robot has been used to sew an entire article of clothing.
Despite widespread use in other industries, automation has failed to find a place in apparel manufacturing due to robots’ inability to handle limp, flexible fabrics. Sewbo avoids these hurdles by temporarily stiffening fabrics, making it easy for conventional robots to build clothes as if they were made from sheet metal. Afterwards, the process is reversed to produce soft, fully assembled garments.
“Our technology will allow manufacturers to create higher-quality clothing at lower costs in less time than ever before,” said Jonathan Zornow, the technology’s inventor. “Avoiding labor issues and shortening supply chains will help reduce the complexity and headaches surrounding today’s intricate global supply network. And digital manufacturing will revolutionize fashion, even down to how we buy our clothes by allowing easy and affordable customization for everyone.”
Sewbo performed their feat using an off-the-shelf industrial robot, which they taught to operate a consumer sewing machine. Having successfully proved its core concept, Sewbo is now expanding its team and working towards commercializing its technology... ( company webpage , MIT article )
In order to interact with their environment and perform the tasks, lightweight robots, like all industrial robots, depend on tools - and in many cases these are vacuum grippers. These form the interface to the workpiece and are therefore a decisive part of the overall system. With their help, the robots can pick up, move, position, process, sort, stack and deposit a wide variety of goods and components. Vacuum gripping systems allow particularly gentle handling of workpieces, a compact and space-saving system design and gripping from above. Precisely because the object does not have to be gripped, the vacuum suction cupenables gapless positioning next to each other.