A robot, christened Sewbo, has been developed in the US which can make complete garments. The Sewbo system works by temporarily stiffening fabrics with a water-soluble synthetic polymer, allowing the machine to assemble garment pieces without any human intervention. While machines already can cut and measure fabrics, they can't handle soft materials like cloth with much dexterity. With stiffened fabrics, a robot could take the already-cut pieces and assemble them like sheet metal.
Sewbo is the world’s first fully robotic sewing system which can make complete garments. The system uses a custom built industrial robot, which has been taught to operate a consumer sewing machine. Sewbots are able to accurately place two pattern pieces, transport them, and sew the outside seam on a pair of jeans. They use a variety of vacuum devices to pick up the fabric pieces and then place them correctly at the sewing machine, and the technology uses cameras to make sure the sewing happens in the correct spot.
Digital manufacturing can revolutionise fashion, even down to how people buy clothes, by allowing easy and affordable customisation for everyone. Avoiding labour issues and shortening supply chains can help reduce the complexity and headaches surrounding today’s intricate global supply network.