Current fabric fusing operations are completed manually in uncomfortable positions. This team seeks a low-cost, automated solution.

Project

The U.S. continues to lose apparel manufacturing to international suppliers who offer lower wage costs; however, the apparel industry is ripe for automation. Current processes see human workers touching each piece of fabric and manually picking and placing. This team is working towards an automated, low-cost solution.

Objective

Current processes rely on manual labor that is tedious, uncomfortable, and slow, leading to high employee turnover. Additionally, manufacturers cannot afford costly, one-off robotic solutions. This project team seeks to catalyze an automated solution that minimizes custom hardware.

Technical Approach

This project team is working to develop an end effector that can pick and place fabric and interlining piece parts and fabric bolts onto the fusing machine conveyor. The team plans to develop open source software modules that can program robots from multiple vendors and leverage collaborative robots that can be easily positioned.

Participants

Lead: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Partners: Interface Technologies, Hickey Freeman