ARM Hosts Discussion on Innovations in Robotic Apparel Manufacturing

Today the USA only manufactures about 4% of the apparel we wear. Bringing robots into existing U.S. factories will provide these organizations with the ability to increase production and remove some of the more tedious work performed today. The challenge really comes in with the manipulation and handling of pliable materials, like fabrics, to produce a garment. Modeling how fabric will drape, stretch, and form when manipulated is difficult, but ARM is funding several projects that do just this. – ARM Chief Technology Officer, Arnie Kravitz

In August 2020, the ARM Institute hosted a virtual panel discussion about how robotics and automation can supplement workforce gaps in the apparel industry and aid in re-shoring these operations. ARM has identified this as a significant area of need and has funded a number of projects in this area. Check out the discussion in the video above.

About Our Panel

MODERATOR | ARNOLD KRAVITZ, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, ARM INSTITUTE

The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute is the nation’s leading collaborative in robotics and workforce  innovation.  Structured as a public-private partnership, ARM accelerates the advancement of transformative robotic technologies and education to increase U.S. global manufacturing competitiveness.

Arnie has spent over 37 years designing, developing, and manufacturing a large portfolio of products that include aquatic robots, autonomous vehicles, robotic, augmented, and virtual reality vision systems, self-learning inference engine-based systems, commercial consumer electronics, and cryptographic devices.

He has taught as an Adjunct Professor at The Johns Hopkins University and has significant experience exploiting emerging tools and techniques to rapidly transform new ideas into manufactured products.

Arnie holds a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

 


PANELIST | ANDREA MADHO, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, LAB141

More than 80% of people can’t buy premium clothing because their size doesn’t exist. Lab141 uses patent-pending technology to eliminate the need for sizes and inventory for clothing brands. The company’s online platform with integrated made4me manufacturing supports 48-hour turnaround from the Brooklyn micro-factory and allows in-store pickup or shipping direct to consumer.

After a successful career on Wall St and high-tech public relations, Andrea is using her personal fashion frustration to drive change in the way clothing is made. Andrea’s patent pending, co-invention of ondemand, localized micro-factory production for fashion brands, eliminates the need for sizes and inventory. This just-enough advanced manufacturing process integrates logistics, analytics and robotics, is the first end-to-end supply chain innovation in a century, and promises to significantly reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry while creating a 100% body inclusive fashion cycle.

Lab141 beat out 450 applicants to be one of only 6 global finalists in the 2019 Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge. Andrea’s TEDx Talk, Clothing Sizes Kill: the Environment and Your Ego, outlines systemic challenges with the current system.

Andrea is co-organizer of HackadayNYC Meetup, hosts Stroke of Genius Podcast (from Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation), and gives back to the community of STEM women as a BBG Wave adviser.


PANELIST | JOHN MARTYNEC, EVP OF MANUFACTURING AND OPERATIONS, HICKEY FREEMAN 

Hickey Freeman is an apparel manufacturer based in Rochester, New York, and founded in 1899. The company designs, manufactures, and markets men wear, specializing in suits, sport coats and blazers, dress shirts, trousers, overcoats, formal wear, sport shirts, polos, sweaters, pants, shorts, and accessories. Hickey-Freeman Company conducts operations in the United States and Canada.

John has over 40 years of manufacturing and operational experience in apparel and soft goods. His current role as Executive Vice President is managing the Hickey Freeman Company Factory in Rochester NY, where he has been employed for over 25 years.

Prior to joining Hickey Freeman, John was Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Operations for Brooks Brothers where he directed three manufacturing divisions representing a combined $85M in annual wholesale sale.

John has a BS in Accounting from Rochester Institute of Technology.


PANELIST | ERIC SPACKEY, CEO, BLUEWATER DEFENSE

Eric is the Chief Executive Officer of Bluewater Defense, Inc., one of the largest suppliers of military apparel for the United States Department of Defense, where he employs over 600 people.

With more than 38 years of experience leading finance, development and operations for successful start-ups, Eric has held senior leadership roles in a number of successful wireless telecommunication companies, including; AT&T Wireless, SunComm/TeleCorp, ClearComm and General Cellular, working closely with investors, network operators, network infrastructure and handset providers.

Eric is also Chief Marketing Officer of MIT’s AFFOA Institute. At AFFOA, he was instrumental in securing 119+ companies and academic institutions across the nation to become members of the Institute. These organizations are part of AFFOA’s ecosystem that is working to enable textiles and apparel to deliver high value-added services through fibers and fabrics.

Eric is a veteran of the US Air Force and holds a BS in Finance and Marketing from the University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business.


PANELIST | GIOVANNI TRACANELLA, VP OF USA OPERATIONS, VIBRAM

Vibram is an Italian company with U.S. operations that both manufactures and licenses the production of  branded rubber outsoles for footwear.

Giovanni Tracanella is the Global Industrial Director and the U.S. Operations Vice President for VIBRAM Corporation.  Giovanni’s career developed in different industrial sectors, such as fashion and textile, oil and gas, automotive, consumer goods, and service industries. He has covered different roles with increasing responsibilities as Manufacturing and Logistics Manager, Technical Director, Factory and Plant Director, Operations and Industrial Director, Operations VP and Managing Director. Giovanni has also been a Senior Trainer and Business Consultant for more than 10 years working for several Fortune 500 Companies.

He is an implementer of Lean Six Sigma and business process re-engineering (BPR) company transformations. He has mentored and coached in business organizational programs and certifications; he is also certified in running the international “The Fresh Connection” Supply Chain Strategic Module.

Giovanni is a graduate in Industrial Engineering and Enterprise Organization and received his MBA from ENI’s Corporate University Leadership Program.

ABOUT ARM PROJECTS  

ARM receives funding from the United States Department of Defense and other government organizations to manage programs that develop, demonstrate, and accelerate the early adoption of novel robotic technology and workforce development solutions to:   

  • Assert U.S. leadership in advanced robotics for manufacturing   
  • Empower American workers to be cost-competitive with low-wage workers abroad   
  • Lower the technical, operational, and economic barriers to adopt robotics technologies   
  • Aid in the creation of new jobs to secure U.S. national prosperity.    

ARM works collaboratively with the government and Institute members to identify areas of need in robotics and workforce development. ARM projects require that at least one industry organization participates on each project to ensure that the outputs are relevant, applicable, and impactful. The projects are selected by a team of ARM members and partners spanning government, industry, and academia. Only ARM members can participate in projects. Email [email protected] to learn about membership. 

ABOUT ARM 

The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute is the nation’s leading collaborative in industrial robotics and workforce innovation. Structured as a public-private partnership, ARM and its member organizations catalyze transformative robotic technologies and education for both industrial base and warfighter needs to grow U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and resilience. Founded in 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA by Carnegie Mellon University and operating as an independent non-profit funded by the Department of Defense, ARM is part of the DoD Manufacturing USA® network. Learn more at www.arminstitute.org. 

 

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