This Robot Can Sew 1.2 Million T-Shirts a Year

❝ In a soon-to-open Arkansas factory, 21 production lines manned by the Sewbot will be capable of making 1.2 million T-shirts a year–and the ripple effects will soon be felt in garment factories in the developing world.

Once the system is fully operational, each of the 21 production lines in the factory will be capable of making 1.2 million T-shirts a year, at a total cost of production that can compete in terms of cost with apparel companies that manufacture and ship clothing from the lowest-wage countries in the world. The factory will be one of the first to use a technology that could herald immense changes in how the apparel industry works.

❝ …Sewbot–SoftWear Automation’s clothes-making robot–was developed at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center in a process that began a decade ago. In 2012, researchers got a grant from the Defense Department’s tech innovation wing DARPA to develop the concept and formed a company to commercialize the technology. By 2015, the company was selling a more basic version of the robot that could make bath mats and towels. The newest version, to be deployed in the Little Rock factory, can make T-shirts and partially sew jeans.

All the questions relevant to automation count in this instance – even in low wage countries like Bangledesh. Before anyone decides to sneer at the fate of workers made redundant in Bangladesh, don’t kid yourselves by thinking American politicians, American corporations are any more advanced and humanist than in South Asia.

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