9th March 2017, Frankfurt
At the upcoming Texprocess trade fair, which will take place in Frankfurt, in May, a Digital Textile Micro Factory will present a live demonstration of an integrated production chain for apparel.
In collaboration with the German Institutes for Textile and Fibre Research in Denkendorf and a number of well-known companies in the textile sector, Texprocess will demonstrate the entire networked production of items of clothing – from the design stage to digital printing, automatic cutting out and fabrication.
Visitors at Texprocess will follow a signposted path through the various individual stages of manufacture in the micro factory and will be able to get information from experts at each stage. In addition, there will also be guided tours on offer.
“Especially when it comes to fast fashion, micro factories offer the opportunity to put ideas into practice immediately and to try out new business models, based on specific customer requirements. They facilitate a type of production that is responsive to the market and, as an additional bonus, ensure optimised use of material, so as to contribute to greater levels of sustainability in textile processing,” said Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles and Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt.
“The demand for individualised products necessitates making the entire production process more flexible. Serial production with, at the same time, smaller and smaller batches, right down to batches of just one, is only possible with industrially manufactured individual products. These fully automated and networked processes can now be implemented through the use of digitalisation,” commented Elgar Straub, General Manager of the VDMA’s Textile Care, Fabric and Leather Technologies Division.
The first stage in the micro factory is the CAD/Design area. With the help of computer-aided design (CAD) and the Vidya 3D-simulation software, creative designs are put into effect in a virtual reality and/or adapted. The data that emerge from this are immediately merged with data for subsequent processes, such as the digital printing of the textile, the cutting out and sewing. Texprocess partner for the Design area is Assyst, a company in the Human Solutions Group.
The next stage (printing) demonstrates large-format inkjet printing, involving sublimation printing on polyester and pigment printing on cotton and mixed fibres. Manufacturing tasks can be flexibly combined here with various printing parameters so as to produce a print with reproducible colours. Texprocess partners in the software and hardware business Ergosoft and Mimaki, as well as Coldenhove and Monti Antonio are the ones ensuring optimum printing results at this station.
After this comes the cutting area. At this juncture in the production process, the individual orders need first to be identified without anyone touching them. Identification is made possible by automatically loading the appropriate data files for the cutting-out process. A feeder system at the cutter ensures that the material is transported as smoothly as possible and without distortion. Camera systems recognise the cutting points, as a result of which the path the cutter is to take is optimised and a top-quality cut can be achieved. Texprocess partner in this area is Zünd.
In the next section of the production process (assembling), the cut-out elements of the various orders are also identified in a context-specific manner and added to the garment. This area shows the process of identifying the individual orders and the sewing process, carried out on the latest sewing machines, which can also be linked to the internet. Texprocess partner in this area is Dürkopp Adler.
Finally, in the last step (labeling) the garments will be provided with logos and graphic details that will be washable, can be ironed and are suitable for dryers. Partner in this area is Seripress.