Automation is increasingly becoming a key need in the apparel industry, especially with regard to warehouse management.
Among the first giants to move in this direction is Uniqlo, a leading Japanese clothing company, which has long since begun experimenting with robots for folding T-shirts.
Uniqlo uses robots in Tokyo storage warehouse
The Japanese brand uses automation processes in its Tokyo warehouse to fold T-shirts and carefully arrange them in boxes and then ship them to customers who have purchased online. The process is done by a two-armed robot that overcame the challenge of applying mechanical movements to soft tissue using a sophisticated 3D vision system.
How to apply handling processes to lightweight fabrics
To hook and lift a lightweight fabric, such as a cotton T-shirt, the Japanese company carried out a detailed study with the aim of reconciling the need to ensure the mechanical speed of the arm while ensuring high standards of folding and bundling. Having overcome this initial challenge, research on automation in the apparel industry is moving to other types of products such as belts and underwear, continuing the process of refinement.
The growth of machine tool, robot and automation production in 2021
In addition to research, the production of mechanics and robots related to the automation of production and industrial processes is also growing. The Centro Studi & Cultura di Impresa of Ucimu-Sistemi per produrre, the association of Italian manufacturers of machine tools, robots and automation part of Confindustria, predicts that production will rise to 5,795 million in 2021, with a very strong growth rate compared to 2020 estimated at +16.6 percent.
Also according to surveys conducted by the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), the mechanical engineering sector, in which we mainly find the automation and manufacturing companies, will see year-on-year real GDP growth of 4.8 percent in 2021 compared to a 7.1 percent decline in 2020 due mainly to the health emergency caused by Covid-19.