The Apparel Industry is facing a situation when finding solutions to cut costs without compromising on the quality of the output is much needed. The importance of automation is often undermined in the apparel sector because one believes that there are enough people in India to support manufacturing. The recent slowdown of the economy has driven many companies to cut costs by downsizing but at the same time they need to ensure optimum levels of production to retain buyers. Effective application of automatic systems can handle difficult operations with ease at very high speeds. This helps in cutting down those precious minutes for some operations. After all, a minute saved is money earned! The GTE-’09 featured some interesting options in the field of automation. Team StitchWorld talks to a few leaders of the industry dealing in automated technology.
VI.BE.MAC is a company based in Italy and takes immense pride in its range of automated handcrafted machines that promises to deliver the best. Marketed in India by E.H. Turel, the Company displayed a Loop Setting Machine (3650EV8), a Pocket-creasing Machine (001V), a Pocket Attachment Machine (2516V2) and a Waistband Making and Attachment Machine (3022WB406). All the machines run on VI.BE.MAC software and its electronic parts are sourced from Mitsubishi. The machines are fairly easy to operate and require a training period of just one hour to one day.
The loop-setting machine can programme up to 999 stitch patterns and can adjust the loop length in the range of 28 mm-80 mm. The machine can attach 5 loops in 10 seconds giving it the advantage of speed. The pocket-creasing machine caught special attention as it doesn’t use steam to retain the crease of the pocket. The heat and pressure applied are adequate to fix the creases. The machine, with two slots, can turn out 400 pieces an hour and can be operated by a single operator.
Operations such as pocket attachments are greatly simplified with automated pocket attaching machines. Even an unskilled operator can use this machine easily and churn out about 800 pieces in an 8-hour shift. This machine saves a lot of time as the placement area works independently of the stitching area. This way feeding and stitching can be done simultaneously and increase the production rate of the machine. The waistband attachment machine can be used for denims as well as casuals. The machine can carry out both lockstitch and chain stitch operations at the rate of 3000 waistbands in an 8-hour shift.
Simone Binanchi, Sales Manager, VI.BE.MAC informed Team StitchWorld that a lot of technology that is being used in their machines is patented and therefore gives them an edge over their competitors. Also, the personalized attention given to each of the machines justifies their pricing on the higher side.
Duerkopp Adler AG is a leading machine manufacturer based in Germany. They too are well known for their automated workstations. Their stall featured Sleeve-setting Machines (550-16-23 and 550-16-26) and Welt Pocket Attachment Machines (100/68 & 745-34 2A & 2B) that have been making appearance in GTEs for quite some time now. The Bar Tack Machines (510-211) being provided by them come with an open clamp that can be used for making logos.
Wolfgang Ax, Area Sales Manager, Duerkopp Adler AG spoke to Team StitchWorld about the relevance of automation in the current economic crisis. He was optimistic that with good technical inputs, the Apparel Industry will soon emerge out of the shadows. Automation will be able to reduce dependence on skilled operators and can manage absenteeism a lot better. Also, Duerkopp Adler AG is looking forward to developing customized solutions to tackle specific problems faced by customers. This helps in establishing good relationships and a win-win situation for both, even in these tough times.
A company using automatic equipment is better prepared to handle the fast pace of this industry which is working on shorter lead times and bigger volumes. All in all it is quite clear that the Apparel Industry can no longer choose to side step the importance of automation, as it is the time where only the fittest will survive.