SewBo process allows for robotic sewing.

SewBo process allows for robotic sewing.

Automating the Sewing Room

A former software developer from Seattle has come up with a process that could usher in the robotic age of apparel manufacturing.

Jonathan Zornow, who recently explained his idea to Fast Company, is the founder of SewBo Inc. Zornow created a process that applies water-soluble chemical—polyvinyl alcohol, which is used in textile manufacturing as a “sizing" agent to strengthens yarn during weaving—to cut fabric pieces. The chemical makes the cut pieces stiff enough to allow automated sewing robots to sew the garment. After sewing, the chemical is washed off in warm water. Since the cut pieces must be fully drenched in the solution, wool and leather are out. But other fabrics like silk are in, according to Fast Company. Currently the process takes about 30 minutes for the robots to sew a T-shirt, but Zornow expects the process to eventually be faster.

You can see a video of the process below.


Robot Sewing Demonstration from Sewbo Inc.

Robot Sewing Demonstration from Sewbo, Inc. from Jon Zornow on Vimeo.