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Company NewsNovember 28, 2022

Could this laundry-folding robot transform the textile industry?

3DEXPERIENCE Lab startup sewts is developing software to automate textile handling and make the industry more sustainable.
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Patrick Ball

Something wasn’t sitting right with the founders of sewts. Why can humanity shoot rockets into space, they wondered, but some of our most repetitive tasks are still done manually?

That’s the idea behind the German startup that wants to turn tedious manual labor into efficient automation. sewts has grand ambitions for achieving sustainability and prosperity through automation, and they’re starting with textile industry.

A member of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab accelerator program, sewts is developing software that combines commercial robots, grippers and cameras into an intelligent system to automate repetitive yet complex processes, like handling textiles. Their first product is called the VELUM system for industrial laundries.

Here’s how it works: Industrial laundries are already a highly automated environment, with machines to wash, dry and even fold linen. The catch is that the machines need an employee to feed the laundry spread out and wrinkle-free. That’s where the VELUM system comes in. Thanks to AI developed in-house by the sewts team, VELUM has human-like perception skills and is capable of handling easily deformable materials. In other words: it can feed towels into existing folding machines.

That’s just laundry. The sewts team envisions other uses for robotic handling of currently manual tasks, including sewing, assembly of rubber parts, handling of fashion e-commerce returns, picking and processing foods and more. But their focus for now is enabling a complete and customized automation of clothing production.

Can a suit-sewing robot reshore the textile industry? 

The name sewts combines “to sew” and “suit” and embodies the startup’s goal of “enabling robots to sew a suitable suit.” Doing so, they believe, would make the textile industry much more sustainable.

From the company website:

“Processes involving the handling or production of textiles are often performed far away from the place where the textiles are actually being used, therefore requiring an enormous transportation effort. By automating these processes, we can move them back right to where they’re needed in a cost-efficient way. This way, we will shorten transportation routes, create more reliable supply chains, save CO2 emissions and tackle the issue of overproduction.”

Benefits of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab

As a member of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, sewts is given access to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform with its software tools, dedicated mentoring and training, access to an onsite FabLab and event space, our business network and advanced marketing opportunities.

sewts uses the 3DEXPERIENCE platform in its development process by creating a virtual twin of its system, which helps to make sure everyone on the team is working with a single source of truth. They’re also using the platform to perform FEM simulations, which allows them to simulate behaviors of textiles and generate synthetic image data for AI models. Additionally, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform will allow the sewts team to continuously improve its collaboration and communication as they pursue the mission of automating complexity to enable a more sustainable world.

Learn more about sewts. Learn more about the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab.

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