SoftWear Automation, a company which builds machines for the textiles industry, is launching something it calls “Sewbots as a service”.
“Sewbots” – short for sewing robots – is the name the company uses for its automated sewing machines, and whereas previously it was looking to sell units, now it will also hire them out.
If SoftWear’s technology takes off, it will have dramatic implications for the textiles industry.
From 1994 to 2005, the United States lost more than 900,000 textile and apparel jobs to offshoring.
Fast-forward to 2018. The pendulum is swinging back and textiles are returning as lean, highly automated, environmentally conscious production facilities.
Within the last six years, there have been significant announcements by foreign-owned textile companies investing in the United States, with site selection choices clustered in the Southeast including the first Chinese owned Cut Make Trim factory in Arkansas, according to a report.
Despite this industry reversal, the seamstresses are not returning. While the knowledge can be shared to upskill workers, people don’t have the desire to work in a traditional textile factory.
To solve this and accelerate the growth of US-based textile manufacturing, SoftWear Automation is announcing SEWBOTS-as-a-Service, a rental lease service to allow manufacturers, brands, and retailers to source and manufacture here in the US at a lower cost than outsourcing and with greater predictability and quality.
While we understand the benefits of “Made in America”, the focus of this program is to offer US textile manufacturing more control, greater margin, faster turn times and less inventory.
SoftWear says Sewbots-as-a-Service creates “immediate return on investment” benefits while enabling scale across retailer, brand, and manufacturer.
For a monthly fee starting at $5,000 per month per robot, a factory can add annual production capacity of up to 1 million units, depending on the product.
This enables a manufacturer to bring on a Sewbot for just over $55 per shift, based on seven days a week and three shifts a day.
Sewbots-as-a-Service is focused on bringing scale to basic sewn good production within the country of destination– a local supply chain.
This focus allows manufacturers to move current seamstresses to premium products while creating a more reactive, reliable and sustainable textile ecosystem, says SoftWear Automation.