The sewing machine has arguably had a bigger impact on the way we live than computers – though not as much as the domestic washing machine. Now, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, industrial sewing machines are getting connected, bringing the garment industry up to speed with the rest of so-called “fast retail”.
With a traditional sewing machine, operators control the machine with pedals and switches. They fix problems through their own knowledge or by calling for help. Changing stitch and material types is slow and complicated, because it's all about human communication and coordination.
Link sewing machines to computers and you get something more like modern automated factory production familiar in, for example, car construction. The network can take basic control of individual machines, freeing operators to do more complex operations. Problems can be flagged on a LCD display along with videos showing the fix. Also, retooling for short runs is much easier.
One New Jersey factory installed the technology nine months ago and has experienced a 25% jump in orders. Impressive. Imagine also the data which managers of such factories are going to have at their disposal. They'll be able to understand their own business so much better. Wall Street Journal