It is proposed to develop an automated tracking and handling system for the sewing of two-dimensional flexible material-sheets into three-dimensional end-products.The techniques to be studied can be applied to the manufacture of a wide variety of sewn products made from porous and non-porous flexible materials.To focus the research the project will concentrate primarily on garment manufacture, with additional studies in the area of 'soft-play' toys made from non-porous PVC coated fabrics.This project is being led by industry in the form of two end users and a sewing machine manufacturer.
The aim of the project is to make an important step towards the development of 'intelligent'sewing-stations.The proposed research is a necessary step for computer integrated manufacturing in the making-up industry.A prototype demonstrator system will be built, installed and tested on the side of a leading garment manufacturer. The basic approach consists of a combination of three ideas:
1) Printing of an invisible and precise reference pattern on a sheet of material.
2) On-line tracking of the position, deformation, deformation, and speed of the reference pattern by a real time computer image analysis system using novel near infra-red vision systems.
3) Feed-back of the information from the image analysis system to robotic devices for the manipulation of the sheet material, achieving the correct presentation of the material to a standard sewing-head.
Three tasks of increasing complexity will be chosen to demonstrate the flexibility of the system.Two of the tasks will be taken from garment manufacture and one from the soft-play toy area.These will cover two part straight seams, two part curved seams and three part straight seams.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
BS2 9EB Bristol
BS8 1TW Bristol, Clifton