Computer software company PTC, one of the first to market an Internet-based product life-cycle management platform and an early adopter of digital 3-D design, is rolling out an Intelligent Apparel Manufacturing, or IAM, initiative.
The IAM initiative is designed to transform the way products are sourced and manufactured across the fashion and apparel industry. Leveraging PTC’s FlexPLM and ThingWorx Internet of Things solutions, IAM aims to bring the vision for Industry 4.0 alive for fashion and apparel manufacturers anywhere.
Others on track for Industry 4.0 include French technology services company Lectra with its Fashion On Demand product; and British-born global materials science and manufacturing company, Avery Dennison, focusing on improving industrial manufacturing efficiency and the global supply chain through next-gen IoT platforms, among other advances.
FlexPLM is touted by the company as the “most widely used PLM solution,” and the IAM initiative serves to “significantly reduce time to market, shrink inventory and digitally connect a fragmented supply chain,” according to Brion Carroll, vice president of global business development for PTC’s retail business unit. IAM is in partnership with Black Swan Textiles, a digitalization consultancy, and “other key players in the connected supply chain,” such as: Blacksmith International, a Utah-based apparel manufacturer and global sourcing company, and Henderson Sewing Machine Co. Inc., a third-generation sewing machine distributor and systems integrator.
In order to meet the needs of customers today, global manufacturers need access to “real-time data from the shop floor in order to make informed decisions during the manufacturing process,” in the words of Edward Hollyday, vice president of Black Swan Textiles.
The vision of Industry 4.0 for fashion means connecting 3-D design, PLM, cutting and sewing machines, to transform an existing factory into an “intelligent factory.” The IAM initiative integrates “multiple threads of data” in real-time and services brands and retailers hoping to gain a competitive edge in mastering their supply chain efficiencies.
For IAM, one of the most pivotal differentiators is the connected sewing machine whereby legacy sewing machines of “all makes, models and stitch types” are connected through IoT solutions.
More insights will be shared at PTC’s annual digital transformation conference, LiveWorx, which runs from June 10 to 13, in Boston. “Meeting the Demands of Future-Focused Brands and Consumers With the Brand-to-Factory Initiative” is said to be a “must-attend discussion for brands, sourcing agents and manufacturers in the retail and apparel industries” according to Bill Brewster, senior vice president and general manager of PTC’s retail business unit.
For apparel manufacturers, Industry 4.0 is becoming a reality as firms leverage IoT — and other things.