Economists keep warning us that manufacturing jobs are continually on the decline thanks to foreign competition and advanced technology (a.k.a. robots). Here is a game changer for the apparel industry, a story with a twist – a high-tech automated Arkansas T-shirt factory opening in 2018.
The twist? The factory is owned by a Chinese company; clothing manufacturer Tianyuan Garments.
Once fully operational, the Arkansas factory will be able to produce 1.2 million T-shirts at a cost comparable to companies that manufacturer and ship clothing from the lowest-wage countries in the world. The sewing technology, Sewbot (an autonomous sewing robot) was developed at Georgia Tech University. Tianyuan projects that their factory will employ 400 people in addition to the robots (e.g., line supervisors, mechanics, logistics, etc.), but overall less physical labor than the sweatshops in other parts of the world.
Coming soon to the apparel industry, Sewbot 2.0 that makes wedding dresses.