Digitalization and highly automated new technologies are enabling companies in high wage countries to competitively thrive in textile markets that for many years have been closed to them.
Just as significantly, these technologies are providing the tools to differentiate in highly competitive fields, as is demonstrated by a recent project initiated by the Swedish Textile Machinery Association (TMAS), Stockholm/Sweden, for the automated production and decoration of a unique tote bag.
Back in 2015, the European Parliament reinforced legislation to encourage an 80% reduction in the use of conventional single-use plastic carrier bags by 2025. The initiative immediately had broad public support, effectively encouraging a basic and widespread change in consumer behavior. As a result, the consumption of disposable plastic bags has fallen significantly, along with a corresponding reduction in the waste they create.
There has also been a swing towards durable woven shopping bags which in the past have been labor-intensive to produce cheaply, as a result of the cutting and sewing involved.
TMAS member ES Automatex Solution AB, Sparsör/Sweden, has developed a fully automatic tote/consumer bag sewing unit which can produce fully finished bags in heights of between 35-80 cm and widths of 30-80 cm. The machine is configured to carry out all the necessary automated operations including hemming, handle insertion, cutting, labelling, bag forming and gusset forming, which previously had to be carried out manually. Its output is some 540 units/hour, introducing a completely new cost paradigm.
The resulting bags, however, are still plain and uniform at this point, and with products that are intended to be used for as long as possible, personalization is the key. Unique designs work to ensure purchasers are likely to become more attached to their products – and are happy to pay a little more for them in the first place.
In order to add decorative appeal, Coloreel, became involved in the project. The company’s technology enables the high-quality and instant dyeing of a textile thread while it is actually being used in embroidery production. It can be used with any existing embroidery machine without modifications. Additionally, this technology makes it possible to produce gradients in an embroidery design, as demonstrated by the TMAS logo and the text in the image.
The addition of a distinctive embroidered design to the tote bag using the technology from Coloreel Group AB, Jönköping/Sweden, took the product to a new level of attractiveness. The advanced rapid color formulation software and high-speed drive technology allow a single needle to carry out what it previously required many multiples of them to do – and with much more consistent stitch quality.
By instantly dyeing a recycled white thread during production, the system enables complete freedom to create unique decorations and embroideries without any limitations. Color changes along the thread can either be made rapidly from one solid color to another, or gradually, to make smooth transitions or any coloring effect desired. This provides big benefits for both sustainability and design creativity.