Robotic Work Cell Integration for Apparel Manufacturing​

Project Lead: Interface Technologies
Partners: Computer Generated Solutions Inc (CGS), Hickey Freeman, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Member % Cost Share: 50%
CESMII % Cost Share: 50%
Duration: 5 Months

Problem Statement

Apparel manufacturers have chosen to move production to lower labor costs rather than to automate domestic manufacturing. Low labor costs make it difficult to achieve the industry standard of < 18-month payback for capital equipment and this has precluded the use of commercial robotic systems to-date.

Project Goal

Develop an SM Profile information model and software application that would enable Robotic Sewing Work Cells under development to lower the adoption costs of robotic systems in the apparel industry and  improve domestic manufacturing competitiveness.

Technical Approach

Create an SM Profile for Robotic Sewing Work Cells, implement an instance of the SMIP profile, develop a SM application within a Robotic Sewing system to automatically report labor costs and conduct Performance Testing to establish cost reductions.

Key Tasks & Milestones

Task 1: SM Profile Development ​

    • Milestone 1.0: Verified Target Performance Metrics 
    • Milestone 2.0: The WGC SM Profile 

Task 2: SM Profile Implementation ​

    • Milestone 3.0: SM Profile interface code and documentation 

Task 3: Application Development ​

    • Deliverable: Operational code for performance testing

Task 4: Application Performance Testing ​

    • Milestone 4.0: Application code and Performance Testing Results

Potential Impact

U.S. domestic Apparel Manufacturing lost 398,000 jobs, a 79.6% job force reduction, from Jan 2000 – Jab 2020 to foreign suppliers with lower labor costs. Increased productivity will enable re-shoring of apparel manufacturing.


Apparel Manufacturing is the largest industrial vertical that has neither OPC/UA connectivity nor any other standard industrial connectivity. This project will bring three companies focused on Apparel Manufacturing to CESMII’s membership.

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