Imagine you, the customer, being able to design a cashmere sweater in your favorite colors and patterns at a price comparable to a mass-produced item, and it’s at your door in a few days. That’s the idea behind Unmade Studio’s suite of software for industrial knitting machines.
Unmade’s software treats garments as digital files to be modified, letting customers change colors and patterns. But each piece is manufactured only after the shopper places the order.
The London company recently partnered with several large fashion brands and retailers to let their customers create custom-made pieces. The software is expected to help the brands speed their time to market, offer a greater variety of garments, and enable them to sell items specific to their customers—all without the need to warehouse any clothes. T-shirts, dresses, and socks would be included, as well as sweaters, scarves, hats, and gloves.
“Not only do we want to improve the efficiency of the process, but we want to create high-quality products as well, ” says cofounder Ben Alun-Jones, who has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Imperial College of London and another in industrial design from the city’s Royal College of Art.
“We’re enabling a new approach to design and production, where everything is made to order and the customer is involved in the process, ” he continues. “This should be the norm, but it became clear when we were first developing our software that everyone thought it was crazy.”
Alun-Jones launched Unmade Studio in 2013 with Kirsty Emery and Hal Watts. The three met at the Royal College of Art, where they studied design. Alun-Jones discussed the firm’s digital manufacturing process at the Web Summit in November, which IEEE representatives attended.
Photo: UnmadeUnmade Studio developed software for industrial knitting machines that allows them to produce small runs of made-to-order sweaters and scarves.
A TAILOR-MADE APPROACH
The software that runs today’s digital industrial knitting machines is incredibly complex, Alun-Jones points out, including files for computer-aided design (CAD), graphic images, and multicolor processing. A sweater with different colors, such as one with, say, an image of a flower, can take hours to program. Clothing companies usually order at least 50 pieces of the same style to make economic sense—which limits their offerings.
“When we saw one of these knitting machines for the first time, we realized we could use software to knit a custom garment from the raw material with almost no waste, ” Alun-Jones says. And if everything were made to order, there would no overstock. Typically, he explains, about 10 percent of clothing made today is never sold and winds up in a landfill.
“There’s no reason why the machines couldn’t produce clothing in a style to fit every individual customer, ” Alun-Jones says, “except the software to do that didn’t exist.”
Unmade has written the first stitch-by-stitch mathematical model, and has built software tools to work with existing CAD systems. The files contain the full instructions for knitting an item of clothing on a customized knitting machine. The software generates a code to knit the specific garment. Knitting can be done with any yarn, including acrylic, cotton, or viscose, wool, or blend. Only the stitching is limited because industrial knitting machines stick to the basics: knit, tuck, split, miss, drop, and stack.how to fancy up hamburger helper What is the meaning of incontinence care? Tips on how not to be discouraged? Tips and tricks how to make a guy notice you? How to make edamame? What is the meaning of scotus? Tricks to attaching the aussie jib when hoisted on a hobie 16? What does it mean when your poop is blue? What time is it in san francisco? how to use the ip helper-address command What time does buffalo wild wings open? What does form mean in art? 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