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Levi's turns to lasers to modernize manufacturing

By Shawn Knight ยท 15 replies
Mar 5, 2018
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  1. Levi’s late last year became one of the first mainstream clothing brands to offer a truly wearable garment with the launch of their $350 “smart jacket.” Not content to rest on its laurels, the denim pioneer is once again tapping technology for a strategic – and eco-friendly – advantage.

    Levi’s recently announced what it is calling the “future of jeans manufacturing.” Dubbed Project F.L.X. (future-led execution), the new operating model “ushers denim finishing into the digital era” by replacing manual techniques and automating the time-consuming, labor-intensive and chemical-reliant process of hand-finishing through the use of lasers.

    Specifically, Levi’s says the new technique drastically cuts finishing time – from two to three pairs per hour by hand to just 90 seconds per garment followed by a wash cycle – and shaves off valuable time in the design and development process. What used to take months can now be accomplished in just weeks or perhaps mere days, allowing Levi’s to make changes in a product’s design later into the production process.

    Levi’s also anticipates a significant reduction in the total number of chemical formulations used in its finishing process, from a few thousand currently down to just a couple dozen. The company pegs this as a major step forward in its commitment to achieving “zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020.”

    Some will no doubt view this as yet another example of machines / robots / technology eliminating human jobs although quite frankly, I’m surprised a global brand the size of Levi’s was still using manual labor to finish its jeans.

    Levi’s is piloting Project F.L.X. with select vendors and retails partners and plans to roll the technique out across its supply chain in phases over the next two years.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,515   +2,825

    This is pretty cool. Would be great if they integrated this software into their website so people can make their own custom finish and have it shipped to them.
  3. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,246   +2,719

    A new way to make holes in new pants. Technological progress at its finest.
    p51d007 and Robinson Ochoa like this.
  4. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,704   +1,945

    If everyone gets replaced by robots who is going to have money to buy the products the robots are making?
    killmess likes this.
  5. Guillermo Belli

    Guillermo Belli TS Member Posts: 25   +19

    This is nice and all. To bad their jeans are not as durable as they used to be. I've had some jeans last me 5 to 10 years. The last Levi's I've bought are bust in 6 months.
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  6. ZackL04

    ZackL04 TS Maniac Posts: 471   +236

    They should use the lasers to cut the material too. Im tired if trying on 2-3 pairs of the same size before I find the right fit and then repeating that process for each color/wash
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  7. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,890   +686

    I don't think I'll truly ever understand the appeal of buying jeans that look pre-warn, maybe it's just me, but I like buying and wearing new jeans I think they look good new. Then you get the fun of wearing them for years and watching as they fade, stain, and get worn in, the real way, not because you paid quadruple the price and have no real notion of what real work is. I want to look at my jeans and remember spilling the oil on them, sitting by a camp fire and having embers spark out and burn them, tearing knee holes in them, its those real memories that make jeans jeans. Not some butt hole in a design studio getting paid to simulate all that, and then sell you over priced crap that'll actually wear out in 6 months to a year.
    Guillermo Belli and p51d007 like this.
  8. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,827   +1,112

    When I was a kid, my mom, who was an EXCELLENT seamstress (many state fair blue ribbons to show for it also!), use to make our jeans because the "store bought" ones wouldn't last as long. We use to get in trouble for getting holes in the knees, tearing or otherwise making them look "ragged". This was back in the 60's. Now, you pay more for jeans that look like they were run over by a steam roller, than ones brand new looking. Wish I had kept all my worn out jeans...would be sitting on a gold mine LOL.
    I don't get the "used look"...guess it's the hipster trendy way.
    Guillermo Belli likes this.
  9. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,515   +2,825

    I'm guessing people won't be the one's manufacturing the cloths but the ones designing them. All the robots are going to take is the manual labor jobs. People will simply specialize more in other fields. Just like farming allowed people to start forming towns and focusing on things other than gathering enough food to survive, Automation will allow humans to specialize even more. I honestly can't wait to see what the future holds.
  10. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,704   +1,945

    Lets be honest here, not everyone is capable of intelligence. The education system here in the US is so bad that even if someone is capable of being smart they won't have the opportunity. People have all sorts of reasons why it's a choice but those are just lies we tell ourselves to make it easier to sleep at night.
  11. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,515   +2,825

    You know there were plenty of world changing people who weren't very intelligent. There are many other skills to ply the human mind to than things that require brute strength or intelligence. There is also more than one kind of intelligence as well. For example, my sister can pickup everything in a textbook after a single read but when it comes to common sense things she's lost. Einstein had that problem as well. Can you image if he had done manual labor his whole life? Everyone has their own set of strengths and weaknesses.

    The only point I would cede to you is that there are people with metal disorders that are literally incapable of higher level cognitive functions.
  12. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,704   +1,945

    you are far more optimistic about humanity than me
  13. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,515   +2,825

    lol, I wouldn't say I'm optimistic. People have killed each other for centuries, for the dumbest reasons possible, and yet we somehow manage to advance. Who knows though, we might all die in a flash by next generation super weapons. Either way no one would be around to recall or remember and arguing from that position does nothing to advance the possible social outcomes of automation.
  14. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,704   +1,945

    my point is that there are far more people in this world incapable of common sense that we need low wage, mindless jobs so they don't starve to death. I wouldn't mind if they all disappeared but this utopia people envision of robots doing all basic tasks for us so we can focus on science and better ourselves is a fantasy that only exists in startrek
  15. Digitalzone

    Digitalzone TS Booster Posts: 89   +44

    I prefer Wranglers. I have only Wranglers. :D
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,514   +3,700

    Speaking of both fantasy and Star-trek, my Prince, I, your loyal subject, refuse to have a prostate exam until we have a holographic proctologist that looks like Gal Godot, to "tickle my fancy", so to speak..


    I'll bet the "Lariat of Truth", would get to the bottom of the issue, (again, in a manner of speaking).;) (y)
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018

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