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New Intelligent Apparel Manufacturing Initiative Set to Advance Sourcing Methods

Global software company PTC is introducing the Intelligent Apparel Manufacturing (IAM) initiative to help transform the way apparel products are sourced and manufactured.

The IAM comes in response to the acute pressures placed on brand and retail businesses by today’s fast-paced, hyper-competitive market, PTC said. The program, created in partnership with digitization consultancy Black Swan Textiles, leverages PTC’s FlexPLM and ThingWorx Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to bring the advantages of Industry 4.0 to fashion and apparel manufacturers around in the world.

With FlexPLM, a widely used PLM solution, PTC said the IAM initiative will deliver deeper integration between a single, centralized source of data and other business systems, establishing direct connectivity with manufacturing and bringing in transformative new business models.

“Combining PTC’s technical expertise with Black Swan Textiles’ decades of experience in automation, manufacturing and product development, the IAM initiative will allow the fashion and apparel industry to significantly reduce time to market, shrink inventory and digitally connect a fragmented supply chain,” said Brion Carroll, vice president of global business development for PTC’s Retail Business Unit.

To establish a comprehensive link between PTC’s FlexPLM solution and the full complement of factory systems and hardware, the IAM initiative was created with new partnerships between PTC, Black Swan, and other key players, like Blacksmith International and Henderson Sewing Machine Co.

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A Utah-based apparel manufacturer and global sourcing company, Blacksmith International is implementing several solutions and IAM technologies to improve efficiency, transparency and bottom-line profits. Henderson Sewing Machine, a sewing machine distributor and systems integrator, will play a crucial role in the deployment of IAM hardware by use of a “connected sewing machine,” in which sewing machines from all makes, models and stitch types will be connected to IAM.

“The global manufacturing landscape is more competitive than ever, and the pressures placed on factories of all shapes and sizes demand a new level of connectivity and automation,” Frank Henderson, CEO of Henderson Sewing Machines, said. “Together with PTC and Black Swan Textiles, we are working to take manufacturers to that new level with the help of the Intelligent Apparel Manufacturing platform.”

Edward Hollyday, vice president of Black Swan Textiles, said to meet customer demands today, global manufacturers need access to real-time data from the factory to make informed decisions during the manufacturing process.

“By connecting different assets and sources of data such as 3D design, PLM, cutting and sewing machines, an existing factory can quickly become an ‘intelligent factory’ and begin delivering on the promise of the Industry 4.0 revolution,” Hollyday said. “As a brand or retailer, the benefits of integrating multiple threads of data and obtaining real-time digital insights into the factory floor are profound, and we believe the IAM initiatives will give PTC customers a huge competitive advantage.”