Shenzhen Sewing Technology Co.,LTD. (”Sewingtech“), a creator of smart sewing robots led by the former algorithm head of DJI Pan-Tilt, has secured tens of millions of RMB in angelinvestment from Sinovation Ventures Frontier Technology Fund. The funding will be used tofurther product research and development and customer verification.
Founder and CEO of Sewingtech, Liu Shuai, aims torevolutionize the traditional garment manufacturing industry through the application of advanced automation technology. By utilizing cost-efficient intelligent sewing robots, the company hopes to make garment production easier, cheaper, and more efficient.
Bob Ren, ExecutiveDirector at Sinovation Ventures and GM of Frontier Technology Fund, recognizes China as the world's factoryand a leader in the manufacturing industry with a complete industrial chain. In light of rising labor costs and a shortage of labor, industrial automation has become a crucial solution for China to maintain its status. Sinovation Ventures has been monitoring local robotics companies capitalizing on China's technical, engineering, and supply chain advantages in robotics and AI, and has identified sewing robots as a promising new category with high technical barriers but also rigid demand.
Sewingtech's founding team, with top technical capacityand practical experience from head companies such as DJI, Anker, Huawei, and BYD, is expected to significantly change the century-old apparel industry with its potent robotics and AI technology. Sinovation Ventures is proud to have supported the company before its inception and believes in its ability to innovate and implement technologies.
Garment manufacturing automation: a rigid demand of “world’s factory”
Although automation has beenwidely used across various sectors, it has long posed a challenge for the labor-intensive garment manufacturing industry. While robots have been employed for some tasks such as cutting fabrics with laser or electric sewing machines, intellectualizing sewing has proven to be the crux of the matter. The process involves grabbing fabrics, conveying them, stitching pieces together, sewing, and more. However, the fabric is soft, irregular, tensile, flexible, and foldable, which makes sewing clothes and conveying pieces a complex operation. In addition, the direct interaction of the garment industry with brands and consumers demands precise alignment of various components for stitching, such as the alignment between buttons and holes, as the experience of the end-users is directly affected.
The intractable technological challenges in the garmentmanufacturing industry offer a promising market for innovative solutions. According to China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for theGarment Industry and Vision 2035, the production of garments in China hasgrown significantly in recent years. The National Bureau of Statistics reveals that the total turnover of knitted textiles across categories above the national quota reached RMB 1,384.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to increase to RMB 1,447.9 billion in 2022. In 2020, there were 170,000 garment industry enterprises in China, with 8.26 million employees in garment manufacturing, and 60% of garment production workers were sewers. Automating T-shirt manufacturing is estimated to bring in a turnover of about RMB 16.7 billion, while cross-category knitting automation could generate about RMB 333.9 billion.
In China, where labor costs continue to rise and a"labor shortage" in garment manufacturing is prominent, automation is both a promising market and a rigid demand to maintain competitiveness in the garment manufacturing sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of automation to maintain supply and demand for garment production. On the demand side, a significant number of orders in the textile and garment industry have shifted to Southeast Asia, leading to a steep increase in order cancellations and a decline in industry revenue. Additionally, large-volume orders and small-volume flexible production orders require prioritizing efficiency, which directly stimulates the development of garment manufacturing automation. On the supply side, garment factories have relied on skilled sewers for a long time, but are now facing difficulties in training and recruiting sewers, and their wages have increased nearly threefold in the past 5-7 years, squeezing the profits of garment factories. The aforementioned pressures on both the supply and demand sides have facilitated the transformation and upgrade of China's garment manufacturing industry to intelligent and automated production.
Smart sewing robots poised to doubleproduction efficiency
Sewingtech, a company dedicated to theresearch and development of intelligent sewing robots, is revolutionizing the garment manufacturing industry. By combining general robot technology with sewing process expertise, Sewingtech's products offer garment production automation solutions that can be widely applied in the industry. The company has recently achieved a breakthrough in unmanned sewing in garment production, intellectualizing the entire process and alleviating the long-term problem of recruitment in the textile and garment industry. These advancements have significantly improved production efficiency, with each operator able to operate two overlock robots, doubling the efficiency and requiring nospecial skills. With Sewingtech's robots, a production line can produce T-shirts 24 hours a day, equal to the labor intensity of 8-10 skilled sewers, further alleviating recruitment problems and pushing garment manufacturing into an unmanned, automated, and flexible stage.
Liu Shuai, Founder and CEO of Sewingtech
Sewingtech's foundingteam boasts a wealth of experience in robotics development and implementation. Under the leadership of the former head of algorithms at DJI Pan-Tilt, the company is supported by heavyweight expert advisors in visual perception and intelligent manufacturing, with over 75% of its team members holding master's and doctoral degrees. Possessing integrated capabilities in optics, mechanism, electronics, and control, Sewingtech is poised to achieve true unmanned garment production.
As global industrial intelligencebecomes imperative for China to maintain its status as the "world's factory," according to founder Liu Shuai, Sewingtech will continue to lead the charge in garment manufacturing by empowering traditional manufacturers with cutting-edge robotics. In doing so, the company aims to address the long-term challenge of recruitment in garment factories. Concurrently, Sewingtech is committed to advancing garment processing technology and reducing costs, thereby contributing to the automation of garment production.
After extensive industry research and technologyexploration, the venture team identified garment manufacturing as a promising market. Founder Liu Shuai stated that the vast market, lack of automated production, and the dominant position of the domestic light industry supply chain all reveal that garment manufacturing has huge vitality and is worth long-term investment. The gap in automation is mainly due to difficulties in realizing mechanisms and applying algorithms in sewing, areas in which the team excels. Determined to achieve unmanned sewing, the team named its company "Sewing," a nod to "the fastest, the strongest, and efficiency first" in Chinese, and reflecting the team's commitment to achieving unprecedented efficiencies in garment manufacturing.