Dutch internationally mattress cover knitting company, is producing 5-6 million running meters of cloth a year. Quality checks are still done by the human eye. However, to come to an earlier error detection and less fabrics rejection, the company is looking for an automated optical technology, which controls and analyzes knitted fabrics in different production stages. A technical cooperation agreement is aimed for. This request refers to an innovation challenge published on an open platform.
A Dutch internationally working knitting company, with production sites in The Netherlands, USA and Mexico, is producing high-end quality fabrics of all kind of mattress covers. With a wide variety of circular knitting machines, the company offers standard Jacquard knits, double selection and ultra wide fabrics using different yarns, pattern and colors.
Due to continuous research and development, the company is able to produce the most complex customized and high-end fabrics. Innovation is the key for the company and perfection is the only way forward.
However, the quality control process of the knitted fabrics, is still done by the human eye (speed of about 15 meters per minute).
The employees compare each meter (full width 150-250 cm) with a master sample, which is not only very time consuming but also error prone. Training does not prevent errors (8 hours of inspection).
The quality control is also done at a late stage, where the fabrics are almost finished. So in case of discrepancies with the master sample, rejection and loss of fabrics are the results. This not only affects costs but it has also its negative effects on sustainability like unnecessary waste.
Consistent with the company's commitment, it operates in an environmentally responsible manner. Some fabrics carry the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or GRS (Global Recycle Standard) label, which represents the ultimate standard in ecological and sustainable production. Whilst working according to the ISO 14001-2015 certification, the company is committed to reduce its waste footprint and energy consumption.
Furthermore, clients also become increasingly demanding and environmentally aware and want to know the ecological and socially responsible methods, which have been used throughout the entire production process.
In line with this, the quality control process remains behind. To reduce unnecessary rejection and waste, the company is looking for an automated optical quality check method, which controls and analyzes the knitted fabrics in an early stage in different production manifestations.
The company is searching for development partners with technology available (hardware, software) and wants to realize a prototype and/or run a pilot. The company offers a real case test environment and upon proven applicability entrance to its global textile network to disseminate the concept.
The main question is: How can the company become more independent of the human eye in its textile quality control process?
The company has the intention to conclude a technical cooperation agreement, but they are willing to discuss other forms of cooperation and agreements.
IMPORTANT: This technical cooperation request refers to an innovation challenge published on the internet platform. If an organization expresses interest before closing date, it will be guided towards this open innovation platform. After registration participants can browse free through other submissions and engage in discussions. All submissions will get feedback by the company on this open platform. The challenge opens on August 30rd and closes on October 4th 2021. Mind that posts on this platform are not confidential. Beside open discussions on the platform, sharing of confidential information will be made possible on demand. After that, the company will select the SMEs with whom they would like to cooperate in the development of a solution. Once the challenge is closed, Expressions of Interest for this technology request will be treated in the traditional way.
- Type of partner sought: The company is looking for partners that can develop or have technology available (hardware, software) to control and analyze knitted fabrics, in a variety of manifestations. It should be mentioned that almost no item in the knitting program is the same. The envisioned partner must have at least English language skills.
The following disciplines may contribute to this challenge and expertise is sought in:
• Big data analytics
• Software development
• Software integration skills
• Creative thinking
• Vision technology
• Artificial Intelligence
- Specific area of activity of the partner: Type:
Organizations and companies with experience in the development and application of:
Image analysis technology, sensor technology, AI, Big data analytics, process technology, software development and integration skills, light technology and other technologies, that can help to reduce the percentage of rejection and loss of fabrics.
The development of a new quality control method in various production stages of the knitted fabrics which replaces the visual quality check.
The company itself is willing to cooperate during the pilot and testing stage and furbishes the partner with all necessary information. The company envisages a technical cooperation agreement but is open for other type of cooperation.