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Robots enter the laundry

Velum processes an average of 500-600 items per hour.

4th July 2023

Innovation in Textiles


Sewts introduced Velum, its artificial intelligence and computer vision software for robots, at the Start-up Valley, part of the ITMA 2023 textile machinery exhibition held in Milan from June 8-14.

The Velum system has been developed to automate currently labour-intensive processes in laundries and a first unit has been operational at Greif Textile Mietsysteme in Wolfratshausen, Germany, since November 2022.

Greif Textile Mietsysteme provides a rental laundry service via a network of ten plants throughout Germany, each processing up to 100 tons of textiles per day, making them some of the largest laundries in Europe. As such it is an ideal partner for the first-time use of robotics in this market.

两个系统即将投入使用,and a total of 16 deliveries are planned for 2023. Sewts is addressing a target group of almost 25,000 companies worldwide with Velum, which presently processes an average of 500-600 textiles per hour and through over-the-air software updates, its range of functions is continuously being expanded .

Automation gaps

The automation of labour-intensive laundry procedures improves the profitability of textile service providers and manufacturers by reducing labour costs while providing reliability.

Industrial laundries wash and dry textiles in a highly automated environment to cope with the large quantities of dirty linen, but still require manual work for a few gaps in the automation chain. Most notably, each folding machine requires an employee to feed the laundry and spread it out without any wrinkles.

公司订单for 16 machines so far in 2022. © sewts

It has been estimated that 30% of the personnel costs in laundries is accounted for by equipping folding machines and at the same time, labour shortages are one of the most pressing issues of our time and especially prevalent in tasks that involve repetitive manual work.

The sewts Velum system has been designed to provide a solution, feeding towels and other terrycloth items into folding machines to close the gap. Inhouse developed AI analyses the textile and translates these findings into robotic commands. Velum is optimised for adaptability and handles all towel sizes without restrictions in respect of colour or texture.

“With Velum, we have succeeded in launching an absolutely new kind of product,” said Alexander Bley, co-founder and CEO of the Munich-based company. “Since 2019, we have been working on innovative technology for the automated processing of deformable materials, such as textiles or foils. These have so far been excluded from progress in automation technology due to their complex material properties. Velum is now proving that it is possible to automate the handling of shape-unstable materials in industrial processes in an economically profitable way.”

Returns sorting

The processing of deformable materials is also a frequent challenge in other industries.

“The need for automation will increase in all areas in the coming years, as the local capacity of manual labour is insufficient in many places, while at the same time there is a need to avoid dependence on vulnerable and climate-damaging supply chains,” said Bley. “Our technology is designed to be transferred to more applications and can make a huge contribution. In addition to the further development of Velum we are also working on the development of a second automation solution with a well-known e-commerce company, with the aim of greatly simplifying the returns processing of clothing.”

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