Loughborough University has teamed up with the Yeh Group, a global textile and garment manufacturer. The pair are working on 3D textile printing that has the potential to revolutionize how clothing and shoes are created. The result of the project is personalized fashion printed in 3D that can be manufactured in less than a day’s time.
Dr. Guy Bingham, Senior Lecturere in Product and Industrial Design is leading the project currently being called 3D Fashion that is planned to last 18 months. Thanks to advancements in Additive Manufacturing (AM) printed garments can be printed from raw material in a single manufacturing operation. The technology promises less waste created during production, minimal labor costs as well as CO2e. This type of mass-production will modernize the clothing industry, localizing both the manufacturing of everyday products as well as their production.
The clothing industry accounts for 1.8 million tons of waste. That’s the equivalent of 70kg or 100 pairs of jeans for every household within the United Kingdom. During the manufacturing process, 6.3 billion m3 of water is used, which can be compared to about 200,000 liters of water per year, per household.
Dr. Bingham says that 3D printing means there will be absolutely no limit to what can be built. This freedom during the designing process is what he says makes this technology the most exciting. This is something most people would have never dreamed to be a reality. He calls the technology a landmark in the history of garments manufacturing, giving designers the opportunity to innovate faster than ever before. In 3D printing there are no geometrical constraints and close to zero material waste. He believes that with further development of this new technology, him and his team will be able to print a 3D garment within a 24 hour timeframe.
With the help of online retail, AM printing will be opening up a new world of digital manufacturing. Bingham calls this revolution a much needed update to both the techniques and processes of the 19th century. As demands for clothing increase, especially customizable options, with the help of digital printing, these demands will be met much more effectively. 3D printing will make production to a much more sustainable and ethical levels.
David Yeh, Managing Director, and Tong Siang from the Yeh Group have said the 3D Fashion project supports the vision of the Yeh Group which is direct polymer to garment manufacture. The group strives to limit waste as well as the amount of resources being used. The desire for quicker product to market ratios and closeness between customers and retailers is not only accomplished but performance remains intact which is very important to the Yeh Group.