Both end users and garment professionals stand to gain from the rise in automation in garment manufacturing, but is the industry ready?

As the fashion industry continues to grow, garment manufacturers are feeling more pressure than ever before to increase output while still producing good quality products. Luckily, deep learning, AI, and automation can provide solutions the industry professionals are looking for. With this technology, human work and existing technology can be augmented to increase the productivity of both the workers themselves and the machines on the floor.

Why Workers Now Love Automation?

A past survey found that 27 percent of workers were worried about losing their jobs to robots. But now that widespread automation in the workplace is becoming a reality, workers in the garment industry are coming to terms with how useful automation can be.

Workers are warming to the idea of technology taking over their more menial tasks, while they take care of the work that requires creativity and complexity. In a study, r81% of workers felt AI improves their performance, and 61% agreed it enhances productivity.

At the same time, automation is very profitable. PwC predicts that by 2030, AI could add up to USD $15.7 trillion to the global economy, meaning more jobs and more revenue. By combining a human workforce with automation, or “augmenting” their workforce, garment manufacturers can build a smart factory that helps them meet growing production demands. That way, they can support their employees by assigning menial tasks to computers while the human workers get more important things done.

"New Ways of Making Clothes: Smart Factories

In many industries, companies are starting to use robotic process automation (RPA), AI-driven tools that can do menial, high-volume tasks. From managing billing to taking care of data entry, RPA helps decrease workload and increase productivity. It’s particularly useful in the front end of the garment business for things like customer relations, as it helps simplify and speed up the sales process. But how does automation improve productivity in the back end, or production side of garment manufacturing?

Smart factories use technology to work better and faster. They mix smart machines and software to make the production smoother. With the rising popularity of smart factories, trends highlight digitalizing the manufacturing process management (MPM). Traditionally, MPM, ensuring production efficiency, relied on cumbersome spreadsheets.. Now, more and more computerized systems like OpenPDM are appearing that promise the complete digitalization of the process. This new automation trend can help save time and decrease workload.

At the same time, by augmenting the manufacturing process itself with smart AI technology, garment manufacturers can produce quality products at rates impossible for humans. Technology like auto optical inspection (AOI) systems, which use cameras to scan a product for defects as it’s being produced, are looking to be the future of quality control. Deep learning, a type of machine learning used by AOI systems to learn about new products and types of defects, is the most popular mechanism in AI systems created for manufacturing.

These kinds of technologies can help human laborers by reducing the time needed for manual quality control, while also making sure garment manufacturers can create a high-quality product. By speeding up the manufacturing process through automation, productivity can potentially increase exponentially, saving money and time while increasing profit margins.

How AI Beats Manual Work in Speed and Accuracy?

Improvements to the accuracy of AI technology augmentation in the workplace will only continue as new developments are made. In a 2022 case study, researchers developed a deep learning AI model that had a garment defect detection rate of 96.4 percent at a rate of 20 meters a minute. This is much higher than the 70 percent accuracy of the average human textile inspector working without the assistance of technology, who would also be much slower.

With AI's improved accuracy, smart machines, like cutting devices, are becoming commonplace in modern factories. One study even showcased an entirely automated production line for a sports bra. By successfully using smart AI-driven machines to perform all the cutting, moving, and sewing processes needed to make a sports bra, this study proves that AI-driven tech will soon be the mainstream manufacturing method.

Because smart factories are faster and more accurate than traditional factories, garment industry manufacturers who embrace this trend can improve product quality, assist workers, and expand output, increasing revenue from sales and productivity. The demand for this technology will only continue to expand, as the AOI system market is expected to grow by a respectable 12 percent by 2024. With this level of growth and development, using AI technology to improve productivity, for both human laborers and automated ones, is undeniably the future of garment manufacturing.


Garment professionals and end users can benefit from AI automation, because it increases productivity in both the management and the manufacturing sides of the industry. With time, automated smart technology will only continue to improve, meaning that it is important for companies looking to expand their smart factory capabilities to stay up-to-date on innovations. At the same time, with the increasing demand for AI manufacturing equipment, it’s more important than ever to know who the reliable leaders in smart garment industry machinery are for AOI-enabled products. Get in contact with Oshima to find out what kinds of AI machinery can fit your needs and grow your manufacturing floor’s productivity exponentially.