Aspect members: Royal College of Art, Cranfield University

What is the project doing? 

This project is based in Human Factors and design practice research to explore skills levels in garment manufacturing to consider the steps that can be designed out, and performed by robots, or those needing to remain performed by skilled human makers, importantly identifying requirements for promoting worker satisfaction via new technology and automation particularly co-botics. 

Desk-based research is being used to establish the state of the art of the skills levels held by machinists in the UK garment industry and what tools exist to enable analysis of these skills levels and a limited trial of the eye tracking analysis to explore cognitive / decision-making activity. 

Why is this needed? 

The UK’s fashion industry has an international reputation for creative design but is a field which is seeing limited impact of new technologies in manufacture. The project begins to address the challenges of integrating automation into a highly creative sector with a need for very high levels of agility in production processes. 

How can members get involved? 

The project team would welcome input from economists and policy makers to inform our understanding of the business case for reshoring UK manufacture. Introductions to engineering/ manufacturing sites/ research labs and hubs would be very valuable. We are also looking for members who are interested in being added to our stakeholder list. 

Please contact:

Susan Postlethwaite (postlethwaite@mmu.ac.uk)  
Kat Thiel (kat.thiel@rca.ac.uk)
Sarah Fletchers (fletcher@cranfield.ac.uk)
Ibetta Eimontaite (Iveta.Eimontaite@cranfield.ac.uk)