Levi’s Denim Robot Is Taking Over

Levi’s has been using lasers to distress its jeans for year. But the company has now fine-tuned the laser process and says that by 2020, the company will replace humans who currently distress 2-3 pair of jeans per hour with robot that can finish a pair every 90 seconds.

Pretty much every news outlet wrote about it today and yesterday, including Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and Financial Times.

Liz O’Neill, Levi’s chief supply chain officer told Fortune why the laser robots are such a big deal:

It’s a total transformation of our operating model. An end-to-end digital environment that has huge implications for manufacturing, inventory management, sustainability, and ultimately how we sell.

Levi’s developed software in-house that could create the precise whiskering and fading their designers want in their jeans. Designers can create their designs on a tablet, with the ability to move holes around, make jeans dirtier or cleaner looking, or relocate facing, O’Neill said.

The laser Levi’s is using is made by Jeanologia. Forture describes the process as firing range-esque. The jeans hang in the distance while the laser beam whiskers and holes at the garment.

Not only does this save on labor cost, but it’s also more environmentally sustainable than the manual process, which involves brushing and scraping with chemicals.

It all happened at Levi’s Eureka Lab in San Francisco. Watch this video at Fast Company to learn even more!



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