The Influence of Environmental Conditions on Automated Fabric Handling
Paul M. Taylor*, Didier M. Pollet** and Paul J. W. Abbott*
*Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne NEl 7RU, UK
**Electronic Engineering Dept., University of Hull Cottingham Rd. HU6 7RX Hull, UK
The automation of garment assembly has proved to be very difficult to achieve with the cost, flexibility and reliability required by the manufacturers. The importance of two fabric properties, friction and bending stiffness, is emphasised, with a focus on a pick and place task. It is also shown that changes in humidity can cause significant changes in the unloaded friction coefficients and the bending stiffnesses of fabrics and thus affect the task operation. Both theoretical and experimental results are given. This leads to three possible approaches: close regulation of the materials and processes, handling processes tolerant to changes in the material properties, and thirdly, intelligent systems which can learn from and adapt to each situation.