Smart pillows and luxury car seats
What have smart pillows and car seats for luxury limousines got in common? At first sight, not a lot! At Texprocess there were demonstrations of how they can be manufactured not only as prototypes, but also as mass-produced items that are nevertheless individually customised, on a fully operational production line – or rather in a smart-textile micro-factory.
Let’s start with the smart pillow. A pillow that allows a lot of interactions by the usage of LED technology. Partners for this are the ITA (project coordination) of RWTH Aachen, Gerber Technology GmbH (cutting), the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology KITECH (electronics), VETRON TYPICAL Europe GmbH (sewing), Wear it GmbH (product concept and design) and ZSK Stickmaschinen GmbH (stitching). Wear it, who came up with the idea, envisage that two smart pillows can be linked via Cloud services. Lovers, families or friends could thus communicate with one another over great distances. To do so, all they need to do is to activate the LEDs via touch sensors. “The pillow is equipped with Bluetooth functionality and one can conceive of purpose-made apps. It could function as a light-driven early-morning call or could be used to set off an emergency alarm”, explains Martin Seidenberg from ITA, suggesting just a few possible applications.
Car seats have to be versatile as well. For car seats, as well as shoes and upholstered furniture too, leather-like materials, that are required on the grounds of design or functionality, must often first be perforated (Ring company). That can, for instance be necessary for ventilation and cooling. After the foam has been stuck on, (Veit company), the item is stretched on the stitching machine with a tensioning arm and moved to the exact starting point of the stitching process with the help of an optical positioning system (ZSK company). In accordance with the data in the linked computer, the stitching is also carried out completely automatically, using different strengths and colours of thread as required. The machine can operate for up to nine hours without support. The spools are changed automatically. Then, KSK’s machine sews the various components together. Whether a Bentley or a Mercedes – there is no difference as far as the manufacture is concerned.