Denim brand Levi’s is reportedly testing 3D Printing Technology to develop its denim jackets. The step has come at a time when the company is planning to delve into a futuristic mode to innovate the manufacturing process and its design approach.
The trial project is being headed by Paul Dillinger, who is also the Vice President and Head of Global Product Innovation at Levi’s. Paul and his team are digitalising the design process of a jacket prototype as disclosed by Paul during the recently held Autodesk Pier 9 Digital Printing Workshop in San Francisco, California.
Levi’s is taking digital renderings of its denim jacket and using 3D printing technology to create a shell of ‘what the real jacket looks like exactly’. The denim brand is using Stratasys’ Fortus 450 mc 3D production system to the effective implementation of the process.
Paul explained that the process is dedicated to extracting the real essence of the product and then shape it as a digital entity. This further can be distributed and remotely turned into templates which incorporate intensive patterns and then can just be all captured in the piece of very advanced digital collateral.
“Doing so, we don’t have to rely on sort of centralised manufacturing sites (anymore),” claims Paul.
Additionally, the process will enable Levi’s to capture all the twill lines, stitch lines and the buttonholes of the jacket with the help of topography scan. These features will then be re-rendered as a 3D print, reducing seven different panels to just one panel by super-imposing fabric over the template.
The prototype process will then include scrubbing the template through a sandpaper which creates shadow and impression of the template on the fabric. Therefore, the jean docket starts appearing on the surface of the denim fabric.
According to Levi’s, the 3D printing technology is not being opted to create an entirely new functional jacket but for the details, which are actually just impressions on the denim fabric. These impressions will further help the company in creating a semi-duplicate jacket.
The brand is aiming to bring down the material cost and, thereby, manufacturing cost using this digitalization. By doing so, Levi’s will reap both environmental and financial benefits.
Surprisingly, Paul has made it clear that Levi’s will not be retailing the denim jackets once the testing process of 3D printing technology is completed.