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levi's robot laser finishes jeans so workers don't have to


levi’s eureka lab has created a robot laser, digitizing one step in production, making manufacturing jeans easier, more efficient and safer. with this new technology the denim company announces plans to create its signature distressed and washed denim instead of using human employees.

all images courtesy of levi’s

titled F.L.X (future-led execution), the technology forms part of levi’s aims to simultaneously cut down on chemical waste and trim its profit margins. as well as cutting down on costs, time and chemical compounds used, digitising the finishing part of production will create a safer production for workers exposed to the most harmful substances. levi’s joins forces with spanish industrial laser specialists jeanologia to develop these new methods that will effectively reduce finishing time on a pair of jeans to 90 seconds.

the technology will be able to create a certain amount of standard items using a special software that can decide the color, the tears, the fading and other details that the laser will apply to the jeans. among the chemicals that will be eliminated is potassium permanganate, an oxidizer that is used industrywide to replicate authentic vintage finishes.  this new operating model is a step forward in levi’s commitment to achieving zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020.

thirty years ago, jeans were only available in three shades: rinsed, stonewashed and bleached. today those three shades have exploded into endless variations, all produced with very labor-intensive jobs and long lists of chemical formulations,’ said bart sights, vice president of technical innovation at levi strauss & co. ‘we’re designing a cleaner jean for the planet and the people who make levi’s jeans, and we’re doing it on a scale that no one else has achieved to date.’

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