Designing Out Waste Through 3D Modeling
In 2019, our product development team began to investigate the concept of 3D design as a way to enhance business efficiency and reduce resource waste. TheCompany started by training a small team of pattern makers, engineers, and designers and exploring the ways that Browzwear’s suite of 3D design solutions, including VStitcher and Lotta, could be incorporated into the product development cycle. The first stage of 3D adoption was leveraging the software as a proof-of-concept tool where designers could present designs digitally to internal stakeholders.
However, toward the end of the training program, the pandemic hit, confining the teams to remote working, just as they were challenged to produce PPE garments, such as protective face coverings, which became a critical resource during the pandemic.
Soon after, we were challenged to make non-surgical isolation gowns — disposable gowns used when there is a medium to high risk of contamination. This was a completely new product type for the Company that had not been explored previously, requiring the product development team to design the product offering entirely from scratch. The gowns were to be produced in different styles, meaning that different materials and constructions were needed, which proved to be challenging at the time due to global material shortages and limited resources.
“As we began to investigate how we could present and deliver the products in the fastest and most efficient way possible, we realized that we had the answer at our fingertips,” said Jamie Aikins, VP of Process Improvement. “We could effectively create the garments in 3D without being limited to the availability of resources.”
“With Browzwear’s VStitcher, our designers and pattern makers were able to start from scratch, construct and visualize each pattern piece on a 3D model, and analyze its fit and function,” said Aikins. “Due to the lack of fabrics available, we took existing fabrics and tweaked them digitally to get it as close to the exact fabric as possible.”
Although the Company was early on in its 3D adoption process, by having the right set of tools in place, the teams could jump right in when the time came to present PPE prototypes digitally to customers during the pandemic, when in-person meetings were simply out of the question.
With the success of the PPE project, we are now working to expand our efforts in 3D and further embed it within the Pattern Development and Garment Fitting product development process, as well as across departments.
“As we continue to implement 3D technology into our product development process and look toward making it a part of our day-to-day, we are ready to gear up toward leveraging 3D to reduce the amount of fabric waste throughout the prototype approval cycle,” said Mercedes Lopez, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility. “By being able to leverage such technology, not only are there gains in the product development time frame, but we can also quickly explore the potential of new products and markets and see how it can impact the fabric utilization. This insight can help us in our goals to reduce fabric waste. We look forward to reaching a point in the near future where we no longer require significant physical samples.”
- Enhanced Communication Between Departments Sales and Marketing Tool
- Increase in Rapid Decision Making
- Reduction in physical samples for design intent
Director of Corporate Communications