Japanese whole-garment machines maker Shima Seiki is in the throes of bringing about a revolution that could change the very face of the auto industry, reports Bloomberg.
Mitsuhiro Shima, the president of Shima Seiki Manufacturing Ltd. is in talks with auto-parts makers to use its technology to develop lighter, non-steel components, and plans to sign a deal next fiscal year.
Founded in 1962 by Mitsuhiro’s father, Masahiro Shima, Shima Seiki is today one of the top global suppliers of advanced knitting machines, which create seamless and other clothing for brands from Prada and Giorgio Armani to Fast Retailing Co.’s Uniqlo.
According to a Bloomberg report, the company is perhaps best-known in its industry for being the pioneer of whole-garment knitting machines, which allow apparel makers to produce entire pieces of clothing with no seams at all.
The devices, which cost as much as $159,400 each, can produce everything from pleated skirts to low-neck sweaters and even running shoes. All this can be done from start to finish in as quickly as 30 minutes.
While the apparel industry will remain Shima Seiki’s main focus, Mitsuhiro Shima says the company also plans to use its knitting technology for auto-parts, as car makers seek lighter components to increase energy efficiency.
The machines would make the frames of the parts using textile fabrics, which would then be solidified by coating them with resin or other material, Shima said.
“The industry has a wide supply chain,” Shima said. “Of the various industries switching out of steel parts, this is the easiest to enter.”
Image copyrights: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg, Content – BloombergPursuits