Chinese manufacturing giant Tian Yuan Garments – the largest producer of sportswear for Adidas worldwide – plans to invest another $10m to expand its new production plant in the United States.
The TY Garments USA manufacturing facility in Little Rock, Arkansas has already received an investment of US$20m since it was first announced back in September 2017. The funding was used to purchase a building and make capital improvements to it – and the additional $10m brings the total investment so far to $30m.
The manufacturer currently has 160 workers in Arkansas, and is seeking more applicants to increase this to 400 full-time workers. When it reaches peak production it expects to make more than 4m garments annually in the US.
A key feature of the new factory is its goal to develop the first fully automated T-shirt production line in the US using robotic Sewbot worklines from SoftWear Automation, which combine patented computer vision with lightweight robotics to move fabric to and through the needle more efficiently than a human operator.
Indeed, Pete Santora, chief commercial officer at Softwear Automation, today (11 June) told just-style the installation of the digital worklines is planned for the second quarter of next year – and will include some new and advanced features in 3D sewing.
Tang Xinhong, chairman of Tian Yuan Garments, has said the plan is to install 21 production lines capable of making one T-shirt every 22 seconds. “We will produce 800,000 T-shirts a day for Adidas,” he explained.
With complete automation, the personnel cost for each T-shirt is roughly 33 cents. “Around the world, even the cheapest labour market can’t compete with us. I am really excited about this.”
Tian Yuan is already understood to have seen a surge in business from the new facility and the desire brands have for rapid fulfilment and low inventory – and the current expansion is focused on meeting immediate demand.
As well as Arkansas, the Suzhou based company also has facilities in China, and is a major producer of sportswear for Adidas and Reebok. Its annual production is around 10m pieces of clothing, with around 90% of its garments supplied under the Adidas brand.