AiDLab and Banitore® forge strategic partnership to revolutionise textile inspection
18 Sep 2023
The Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence in Design (AiDLab) and Banitore® have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to drive the application of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in textile inspection. This collaboration marks a significant milestone as the world's innovative AI-based Textile Inspection System (AiTIS) enters the market and is used for the first time in the inspection process of Banitore®'s face mask products.
The demand for hygiene and protective products, especially face masks, has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. The conventional method of mask product inspection relies heavily on human visual assessment, which is known for its low efficiency, instability and high labour costs. This traditional approach also often fails to keep pace with automated high-speed production, resulting in a bottleneck where the speed of production and quality inspection do not align and so the daily production quantity of masks is significantly reduced. To help address this problem, AiDLab developed the revolutionary AiTIS system for the mask inspection process. By leveraging this innovative system, Banitore® can now achieve a remarkable testing capacity of up to 500 masks per minute, with an accuracy rate surpassing 99%. This ground-breaking advancement has boosted overall mask productivity by an impressive 25-30%.
AiTIS is applicable to various textile materials, including woven, knitted and non-woven fabrics, and even leather products. In this partnership with Banitore®, AiTIS has been applied to the inspection process of non-woven fabric face masks.
Banitore® plans to extend the application of AiTIS to other product lines
In July 2020, Banitore® responded to the high level of demand for masks in the Hong Kong market by introducing two fully-automated 3D high-speed mask production lines. However, in the initial stages, quality inspection still relied on human visual inspection, which posed limitations on the daily shipment quantity. In order to ensure the highest product quality standards and increase shipment quantity, the company initiated a trial application of AiTIS inspection at the end of 2021. With the rapid and professional technical support from AiDLab’s research team, the entire mask inspection process has been enhanced, improving the labour-intensive manual inspection process during the challenging period of the pandemic and helping ensure employee safety.
Banitore® plans to expand the application of the AiTIS system to its overseas production lines, including adult diapers, sanitary napkins, and other non-woven personal care and hygiene products.
Supported by the government-funded InnoHK initiative, AiTIS is a research project developed by the AiDLab team. By utilising AiTIS for inspection, product control and efficiency can be improved, helping to ensure stability of product quality and cost savings.
Prof. Wing-tak WONG, AiDLab’s Chairman of the Board of Directors and Deputy President and Provost of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University said, “This collaboration serves as an exemplary case of leveraging the combined strengths of academia, industry and research, resulting in successful commercialisation. We believe that collaborative efforts with industry are an indispensable foundation for successfully commercialising scientific research outcomes. AiDLab will continue to maintain close connections with the industry, to best understand its technological needs and foster further innovative advancements.”
Prof. Calvin WONG, CEO and Centre Director of AiDLab, expressed his honor in establishing this strategic partnership with Banitore®. He said, “This collaboration brings innovation and improvement to the field of textile inspection. As the world's first AI-based textile inspection system, AiTIS will provide crucial support for Banitore's quality control and production efficiency. Through this partnership, we look forward to adopting artificial intelligent technology to revolutionise the textile industry and setting higher quality standards for global textile manufacturers.”
Mr Martin LI, Executive Director of Banitore® said, “As a homegrown Hong Kong brand, Banitore® has always been committed to providing high-quality products to Hong Kong consumers. AiDLab, also a Hong Kong-based research platform, has efficiently met our requirements with their research and technical team optimising and customising the testing procedures and hardware settings for us. Through our collaboration with AiDLab, we have been able to further enhance our production and testing capabilities, ensuring that our products meet our high standards. AiDLab's contribution is indispensable in the recognition and support received from retailers and consumers in the Hong Kong market.”
The strategic partnership between AiDLab and Banitore ®will bring intelligent and efficient solutions to the textile industry. As AI technology continues to develop, more companies will adopt these innovative technologies to enhance production efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure product quality and supply chain reliability.
About the Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence in Design (AiDLab)
AiDLab is the first research platform that focuses on the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with design. It was jointly established by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the Royal College of Art (RCA) in the UK and is funded by the HKSAR Government under the InnoHK Research Clusters. Located at the Hong Kong Science Park, AiDLab has established a new creative cluster of AI in design and is in a leading position internationally to conduct interdisciplinary research that drives innovation and sustainability, and makes a positive impact on both industry and society. AiDLab brings together a diverse mix of leading researchers and practitioners from its founding institutions to conduct research in three thematic programmes: Ergonomic and Inclusive Design, Innovation in Product and Service Design, and Intelligent Fashion Design and Quality Control.
Banitore® has been providing personal first aid and healthcare products to the Hong Kong market since the 1980s, firmly rooted for 40 years. In response to the recent pandemic, Banitore® has established mask production facilities in Hong Kong and introduced various preventive and epidemic-related products worldwide. With the company’s superior products and longstanding reputation, Banitore® has gained recognition from different government departments, renowned private institutions and individuals. Amidst the pandemic, Banitore® was the exclusive mask supplier for Hong Kong's largest marathon event and had the privilege of supplying epidemic prevention products to various Hong Kong sports associations, athletic clubs, tertiary institutions and renowned athletes.
Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence in Design (AiDLab)
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