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The Future of Textiles: Interview About QBAR.AI and SHADEBAR Products

Get insights into the future of textiles! Below is our interview content about Serkon Technology's QBAR.AI and SHADEBAR products. Enjoy your reading and exploration!


Two revolutionary new products were developed in fabric control and colour control after 5 years of work in partnership with Serkon and Ağteks: QBar.AI and ShadeBar. These two products can simultaneously control the surface and colour of fabrics with a success rate of 95% or more, regardless of whether they are knitted, woven or denim.


Serkon Teknoloji Inc., launched two revolutionary new products in fabric control in 2023. One of them is QBar.AI, an artificial intelligence fabric scanning technology that enables the detection of defects on the fabric surface at the flow rate. The other is ShadeBar technology, which allows the surface to be monitored at every cm without taking parts for colour control, colour transition or wing difference in the flow, without using a light booth.


"In 2023, Serkon Group Companies Grew in Terms of Investment and Sales Figures"


First of all, how was 2023 for your company?


Alper Diktaş - QBar.AI

2022 was the peak year for all textile and supply industry manufacturers. After coming out of the pandemic, businesses were faced with excessive demands. Therefore, 2022 was a very good year for our companies. In 2023, as all Serkon Group companies, we grew both in terms of our investments and sales targets.


We developed new technologies. We incorporated laser welding robots. We made investments in automation.


We also made investments to increase our production capacity. We have increased the capacity in our factory. We currently have a factory area of 11 thousand m2 . We have finished the construction of our new factory, where we will increase this to approximately 20 thousand m2, and we have started the interior design.


We will commission our new capacity within the next year. In 2023, there were many layoffs in the sector, but Serkon Group companies continued to grow in terms of the number of personnel.

 

"Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Egypt and Uzbekistan are Among Our Target Markets"


Which are the key markets where Serkon has a strong presence? Can we listen to your views on promising and emerging markets for the future?


As Serkon family; we are targeting markets with high capacity production in 2024. These include Bangladesh, India and Pakistan markets. At the same time, Europe signals a turnaround in itself.


Although the increase in labour prices is a parameter, more boutique productions are now on the agenda in Europe. For this reason, we are also targeting manufacturers that carry out these activities in Europe.


Uzbekistan is again one of our target markets due to its close proximity. Unfortunately, the increase in the minimum wage in Turkey has caused Turkish producers to shift to Egypt, the closest market. We do not ignore that region in order to meet Turkish producers in Egypt.


Turkey is our main region. There are fabric production facilities in İzmir-Denizli, Kahramanmaraş-Malatya-Adana, Çorlu-Çerkezköy and Bursa.


We will also make our moves in these regions. There is a serious demand from these regions for the products newly developed by our technology company.


QBar.AI

How will the garment factories of the future look like? What will change in the garment industry in the next 5-10 years? How will Serkon keep up with this change?


Textile and ready-to-wear has a production structure where the human factor is very dominant. In order to increase competition, it is necessary to reduce labour costs, to free the system from human error, to increase digitalisation and traceability. All of these are burdens brought by human operation. Therefore, moves to reduce the weight of people are being made and will continue to be made.


In the production facilities of the future, artificial intelligence and automation technologies, which are also trending today, will come to the fore. As the Serkon family, we have changed our vision as of 2022.


We proceed with the awareness that we are responsible for incorporating high technology into the system in all the products we have developed and will continue develop.


We are not working to produce basic machines. We are now working on artificial intelligence, deep learning models, fully automated technologies capable of making decisions on their own.


In machines produced by traditional methods, fabric control is done with human eyes. What are the handicaps of this?


The fabric surface scanning process is currently carried out by humans. The human operator attaches the fabric to the machine and tries to detect the defect by looking at the fabric flowing at a speed of 10 metres/min. or 15 metres/min.


Of course, while the human operator is detecting faults, fatigue begins after a while and performance decreases. The speed decreases, mistakes escape, the standard of work unfortunately does not remain.


Quality is not a job to be controlled, but an approach, a process. It cannot be a little good and a little deficient. Even if you have the best facility in the world, customer satisfaction and branding cannot be realised if the quality phenomenon is not standardised. 


At this point, the human phenomenon creates a risk to this approach. With the QBar.AI product, we turn this risk into a friend. We increase and accelerate its success. QBar has the capacity to scan at a speed of 35 mt/min today.


We have developed a product that performs autonomous quality control in real terms and we are getting very positive results.


We have a completely different approach to colour control. The human operator cannot perform colour control at the same time as fault detection. For this, he stops the machine, cuts pieces from the fabric, takes it to the laboratory and has another expert look at it in the light cabin.


How gives correct result is the 10 cm sample cut from the fabric for 1000 metres of fabric?  At this point, ShadeBar makes a big difference by performing edge-middle-edge and head-end colour controls at every cm during the flow.


We are talking about a technology that performs 100% colour control for each fabric roll passing through the machine and makes them group/lot.


"There is no other product in the market that can make fabric defect control and flow colour control at the same time"


As Serkon Teknoloji, you have developed two products that will prevent these problems: QBar and ShadeBar. First of all, can we listen to the development process and features of these products from you?


QBar.AI

Currently, there is no other product on the market that can perform fabric defect control and colour control in the flow at the same time. QBar and ShadeBar, which we developed in partnership with Serkon - Ağteks, can control surface and colour without discriminating between knitted, woven, denim or non-denim fabrics.


QBar, where we use computerised image models, takes an image on the surface, transfers this image to the artificial intelligence unit, the decision-making centre applies the deep learning model, then sends the detection to the operation department as information, automatically stops the machine if necessary, and labelling the faulty part is done by the automated system.


Therefore, thanks to artificial intelligence, we have taken the 100% human-oriented quality control process out of human monopoly.


QBar and ShadeBar are the result of 5 years of work with active and passive design process. In the last 3 years of this, we did fieldwork, tried and scanned more than 10 million metres of fabric and had many different libraries.


What distinguishes QBar from its competitors?


There are many companies working on this technology in the world. However, we have seen at the ITMA 2023 Exhibition we recently attended that there are two different commercialised products in the world that are competitors of QBar. However, we differ from both of these products in a very definite way.


In known products, first the defects on the fabric are taught, such as this hole, this stain, etc. The system that learns this tries to catch errors with a simulation model. We used a different method to make the technology sustainable and closer to human use.


Our technology starts to work immediately 1 hour after it is installed in a machine, it catches errors. Because there is an intelligence in the background that does not know what a hole is, what a stain is and does not need to learn.


Another feature that distinguishes our product from its competitors is that it performs colour control simultaneously with surface anomalies. The biggest problem of fabric manufacturers is colour transitions. 5,000 metres of fabric is not the same colour from beginning to end.


This is a production problem, known but difficult to detect. Pieces are cut from the fabric, but exact detection is not possible with 3-5 cm fabric samples. We have developed a solution to this problem.


Our sister technology ShadeBar, which we positioned right behind QBar, provides colour control in the flow. It is a product that does not need to buy parts or go to the light booth to control the colour transition or wing difference in the fabric roll.


Moreover, it monitors, lotts and reports the colour transition on every cm of the fabric surface.


"Installation of QBar can be done within 6 hours without stopping the factory"


Can you tell us about the advantages of QBar and ShadeBar for users?


The control process, which is limited by human ability, is completely changing with QBar. Our product provides advantages to users in many areas such as material efficiency, control speed, energy efficiency, sustainability, operation cost.


With its innovative interface, QBar.AI simplifies the operator monitoring process as well as error capture during instant flow. It can integrate with second party software and generate instant reports.


The horizontally designed quality control system brings a new method to the fabric surface defect control process.


The new unit, which has the capacity to operate at a speed of up to 50m/min, not only controls the surface defects, but also controls the wing and color transition, which are color anomalies, in the flow.


Specially designed according to the Non-Stop Label method, edge labeler works along the Y-axis and physical marking takes place. With its unique scanning and imaging technology, QBar.AI is designed to work in harsh conditions and on different surfaces, even at high speeds.


Working area with the capacity to detect different colored fabrics and unfamiliar defects.  Defect information, fabric width map and defect distribution information for each checked roll can be viewed in the report.


While the success rate of human-oriented quality controls is 80-85%, with QBar we promise a success rate of over 95%. We reduce the amount of fabric going to waste and therefore operating costs. We prevent loss of time.


In addition, since QBar is a plug-in product, it can be easily installed on any machine. In other words, we can install it on any machine that our customers have.


Who are your customers using QBar? What kind of feedback did you get from them?


Fabric surface scanning is not only a problem for garment manufacturers but also for fabric manufacturers. Among these; there are knitted, woven and denim fabric manufacturers.


For example, İSKO, one of the biggest denim manufacturers in Turkey, Colins, one of the biggest brands in Turkey, Ekoten, one of the biggest knitted fabric manufacturers, Küçükçalık, one of the non-denim fabric manufacturers, Taypa, a woven fabric-weighted ready-to-wear manufacturer, Erse Tekstil, a knitted fabric-weighted ready-to-wear manufacturer, Sage-Diniz and Martur, automotive industry seat manufacturers, are some of our reference customers.


Our customers who use our products declare that they have achieved a success rate of 95% and above in fabric and colour control. Our product has been on the market for 8 months and we have realised over 20 sales so far.


This product has really become a pride of the country. We hosted Moncler and IKEA companies in our facilities and explained our products.


"QBar and ShadeBar can be installed on Fabric Inspection, Final Inspection Stenter and Raw Quality Control Machines"


On which machines can QBar and ShadeBar be used? For example, is it possible to install a QBar on a ram machine?


Qbar.Aı
ShadeBar









I would like to answer this question starting from the end.


The last part where the fabric is consumed is the quality control process just before cutting. We can install QBar on all manual fabric quality control machines available in the market. We complete the installation and start it up after a 6-hour assembly process without stopping the factory.


We do not have any requests from the business such as prepare the following equipment, remove the following apparatus from your machine. We are able to install QBar and ShadeBar immediately at the outputs of all stenter machines regardless of brand and model for dyed finished fabrics.


QBar is a product with double surface scanning technology. We do not only install double surface at the stenter outlet, we have positioned the QBar as double for a machine of ISKO for the denim surface where we perform fabric quality control, in a way to control from both top and bottom.


Küçükçalık company is one of our very successful projects where we installed 2 (double) QBar and applied it to the stenter outlet, and at the same time, we installed ShadeBar 1 metre behind it and also looked at the colour.


In addition to these; there are raw control machines at the entrance of the dye houses. We install QBars on these machines to detect defects on the raw fabric surface before the fabric enters the dyeing process.


"We will Launch QBar at ITM 2024 Exhibition"


It has been 8 months since the product was launched, where and how do you plan to launch it in Turkey?


We started the official sales of our product in July 2023. We have more than 20 active QBars in the field. We have not received any negative feedback from any product we have sold so far. At the beginning of 2024, we added Colins: Eroğlu Tekstil and Moncler to our references.


We took our QBar product to ITMA 2023 Fair to measure the pulse of the market and for promotion purposes. However, we saw that there were not many visitors from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Egypt and Uzbekistan, which are among our target markets.


For this reason, we decided to launch our product at the ITM 2024 Exhibition, which attracts a lot of professional visitors from these markets.


ITM 2024 Exhibition is a fair where we can reach all of our target markets. During the ITM 2024 Exhibition; we plan to introduce QBar by organising a cocktail where we will meet with our potential customers. 


In 2024, what are your expectations for the garment machinery sector? Do you have new product and investment projects?


In 2024, the Serkon family started its way with new growth targets. If we do not encounter a very extreme situation, we predict that Serkon Teknoloji A.Ş. will grow around 200%.


The QBar and ShadeBar technologies we have developed currently have no competitors in the market. Therefore, there is a tremendous demand for our products.


In addition, these products can also be installed on the machines developed by Serkon Makina. For example, our third generation fabric laying machines are now sold with QBar and ShadeBar.


This will significantly affect our sales. In 2024, we anticipate a significant increase in demand for these machines. Our R&D unit will grow by 100%. With the commissioning of our second factory, the number of our personnel will also increase.


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