Groz-Beckert's answer to the challenges
of the digital age: Smart INH
Lean production, Industry 4.0 and digitalization entered the
clothing industry and the clothing production process a long
time ago. With the INH (Ideal Needle Handling) quality
management, Groz-Beckert has been offering a way of improving
the complex handling of sewing machine needles in the production
process since 2016 – with Smart INH, Groz-Beckert has taken
another important step towards digitalization.
As early as the development stage of the INH quality
management, Groz-Beckert identified its ‘smart’ potential. In
addition to the basic version, where the documentation of the
needle breakages takes place physically, the so-called “Smart
INH was therefore created for digital documentation of needle
breakages and all needle changes. Different evaluations can also
be carried out and data managed using Smart INH.
The INH process is based on the so-called needle output
trolley. It prevents unnecessary paths and wait times during
needle changes in the factories. Using the needle return box
also prevents errors. The process is simplified further with the
needle storage sheet, which creates an all-round more efficient
process for the needle change – whether following a needle
breakage or during the normal replacement process.
In the smart version, the trolley is expanded to include a
tablet, which carries out the digitalization of the
documentation. The patented Smart INH consists of two software
components here: the mobile app INH@site and the management
Using the INH@site app, the relevant needle sections are
photographed in the event of needle breakage or a needle change.
Relevant data like the place and time of the needle breakage or
the production order are assigned to the photographs directly.
The resulting image data set created in this way is saved
The management program INH@office is used for entering and
maintaining all relevant data, like production orders, sewing
lines with machinery and personnel. The saved image data sets
can be called up at any time via INH@office. Status messages and
different statistical evaluation options are also available.
The possible connection of the brand owner and customer to
INH@office enables an audit to be carried out at any time and
checks to determine whether the factories are fulfilling their
duty of documentation. INH not only improves the process, but
also offers additional benefits such as a secure evidence base
and improved disposal options for needles.
There are a wide range of expansion options for the future:
INH@site provides the basis for connecting the customer
warehouse management system, for example, which can trigger an
automated order process and also avoid gray inventories in
production. The collection and evaluation of data on the needle
changes provides valuable experience that can be useful in
production to increase the productivity and improve the quality.
An additional networking among the customer factories also
enables experiences to be exchanged. Smart INH therefore has the
potential to become a comprehensive tool in the future, which
collects and evaluates important information for the customer.