Discovering 3D Weaving

Optima 3D MD Stephen Cooper speaks to FFF members
Optima 3D Managing Director Stephen Cooper talks through capabilities of a 3D loom

Over a dozen industry partners from across the Future Fashion Factory community took part in a workshop to explore the potential of 3D weaving technology for fashion and textiles.

Textile manufacturers, fashion designers, and buyers were among the attendees at ‘The Possibilities of 3D Weaving’, organised in partnership with the School of Design at the University of Leeds and industry partner Optima 3D.

The first part of the session was led by Dr Lindsey Waterton Taylor from the School of Design’s 3D Weaving Innovation Centre.

Over the past two years, Lindsey’s team has worked with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the Leeds City Region, supporting them to enhance their weaving capabilities and identify new commercial opportunities for 3D woven structures.

Demonstrating the bespoke weaving kit in the Innovation Centre, Lindsey explained how 3D weaving works and the capabilities it offers compared to traditional 2D weaving. The guests also examined 3D samples of structures such as cylinders and honeycombs produced on the loom.

From there the guests travelled to Optima 3D’s premises in Huddersfield where they took a closer look at the company’s new Series 500 loom in action.

Managing Director Stephen Cooper – a weaver with over four decades’ experience – set the loom running and answered lively questions from the guests on everything from the size and dimensions of the structures that can be produced.

3D weaving enables companies to produce more durable and resilient structures than traditional 2D formats, where individual pieces need to be cut and sewn together – a process which also creates waste.

Optima 3D loom
Optima 3D’s Series 500 loom

Because 3D looms can weave with almost any fibre, industries from aerospace to medical technology are already taking advantage of this potential with a variety of different materials.

It also offers fantastic opportunities for the fashion and textile industry, from technical textiles to producing seamless garments.

Stephen Cooper, Managing Director, said: “We approached Future Fashion Factory and Lindsey to co-organise this event because we believe there’s a bright future for 3D weaving as another tool for creating all kinds of garments.

“It was interesting to hear the different questions that textile manufacturers ask and understand the needs within the sector. We’re looking forward to developing our relationships within the industry through the Future Fashion Factory network.”