INVENTIONS: Cutting Cloth by Laser

The U.S. can battle cut-rate imports better by increasing its productive efficiency than by raising its protective barriers. Last week Genesco, Inc. and Hughes Aircraft showed off a jointly developed machine that may help U.S. clothing makers to compete. The machine, which looks like a miniature steel rolling mill, maneuvers a laser beam over cloth to cut garments according to computer-determined patterns. It acts with speed, accuracy and a flexibility that human cutters cannot match. It can cut a man's sport coat, a woman's skirt and a child's pair of shorts consecutively from the same roll of cloth. Genesco...

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