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Jennifer Marks

The 2nd Act

Avi Gross, leftAvi Gross, left, with EVS ceo Sam Cohen at an installation in India.
CAESAREA, ISRAEL - When Avi Gross stepped down from Divatex last summer, it turned out he was not walking away from the textiles business - just stepping into another part of it.
     Gross founded Divatex - one of the top sheet suppliers in the country - in 1990, then in 2007 sold an 80% stake to The Himatsingka Group, a vertically integrated home textiles manufacturer based in India. He has since taken a stake in Elbit Visions Systems (EVS), a global provider in the field of Automatic Optical Inspection (AOI) to provide fabric quality control of fabrics and production.
     And that has put him back in his element - the factory floor.
     "Our target customers are companies that want to have a DNA of excellence," said Gross.
     The EVS optical system was originally developed for military use, the goal being to create a camera that can see like a brain. The system shifted to commercial applications in 1992, with Milliken & Company being the first textiles manufacturer in the United States to adopt the technology.
     That tech is now in its fourth generation and feeds real-time data about production anomalies as they occur so they can be fixed before a whole run is ruined. Among the problems the technology can spot are weaving defects, dyeing and finishing defects and shade variations.
     "Now management has the view," said Gross. "The record is there, the pictures are there. It can be monitored in real time - even if the factory is 300 miles away from the office."
     Knowing that every second of the production run is being recorded and errors alerts are going out with time stamps also keeps floor inspectors on their toes, said Shay Zamir, former vp of merchandising for Divatex, who is also involved with EVS.
     "Nobody runs the red light when the policeman is around," he added. "The camera is recording everything."
     For manufacturers, cutting a problem off the roll as soon as it's spotted improves yield. For the end customer, it provides a record, said Gross, who was himself an end customer for 22 years.
     "I don't know how to sell something I don't believe in," he said.

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