November '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 22 of 68

2 0 P R I N T W E A R N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 9 2 0 P R I N T W E A R N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 9 Pushing for Production High-quality, production-minded digi- tizing, when working with someone with solid communication skills, benefits your efficiency threefold by reducing excessive movement, trims, and stitch count; reduc- ing spoilage due to poor embroidery re- sults; and reducing the number of requests for alterations and time spent working to explain your needs. Personalization: Despite my love of digitizing, many successful embroider- ers never digitize a single file. That said, all embroiderers should have access to letter- ing software for personalization. Though one must learn basic settings to correctly select stitch parameters for a variety of gar- ments, any embroiderer can learn to set up basic name drops and add titles, divi- sion names, and other text elements to existing designs. Shocking as it may seem, some embroiderers rely on a digitizer to provide even basic text, incurring both a per-name cost and the additional time, P ursuing higher output isn't just about adding heads. Though the case is easy to make for adding more multi-head equipment if your orders tend toward larger-volume collec- tions of similar garments with decorations that don't require personalization, there are a host of options to increase effective production with or without new machinery. Production isn't just a matter of size. Medium to large shops may find that no matter how many heads they run, their process suffers from fits and starts that keep them from reaching prime pro- ductivity. With that in mind, we'll examine a few places where simple changes may positively affect your throughput, increasing the effective capacity of your production day. EMBROIDERY FILES Digitizing: Though attractiveness is key to customer satisfaction, a good-looking design which ignores production-friendly practices can still result in excessive stitching time and use of support materials, as well as superfluous trimming/finishing. After years of adjusting others' designs for production, I found myself frequently reducing densities and altering sequencing to save an average of 10–15% in stitch count while cutting the number of color changes, jumps, and tie-in/off stitches significantly. In one design starting with 26,000 stitches, my version was 22,000 stitches, dropping the color change count from 12 to 5. At 1,000 stitches per minute, factoring for color changes, this saved roughly 5.16 minutes per run. With eight hours of production in each day, this adds four runs to the production schedule. Running on 12 heads, daily produc- tion jumps from 204 garments to 252. You can't cut all designs so thoroughly, but even small improvements are worthwhile, particularly as designs may stitch hundreds of times over the lifespan of an account. EMBROIDERY Erich's Embellishments E r i c h C a m p b e l l Though it's very possible to hoop and stitch cap backs with a standard, flat hoop, this lever-actuated cap back clamp makes it easy to mount caps quickly and without as much fuss over maintaining the correct angle. (All images courtesy the author) Shoes are a popular personalization option that feel almost impossible with- out a specialty clamp hoop.

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