December '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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HOTRONIX Ben Robinson, senior vice president and general manager of Stahls' Hotronix, points to emerging technology for printing custom-decorated headwear. "This (technology) is necessary because we are seeing less direct embroidery on caps and more all-around decorating, with patches, prints, and emblems being heat printed in more than one location on a cap." This trend has also given way to new tech- nologies that ensure proper heat application for items like emblems, Robinson says. Looking to the future, Robinson notes wireless and smart technology as a stead- fast element in apparel decorating equipment. With these onboard features, users can access things like cloud-based performance tracking and production insights. "This game-changing capability means users can adjust production capacity and eliminate mistakes before they happen," he adds. COASTAL BUSINESS SUPPLIES Darci Jeffrey-Andersen, national sales manager for Coastal Business Supplies, says she sees software used for equipment like printers and cutting plotters becoming more sophisticated by removing manual tasks and enabling operators to be more ef- ficient. "For instance, tasks that used to take significant amounts of time like creat- ing a cut line for a decal can now be accomplished in just a few clicks, and these pro- grams are only going to continue getting more advanced," Jeffrey-Andersen notes. Equipment operation, Jeffrey-Andersen adds, also continues to evolve. "Histor- ically, a printer operator would be tasked with daily, weekly, and monthly main- tenance on the printers," she says. "Nowadays, the majority of the maintenance is done automatically within the printer. Enhancements made to both software and equipment stand to create more efficiencies while removing the complexity out of the printing process." SUPACOLOR Rum Walia, president of Supacolor USA, and Michael Modgill, director at Supa- colour Group NZ, both point to the rise of digital decoration and evolutions in ink technology as trends on the horizon. "As garment and graphic designs become more technical and complex, print processes such as digital printing, transfers, and pad printing will continue to be in high demand due to their versatility," says Walia, adding that decoration dis- ciplines that can accommodate chemically-coated garments "and print methods that can address unlimited colors and gradients will be essential." Modgill says he sees the emergence of hybrid technology for decorators in mul- tiple disciplines, including screen printing and heat-transfer technology. "As logos get more complex with more colors, these processes allow decorators to produce work that was not possible a few years ago with all the longevity of traditional processes," Modgill says. PW 2 0 1 9 D E C E M B E R P R I N T W E A R 4 1

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