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Scoring More Sales With Specialty Garment Decorating

(November 2008) posted on Thu Nov 06, 2008

Want to broaden the array of decorating options you can offer your customers? Then check out the collection of specialty decorating technologies discussed here and find out how you can use them to expand your bottom line.

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By Henry Bernstein

To simplify the concept of appliqué, one can take an existing print design and turn it into a very interesting and different product. For example, one research project our company conducted came from a customer who wanted to enhance one of his screen-printed designs so it could be sold at a higher price point. The customer sent us his vector art file, which was converted into a laser cutting file with an offset embroidery tack down. For a digitizer, converting files is a relatively simple process. For the embroidery portion, the first color layer is positioned, stitched, and then laser cut. The process is repeated for each color and layer until the design is complete. In this particular application, four material colors were used and, although there were multiple laser cuttings, each layer was done in a matter of seconds (Figure 2).

The application was completed in a short time frame compared to traditional embroidery. The time saved was about 400% or 8 minutes versus 42 minutes. Regardless of low-cost offshore labor, this time reduction can be achieved only with laser bridge technology, which gives domestic shops a competitive edge over foreign imports.

One of the biggest benefits of producing appliqué with laser bridge technology is that perceived value is increased while production time is reduced. In the garment decorating business, isn’t that what we strive for every day?

The real challenge in this example situation was to maintain the overall look while creating a laser appliqué.

To duplicate the thin letters with traditional cutting methods would be impossible. However, it is no obstacle for a laser. Highly detailed designs (Figure 3) truly demonstrate the laser’s ability to quickly and efficiently cut complex applications, separating it from all traditional forms of appliqué work and, at the same time, making it a cost-comparative option for screen printing.

Another technique for creative expression is distressed applications, which can’t be more in demand than today. Done properly, they can offer corporate designs with a fashion flare. The trick is to repeat the application with control on a consistent basis. The laser can do exactly that, but at production speed.


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