Printing United Expo, which was held Oct. 19–21 at the Las Vegas Convention CenterThe largest marketplace for printing technology is, and it is a hub for innovation. The consumer-centric supply chain replaces the traditional seasonal development process and eliminates long time frames and action calendars. New digital and software innovations allow for fast tracking, quick reading and immediate reaction to selling and the ability to create garments based upon P.O.s.
“This week has been surreal, seeing the industry come together after such a long time,” said Amanda Kliegl, vice president of public relations for the expo. “The direct-to-garment movement has brought many new customers to the show. Startups who initially began in their garages have grown and now are looking to see what’s available in technology and equipment to buy and build for growth,” Kliegl added.
Mimaki It demonstrated its micro-factory in collaboration with strategic partners Tukatech, Greentex, Beaver Paper, Kieverik And Juki. This new type of production allows for same-day design, reducing waste, eliminating minimums, and quick turn. It also solves many of the issues that were previously encountered in the manufacturing process. The three-step process of printing, finishing, and assembly allows for products that are ready to sell in hours instead of weeks or months. Victoria Nelson Harris, Mimaki’s senior textile specialist, said, “The micro-factory gives full control of the supply chain with instant production, which is really cool. The complete solution.”
Chris Walia, COO of Tukatech, added, “Technology is so amazing yet underutilized in the apparel industry. We are poised to help companies make the necessary transition by providing cutting-edge product.” One of his goals is to promote micro-factories within the U.S. for speed to market.
At Epson, Six-color printers were introduced, as well as a color-matching system that can read any physical sample and produce the exact color at the touch of a button. Tim Check, senior product manager for textiles, said, “This is another new tool to assist creatives, where their vision comes to life, communicating directly with the printer.”
X-Rite Pantone New developments in software and machinery have allowed for the measurement of specific colors to be made precisely, eliminating the lengthy process of approval. Queenie Bhardwaj, product manager, said, “We are now able to make sure color standards are exact and can be given to our customers by elevating the visual process.”
HP’s innovations in digital printing allow for the elimination and expense of burning screens for small orders. Rolando Martinez, global head of programs and solutions, spoke to improvements in the area of packaging, “Today’s trend is definitely toward smaller runs. Packaging for small industries has never been easier. Low MOQs for testing, fast turns and greater profitability are now achievable.”
Roland The company presented its solution for full-color photo printing using digital dots. Direct-to garment printers can print up to twelve pieces at once. The equipment comes with a heat-transfer device for apparel designers at entry level. This equipment is an affordable solution for direct-to consumer sellers such as those with Etsy Stores can now make their own products at home, without needing to invest a lot.
Los Angeles Apparel I was there to meet screen printers and wholesalers. Pat Honda, president of wholesale, said, “We are reaching everyone who will touch our product before the end user. We’ve seen some customers from as far away as Canada. Connecting in person again has been great.” The company’s stock program of knitwear and accessories is available in custom colors for a 300-piece minimum in seven to 10 days. Its 6½-oz. The bestseller is the garment-dyed Tshirt, which costs $6.50 and comes in 25 colors.
Gerber Technology It also displayed its customized and on-demand technology at the show. Its photo-image printing capabilities create lifelike images on textiles that look like denim.
Omniprint International Daily panels were featured to assist businesses in scaling up and growing and to highlight the importance of TikTok Social media in general. One panel featured influencers, who shared their experiences building their businesses and answered audience questions. Chazz Owens is the CEO of streetwear brands. Twozzday And 222 Sports, said, “When I heard about this show, I thought I would check out what’s new and available for growing my brand. I’m looking to expand my line beyond online by collaborating with licenses and will need to be able to present collections and samples more quickly.”
The Kornit Digital Conference was held at the end of the expo’s first day. Ronen Samuel, CEO of Kornit Digital, opened the seminar and passionately spoke about wanting to “be the change” that is long overdue. “After three long years it is a pleasure to be in person,” Samuel said. “We are making fashion better, faster and more personal. The industry has seen so many changes in the past three years thanks to technology. We are ready to make it better. Fashion is one of the last industries to go digital.”
Samuel said that it is important to tackle disruption through change. “There’s been a big e-comm boom, especially during COVID, which has made social media so important to what the consumer is responding to. The ability to produce what is actually sold, never run out of bestsellers and same-day reorders are just some of the customer-first changes,” Samuel explained. “What’s important to Gen Z is sustainability, and the industry is currently the second-biggest polluter. Kornit has made a commitment to tackle this issue and produces an environmental impact report to track these improvements.”
Don Whaley, vice-president of Kornit Digital, discussed the pixel-to–parcel cycle. This allows for rapid product development and closer integration with existing systems. The Max System, which prints directly to fabric and not to garments, was introduced. Coming soon is the Apollo, in which one person can produce 350–400 fully finished garments per hour.