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The Textile Micro Factory - Where Creativity Meets Technology

2018 has seen many new and exciting developments in Digital Textile Printing, but none, surely more important than the advent of the Textile Micro factory.

The FESPA Global Expo in Berlin earlier this year, featured a fully functional Micro Factory. Showcasing the latest technology available to and from the print Industry. The event to be held in Munich next year is sure offer an inspirational hub that seeks to inspire the visitor to push the boundaries of manufacturing.

It seems that all the elements, CAD/CAM, Workflow management, Digital Printing and Automated Cutting and Sewing technologies have converged in the last 12 months, making a scalable Textile Micro factory the preferred production facility of the future.

All components from colour through print and production, to sewing seamlessly slot together like pieces of a jigsaw, and critically now plug together to enable inline production at any scale.

The Textile Micro-Factory model is for ‘print on demand’ where there are no minimums, no close outs, no overstocks, and as a result, vastly diminished risk.

In the past, Textile products (for multiple Industries) were manufactured in advance, and then held in stock, to be fed into the supply chain on a seasonal cycle. Stock was predicted manually and forecasted historically. The business model carried huge risk for both the manufacturer and the retailer with many industries working to a sale or return policy.  Planning, in a model where the manufacturer or buyer carried all the risk, and with close-outs and clearances, the industry carried great fiscal risk.

On demand Digital textile printing has enabled incredible control for both the buyer and the manufacturer. The customer sees the design or product, purchases and then, and only then, the fabric or product is produced.

The ability of Digital Printing to transform an image into a fabric on demand is the keystone of the Micro factory principle. The process begins with the application of design and creativity utilising CAD/CAM and cloud based Workflow software. Automated administration then services both the consumer and the manufacturer to generate orders and products electronically.

For the Creative and Buyer, whether for Fashion, Athleisure, Sportswear, Events or Home Furnishings the Micro factory is a dream come true.

Because of the low risk-no minimum environment, Design Creativity is unleashed, and experimental ideas can now be produced in a matter of hours and not months. Equally the Buyer can sample a product to the marketplace, and then using AI (artificial intelligence) predict the stock required to meet demand.

This expands the potential range available to the customer exponentially, giving freedom to the Designer, and a greater range of products as available infantry for retail sale.

Augmented Reality Software, still in its infancy offers an incredible resource for both the present and the future of retailing, and now enables the consumer to choose from a virtual rendering of the product customised to their specification. An essential component for the future of our industry. Creating a product vision that can inspire and drive sales, particularly suited to online sales and e-commerce, is a powerful component.

All the essential elements of the Textile Micro factory are now available, software and machinery, and offer the industry the toolbox that it needs to make the shift to sustainable manufacturing.

The Digital Textile Printing Machine is a vital component for scalable printed manufacture.

As a proposition the Textile Micro factory presents an inspiring and solid investment, light on its use of resources, environmentally sound, and, above all, a 21st Century sustainable platform for Design, Creativity and Innovation.

Image Credit: Fespa Global Expo: Berlin 2018