Monday, January 8, 2018

2018 Event schedule

The 2018 trade show circuit jumps to a quick start with back to back shows on the west coast.  The PPAI show is in Las Vegas on January 16-18.  The Imprinted Sportswear show is in Long Beach on January 18-20.  Both of these events are historically, exciting due to new products launches and innovations.  The added bonus that it should be above freezing in both locations makes them fun venues to spend time.

However, for those who are on different coast lines or whose schedule does not permit, we are action packed for 2018.  We are sure to be at an event near you soon.  For a complete list of our upcoming events check out this calendar.

Why should you attend?

Many reasons are listed for not attending trade shows.  Though they are legitimate reasons to pick your events carefully, it is a wise choice to attend one event a year.  Let's see if we can balance the pros and cons.

Reasons for not attending.

  1. We are not planning to upgrade our equipment.
  2. We are too busy with orders to get away.
  3. Our place needs management to run the facility each day.
  4. There is never anything new that would change our company.
  5. We can't afford anything new.
  6. It's so expensive to go.
  7. We train our own employees.
  8. Etcetera.

Seriously these are the reasons we hear.

So let's go through these and see if there is another viewpoint.
  1. Nope, you probably are not planning on an upgrade.  However, looking for ways to optimize performance of what you have is always worthwhile.  With updated maintenance information and tools, machinery will last longer.  This is a major cost savings for any business.
  2. Too busy FOR THE WHOLE YEAR?  There are events all over the country every month.  Small regional shows have information that is worth knowing just as much as big shows. 
  3. This is an excuse screaming for show attendance.  There are seminars on production management just so that the production floor can run seamlessly without upper management intervention.  If "I'm essential for every day" is the reason, then take a seminar and lighten your load.
  4. Sometimes there aren't new things.  True.  However, we could all use a refresher course.  As you are driving in the mall parking lot and thinking that all these people need a driving course, remember your shop.  Everyone could use a quick study in everything they do from time to time.
  5. Your budget is tight has some validity.  So don't buy anything!  Just learn.  Sit with other business people and ask questions.  Not about your favorite sports, but about how their business handles day to day activities.  
  6. The shows typically have free passes to enter.  Pick one you can drive to.  Talk to people.  Free info.  Sounds reasonably priced to me.  Seminars cost money, true.  Talking to people on the floor is free.
  7. So, you are up to date on all new technology, right?  So how you train your people is top-notch?  Um huh.  Think again.  Quality people learn fast.  They can learn new things that will help your business grow and be more profitable.
  8. Should we keep going or do you get the idea?

So what do you do if you are looking for something new.

Attend all events with an open mind.  We see many people who go to a show thinking that they know exactly what they are there for.  That is good.  They have probably done their research and are comfortable with what they are planning.  However, look around.  There are rows and rows of interesting products that might shed new light on old problems or change your mind on what you think you need.

If you are looking for one thing, talk to everybody who know something about that issue.  Different manufacturers can give insights on solutions from different perspectives.  Be open minded.  You are there to learn something and, though you may have years of experience, new technology changes the game.

One final note.  Have some fun.  Walking a show is tiring.  It is physically and mentally challenging.  But there are new things to see and new people to meet.  Wear comfy shoes and a smile.  It is a long day that should lead to improvements and new insights.

Monday, December 11, 2017

2017. A year of innovation.

What an amazing whirlwind of a year.  New technology and innovation moved Brown and BrownDigital into new segments of the garment decorating industry.  This addition brings new energy and enthusiasm to existing projects as well.

So what's new?

That's a big question.  Around our facility it feels like everything is new.  New curing systems, new printing technology and completely new product lines.  

Expanded Anaconda™

The Anaconda system is a flat heater that combines with a roller in an automatic printer to flatten fibers into ink to create a smoother print surface and, hence, brighter prints.  Originally, this was developed to use a 23" x 31" M3 roller frame support platform to fit into an standard automatic textile printer, like our ElectraPrint Stealth.  The excitement for the Anaconda has grown and we expanded the possible press sizes for it.  Now it can be mounted on a 21" x 24" MZX roller frame support which allows it to fit into smaller automatic presses like our ElectraPrint Junior.

The creativity of our customers as to how this product can benefit production is exciting.  We see the Anaconda applied to prints on polyester with dye migration issues, on water base or discharge inks to activate the cure and smooth out the print and on fibrous shirts for a crisper finished print.  The options are exciting.

Synergy™ pretreat system

BrownDigital moved deeper into the world of direct to garment printing.  The Synergy pretreat module system is a high production pretreated that ties directly into the FireFly™.  This unit offers more features and sprays pretreat more evenly and at higher speeds than competitive machines.  The exciting connection to the Brother GTX line of printers allows for pod style production growth with minimal labor costs.  Check out our recent blog about these pod systems.

This system also puts more information in front of the garment loader.  There is always a concern that what is pretreated is not the correct garment for the required order.  The projection system that is included with the Synergy displays an image of the shirt required and the image that is to be printed.  This gives confirmation to the operator that the are loading the correct product.  Features like this make this the leader in pretreat technology.

Linx™ Control System Integration

What is Control System Integration?  It is complete production software that ties your orders to your pretreat, digital printer and shipping software.  A barcode control system allows for inventory control and complete tracking of goods within your production facility and into shipping.  This product has quietly expanded and is running in facilities throughout the US.  BrownDigital views this as an essential component to online sales and digital printing.  This is a lead off for 2018 and it is an exciting direction for our corporate growth.

Brown Mfg and BrownDigital are looking forward to 2018.  The expansion of market areas from our existing product line and the development of new items is exciting.  Keep watching this blog for updates.  

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Synergy pretreat in action

In our last blog we introduced the Synergy™ Pretreat Module.  This was presented at SGIA and combined with the Brother® GTX direct to garment printer.  This combination allows for versatility and speed for any medium to large production shop.

Synergy + Firefly All-In-One Production System from Brother DTG on Vimeo.

If you have additional questions about the specifications of this system or how this might also work on any different brand of digital printer, contact our sales department at

You can also look at our BrownDigital web site.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Synergy™ pretreat module offers speed and growth

Ok, so this is what the word means but ....?
SY36x84 Synergy with FY2x36-45 FireFly

Combine the FireFly™ patented technology in curing inline with BrownDigital's new high volume pretreat module, Synergy™, and the production rates go up while the labor requirements go down.

The Synergy™  Industrial Pretreat Module is designed for high volume digital decorators and connects directly to the FireFly™ curing system, allowing for rapid evaporation of pretreat solution and a quick turn around to the digital output device.  The flow of the operation continues with reverse transport of the garment back to the original operator.  Complete multi-variate control of each garment.

Pod systems for production allow for flexibility.

Using the production flow shown, two operators can process the full operation.  One person is the pretreat loader and the final product packager.  A second person runs 4 Brother GTX machines.  High volume, low operating cost.

90-150 units per hour

Pod designs can scale for additional production.   

240-300 units per hour

450-600 units per hour 

Speed and flexibility with minimal personnel make the Synergy and FireFly combination a must have for those shops who need to step up their direct to garment volume.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Green technologies inspire new solutions

Visit Brown in booth #3301 and #1845
The upcoming SGIA show offers opportunities for any decorator to see amazing advancements in technology and innovative solutions for existing production issues.  The world of digital printing on garments was presented over a decade ago at SGIA.  Now the industry is moving into creative garments that have tech and communications woven into the fabrics.  Products that are better uses of resources, both environmental and economic.  Products that are immediate, offer rapid change and can be efficiently produced.  These new challenges have driven BrownDigital to create new lines of products that give flexibility to production, for both function and application.

FY-2x27-45 extended
The FireFly™ curing system was originally developed to address the direct to garment printing industry.  It was designed to speed up curing of digital inks and pretreat.  This technology has also been applied to similar printing inks such as discharge and water base ink lines.  The FireFly has proven that it can cure these ink lines in smaller space with equal results compared to traditional curing units.

Knowledge of what the FireFly can do has led BrownDigital into other, newer printing production arenas.  Water based ink transfers and silicone ink transfers have rapidly become high volume contenders in garment decorating.  Water based ink lines offer an environmentally cleaner alternative decorating option and silicone inks solve problems with durability and color bleed.  The FireFly can cure these transfers in 18 seconds as opposed the the traditional cure time of 42 seconds.  This time reductions increases the capacity of an auto feed sheet line by nearly 80%.  This means more production in less space and reduced power consumption.  Production line size reduction of 50% and a total energy reduction of 80%.  Greener tech for greener products.

Additional information on the SGIAExpo and the BrownDigital FireFly can be found online or contact the Brown Manufacturing sales and technical staff.  Visit our booths #3301 and #1845 at SGIAExpo for a full demonstration of all of the FireFly benefits.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

New products for new industries

Like all forward thinking businesses, Brown is continually looking for new markets to expand into.  Where can we take the knowledge we possess and apply it to other areas that will expand our revenue?  This process needs to be an expansion, not an overreach.  New products and ideas that can be explored with some risk but without exposing the core business.  This is the premise that allowed for the creation of the FireFly™ which has moved us into the direct-to-garment industry and given us connection into other decorated products.  One of the newest ventures is into curing UV printed items.

The introduction of the Vega™ UV/led curing system was a quiet launch last fall.  BrownDigital created this system by combining our knowledge of UV lighting, our knowledge of printing and the software capabilities from the FireFly™.  In addition we have combined the Vega and the FireFly to allow for curing of any substrate at any time.  This is groundbreaking.

For those in the textile printing world, UV printing is alien.  The process is similar, still screen printing and the inks do not air dry, just like plastisol.  However, the curing properties are very different.  UV inks cure with the direct application of UV light.  The light must be at a specific point in the spectrum and distance will alter the intensity.  Production speed is much higher than textile and specifications are rigid.

The Vega offers UV/led light modules in both 365NM and 395NM. The light modules are available separately so that they can be installed onto existing curing lines or as a full curing unit with software or combined with the FireFly for a multi-functional curing production system.  The variety allows for the Vega to fit into any shop.

Vega with FireFly
The software for the Vega is similar to what is on the FireFly and when the two machines are paired, it is a combined system so that both curing units are displayed on the Linx™ Command Center.  This software allows for 36 saved program profiles, 18 stored maintenance tasks and built in diagnostics.  A complete set of controls at your fingertips.

The Vega moved Brown into new markets and introduced us to new customers.  Maybe Brown can help you move into the world of UV printing.  Contact us today for additional information.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Master Printer series: a tune up, or a clean up?

Is your shop tuned up and cleaned up?  

Maybe you are ready for a check up?

In our continuing series of tips from our master technician, we like to cover what makes a shop function at its best.  The highest functioning production departments are typically the most profitable and have an edge on the market because of their efficiency, product quality and willingness to expand into new techniques.

Facilities that are clean and well organized can add new techniques and products into their flow because they are know where there is room and how it will affect standard operations.  Also, these facilities know where all their tools are located and those tools are in great working condition so that changes can happen when urgent situations happen.  Finally, the product quality is spot on because when everything is very clean and organized, items can ship in perfect condition and nothing gets misplaced.

So, look around your shop.  There are tell tale signs of production issues.  If these signs are here then there is a good chance that your machinery, as well as your facility needs a good overhaul.

  • Are your squeegees totally clean and organized on a rack by size or durometer?
  • Are all your screens organized by what stage of the prepress they are in?
    • Ink cleaning station
    • Strip or dip tank station
    • Ready to coat
    • Coated and ready to expose
    • prepped for the upcoming jobs
    • extras sorted by mesh count
    • old jobs stored together by job or customer
  • Are your inks and prepress products on clean tables and in clean containers?
  • Are your machines wiped down so that there is minimal lint and no ink on it?
  • Skip the production floor... how does everything else look?
    • Cafeteria or break room
    • Shipping and receiving
    • Trash cans
    • Work spaces
As a tip, if you would feel a need to clean it up to show it to your Mom, then clean it anyway.

Cleaned up, so now what?

Service contracts are available.
Once everything is shiny and new looking, then the flow of your production and the operating precision of your equipment can be evaluated.  Like HVAC equipment, printing machinery needs yearly maintenance.  Our technicians are trained in the installation and upkeep of Brown and BrownDigital equipment.  They are available for tune-ups as well at printing training on a scheduled rotation.  While they are in your facility, they check all of your Brown equipment:
  • Electrical connections and functions
  • Motors and drive systems
  • Registration systems
  • Wear points
  • Machine leveling
  • and much more...
And while they are there, they are available for printing and production flow training and advice.  Contact Brown Mfg for availability and pricing for your list of machinery.