Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Everyday conversations with our customers

We are a bit old school.   When you call Brown Manufacturing Group you get people.   No voice mail.  No phone extensions.  No "press 1" commands.  It isn't because we are living in 1970, but because we prefer human interaction.  Customer connection is a priority for us.  We are a family business and we want to know our customers, not just take an order and move on.

This direct contact comes with both positives and negatives. One negative is that, sometimes, we are a bit overloaded.  Our apology if you have been on hold or caught us juggling a few conversations at the same time.

It is those conversations that are the positive.  

AP-67J ElectraPrint Junior

As an example, today, a customer called to order a sleeve platen for his manual Masterprinter.  I had the opportunity to chat with him about the job he was printing and learned that he needed to print 200 shirts in 3 locations by Friday.  Well, as a sales person, this was an opportunity for me.  But is was also a learning conversation for him.  He had not looked at our ElectraPrint machines and did not know their capabilities or how reasonably priced they could be.  Though he ordered his sleeve attachment and will be printing 600 prints by hand, he is now armed with information on how to improve his business and that he can afford the upgrade.  No online order system can do that for a customer.

Additionally, if he had taken the time to peruse our web site, this kind of machinery can be confusing to configure to your shop.  A little bit of casual conversation and we determined the right number of heads and features that fit his shop and his production needs.  And it was in his price range.

As a sales professional, I can always wish for a sale.  But most sales people know that business is build upon relationships and need fulfillment.  Did I expect a sale?  Only for the original sleeve platen.  Do I look forward to future conversations with this customer about expanding his business?  Absolutely.

We prefer you call us and ask questions.  Send us an email, if you prefer.  Our family likes to meet yours.  We believe it is better service.  And, for the record, that sleeve platen will ship today.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Think small to earn big

As manufacturers of high volume equipment, we talk with many high volume producers of printed garments.  These companies employ hundreds to thousands of people so they can ship big volume very day.  However, we also talk with small to mid-size printers who are self employed or only have a small staff but they run profitable businesses and are often thinking of additional ways to expand their sales base.  The large companies often talk of prototype or sampling departments that would require small production units for multi-color screen printed goods.  This is the same type of machinery that small to mid-sized businesses look at for expansion.

What are the options?

CX-424R ClassicXprs

Small and mobile but still productive.  Those are the requirements we hear often.  The PonyXprs and the ClassicXprs answer all those needs.

The CX-424 offers a 4 color printer on a conveyor curing system that produces 36-48 pieces per hour.  It is on heavy duty casters and requires only 110V, 15A of power.  This is a small unit with great profit potential.  It has a minimal investment requirement and produces enough volume to quickly turn that into a daily profit.

PX-646 PonyXprs

The PX-646 is a 6-color, 4-station printer on a conveyor that produces 60 to 100 pieces per hour.  This unit requires 120V, 15A power times 2 for a total of 30 amps.  Easily obtained using household outlets.  The PonyXprs is volume  production for a single operator.  Again, this has a low investment requirement and a quick turn around to profits.

What do these offer for a large shop?

If a shop needs printed approval from their customer, they go through all the steps needed to take the job into production.  They create screens from separated art.  They custom mix ink colors.  They order a few of the exact shirt.  But is it cost effective to interrupt the production of the standard machines on the production floor to print 3 pieces for approval?  Many would prefer to print the samples on their direct to garment machines, but these are not accurate because they are not a screen print.  The accuracy and quick set-up of the Xprs systems make sampling quicker and more accurate.

What are the uses in a small shop?

The quick answer is EVERYTHING.  And in some cases that is true.  There are many of our customers who have these set up at their home business.  There are also many who use these as secondary stations in their shops.  This is where they send all the small stuff or the specialty items.  Any job that would require a change of platen would be printed on this system so that the standard production machines are not affected.  

Another option for the small to mid-sized shop is to take these machines on location.  Many companies service events that would profit from a quick, portable unit that can excite a crowd, limit inventory expenses and produce volume shirts on minimal power.  This is a quick cash business that expands the customer base of many community printers.

So why you?

In our daily rush to get orders in and out, we can often get wrapped up in the hurry and not take time to consider new options.  Running a high volume production floor, samples are a problem not a route to more profits.  However, they are what makes future sales and profits.  In a small shop, when you are chasing your existing customer base, the idea of collecting new contacts with on-site selling sounds exhausting.  However, if growth and profits are the goal, then new venues for selling are essential.

Check out the complete Xprs line of machinery and contact one of the Brown team members for more information.

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 sales@brownmfg.net.

You can also look at our BrownDigital web site.  www.brownmfgdigital.com

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.