Friday, December 8, 2023

Thank you for an outstanding 2023

 2023 has been an amazing year of expansion and growth.  Brown and BrownDigital have expanded in personnel, product lines and facilities and we are already busting at the seams.

In the summer we added a Crown to our life.  A building on Crown anyway.  This doubled our production space and allowed for larger projects to expand.  Our staff was thrilled with having more room to work in and spaces they could call their own.  This building added 3 overhead loading doors, 4 docks and way too many offices.  

The Brown product line expanded into their space with the ability to put up many machines at the same time which allows for additional testing and product development.  Yes, there are some cool new features in the works.  It also allowed for the development of a larger ElectraPrint machine that should be introduced in 2024.  The other feature that has sparked the growth of our Brown business is custom colors.  Our local high school is all blue and orange.  Go Rockets!

BrownDigital software developed many additions to the Linx suite.  Inventory, product fixers, purchasing as well as new connections to other platforms.  The diversity of this product line gives solutions to most POD production issues and it applies to a diverse area of application.  That software team has been gettin' it done.

The BrownDigital machine team is amazing.  The flagship FireFly product line has bloomed to a myriad of applications.  From the initial design of individualized curing, this has transitioned into a workhorse for applications from screen print to pretreat to DTG to wide format.  The diversity of possibilities is very exciting.  The Digital Line product for Brother International has opened additional opportunities for the FireFly and all the components involved.  

What is so interesting about our new facility is that it has allowed for bigger items to spread their wings and for the Brown staff to take ownership of specific products and make that section of the building all their own.  Our software team developed an internal Linx IC that has allowed for easy communication and information sharing within all facilities and our partners.  We expect that software to broaden our reach for direct contact with our customer.

Thank you for your investment into Brown and BrownDigital in 2023.  All of these changes excite us to create new products, adjust existing ones and grow into new areas.  We are excited about 2024 and what that will bring.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Cleanliness is the first maintenance task for every machine

Our service department often is asked what the maintenance requirements are for any and all of the machinery we manufacture.  We appreciate machine owner's desire to keep their investment in peak condition for maximum production and long life.  For some of our products, the maintenance list is quite low as are the suggested stocking parts.  However, as the complication of the machine increases so does the upkeep. 

Many long standing customers will brag that they have kept their machines in proper working condition for 20+ years.  While this is a testament to the design and durability of these machines it is also a good determinate of the condition of the shop.  Well maintained, but could use some updating. So, as we do appreciate the compliments and understand the owners pride of ownership, there is benefit from keeping updated tools in your shop.

Returning to the question of maintenance requirements, as machines increase in complexity the list of daily, weekly, monthly and bi-annual tasks gets longer.  These tasks will be noted in the manual that is provided with the equipment.  If the machine is equipped with computers, then maintenance tasks are available within the software and reminders for mechanical maintenance can be preset.  The use of this software feature is very helpful in managing all of the essential tasks.  Some customers use this software to schedule additional tasks within the production floor for non-computer driven devices.

The number one maintenance task for any production floor is cleanliness.  

Textile decoration as an industry is inherently dirty.  The lint from fabric floats through everything and the production processes typically require liquids that are sticky.  So lint and fibers will get stuck to everything.  The lint will also adhere to any greased or lubricated surface of a machine.  And it will get pulled into fans, fan belts and chain drive systems.  So let's see chat about havoc that can create.

  • Electronics will overheat and malfunction due to clogged fans
  • Electronic connections will degrade due to lint interference 
  • Lubricated surfaces which allow for smooth machine movement will get clogged, affecting print quality and machine operation
  • Conveyor belts will wear faster and will transfer dirt and debris onto the final product
  • Registration and indexing systems will become inconsistent due to dirt and debris and this will affect registration
  • And machinery aside, what employee wants to work in a dirty shop.  And employees are a production floors most expensive and important asset.

How clean do we suggest?  Lint free is the key.

How do you  keep a garment decorating shop lint free.  You do it by making cleanliness a top priority on the floor.  Cleanliness makes for happier employees and fewer shut downs which will increase production and profits.

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Let's start with the simplest items, fan filters.  These are designed for easy on/off.  And they are used to keep the electronic cabinet fans clear of debris so that they can move cool air across the electronic components.

Then we can move to the fans.  Whether in the control cabinets or used to move air in and out of a curing chamber, they are essential to the design and function of your equipment.

Now what does all this do to internal components?  Electronic components shut down when they are too hot.  Being covered with lint will cause this.  Relays will fail, switches will stop communicating and thermal cameras will shut down.  Production stops.

What about the chassis and the mechanical items.  They appear to be pushing through but are they?  Or are you setting them up to fail?  And there are no GOODs here.  Seriously, yuck.

And what employee wants to touch these?  And if they do, how do they touch fresh garments and ship them completely clean?  

Ok, we think we have made the issue clear.

So this week, at the end of a work day, pick something and clean it.  Start with wiping down the outside, both the controls and the chassis.  Then get a vacuum and clean out the internal controls.  The whole job should take 20 minutes.  Then another day, pick another machine.  Go through the whole shop and clean everything.

Next time we will chat about those preset maintenance items available in your software.

Friday, April 21, 2023

For Brown, it is all about customer service

When a person calls Brown Mfg they get a person.  We do not use automated attendants or voice mail on our main phone system.  When someone sends an email to what appears to be a generic email address such as or or those emails land directly in a person's inbox so they can be addressed quickly and directly.  These corporate choices are based on the elemental belief that direct person-to-person interaction provides the highest quality service to our customer.  Call us old fashioned, but we get thank you comments from our customers on a daily basis.

Another customer service item that we offer is custom paint as an option for new machinery purchases.  This generates excitement for people who have their machinery as part of their customer's experience.  These businesses sometimes have a production shop as a showroom and they have a corporate color scheme to match.  Recent colors have included combat green for a customer who services military families, hot pink for an all women's shop, and red white and blue because,  well, just because.  

One added benefit item we offer is creative installation solutions.  We cater to community printers. These are typically businesses with very limited space and often owner/operators of the machinery they buy.  Their production spaces are often not commercial, do not have loading docks and many times are multi storied.  One ElectraPrint leaving this week is no exception.  This installation involves a set of stairs into a lower level with 36" doorways.  

To accomplish this task, we take the machine apart into manageable pieces.  The base, the print hub and the platen hub are all packed separately.  The heads, platen arms and accessories are on other pallets.  

Our installer has tools available to assist with moving these pieces into tough spaces and to reassemble these pieces in the final location.  Once assembled, the installer will continue with the standard installation process and training of the customer.  

Yes, this is a fun one.  But not unique.  We have many stories of fun installs.

So, if you are thinking that it is time for your shop to step up into an automatic press but you are concerned about how it will fit into your space, contact us.  Brown has solutions.  We also have over 50 years of experience at these creative installations.  We are here to assist you, person-to-person, in making your business more productive and more profitable.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Brown is our name, but we are open to other options

 An army of machinery. And some are painted Military Green.

We have done some fun custom colors in the past.  Bright pink, red, purple and blue have all popped into our assembly line as customer request.  This is our first military green.  

The whole shop for this customer will be color themed.  

If this is a feature that interests you, please contact us for information on how we can custom paint your machinery to make your production part of your showroom experience.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

2022 brings big changes for Brown

 Go big or go home.

As the old saying goes, Brown chose to go BIG this year.  We have expanded our space, our people and our product line.  We also added a few colors to the Brown machine pallet for a little fun.  With expansion comes change and a few bumps in the road.  But our staff was ready for a few challenges to get us through.

BrownDigital has a developing partnership with Brother International.  This partnership has fostered new product for the Print-on-Demand world that Brother specializes in.  The POD sales strategy is immediate delivery of one off printed items.  Garments have a large segment of that market and they require a few additional processes compared to other one-off pieces.  This rapidly expanding market requires faster machinery to keep up with the volume and Brown delivered with the DigitalLine, an exclusive product for Brother.


The size of this system required additional assembly space.  So, Brown added a Crown.  Well an address on Crown anyway.  The added space has allowed all of our production departments to stretch their legs a bit.  As an example, where the space on Stafford allowed for 2 Electraprint machines to be assembled at the same time, this new space allows for 5.  As well as multiple manual machines and curing systems.

Your staff appreciates the space and is looking forward to upping the volume to fill the new building.

The fun of the Electraprint and Brown lines has been the "choose your color" option that we have introduced.  We have assembled a variety of colors in 2022.  Bright red, hot pink, military green have been shipped as well as the tried and true chocolate brown.  Do you have a color scheme in your facility?  Need us to match it?  We are on it. 

One other expansion that is a direct result of the POD market is the addition of new software modules available for the Linx Production Software .  In addition to the already stellar workflow application, new modules for inventory management, purchasing and QuickBoook integration have been developed to fill the every changing needs of our POD customer.  Contact us for additional information on how Linx can improve the work flow and organization within your production floor.

The new space and the new offerings have made our lives a little stressful (as moving often does) but the impact of the change and the production results just keep showing us that this was a well needed expansion and that we have more room to grow.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Innovation Center at Brother International


It has been a long time coming and the Brown staff is excited to see that their hard work has paid off.  Brother International opened a new training facility at their Bartlett, TN location and the BrownDigital product line took center stage.  

This new product line has been under wraps for 2 years.  A single operator loads a garment and these garments are pretreated and digitally printed and returned to the same operator.  One guy does it all.  Amazing.

Thank you to Brother International for the opportunity.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Getting creative during the supply chain crunch

For anyone who is chasing garments of every type and style, we understand your pain.  The supply chain issue is applicable to everything from ramen noodles in the grocery store to automobiles.  It is not just the finished products, but the raw materials and the sub-assembly items.

So what to do?

Get creative, that's what.  We have had conversations with customers who tell us that they have called 7 vendors to fill one order.  Or that they have converted brands to fill the order and told the customer that the original brand was unavailable.  Or they have had to start from scratch with the sale to find items that would fit both the customer and the supply chain issues.

Well folks, it isn't just shirts.  Anyone who needs a new car will know of the shortage of electronics that has stopped car production.  Or chat with someone in the foam industry and they are out of the base chemical to produce styrene box inserts.  Or try to find copper wire to install new power drops into a facility.  The list is long and diverse.

In our world, we struggle with it all.  Electronics to wire to small basic switches.  The largest eye opener is DC motors.  The screen printing industry, as a US whole, uses the same couple of motors on all conveyor ovens.  It has been this way for over 30 years, so all of the ovens in the field also use these motors.  Guess what.  They are not available.  So we have had to get creative.  We have sent customers to motor repair shops.  We have offered used motors at a drastic discount.  We have upsized motors and sent additional mounting brackets to make them fit.  We have found alternates that need new brackets but will work.  Anything to keep our customer's production running.

Just like you, we are going to great lengths to keep our customer's machines running.

Changes coming?

China, who is is one of the US largest trading partners, continues to shut down full sectors of their country.  While this continues the world will see additional shortages depending of what items are produced in those sectors.  

We want our customers to be aware that supply chain issues run deep but that the Brown team is working diligently to keep your shop operating at the top level.