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Knitting / Apparel

Beyond CAD

The CAD Expo <i>plus</i> Show this month offers a wide range of developments.

The CAD Expo Plus show will offer a wide range of developments in computer-aided design technology. Dont let the name fool you its not just for CAD anymore. The fact that CAD is an outdated term used to define a job that used to be accomplished as a segregated task is a commentary I will save for later.For those wishing to learn more about CAD (computer-aided design), information technology, business and design solutions, New York will be the venue for the upcoming CAD Expo plus and Yarn Fair, sponsored by the National Knitwear and Sportswear Association. The dates of the Expo are August 17-19.In addition to the trade fair, the event will be host to a day of educational seminars and presentations. The topics will include body scanning technology, color trends, digital color standards, an analysis of knitting machinery developments from ITMA 99, automated business solutions, breaking down the box of traditional interior textiles and the reality of digital printing, as presented by a panel of pioneers in this emerging and revolutionary technology. Software SolutionsThe software solutions to be presented are as diverse as the products that will be made with their use. Hot on the trail of ITMA 99, where many new innovations were first presented, the CAD Expo offers the first presentation to the U.S. market. Colour Matters International, New York, will offer its off-the-shelf apparel and textile Windows® 95/98 design package, Fashion Toolbox, for small companies, free-lancers and students, and its Windows® 95/98/NT version CM32 for medium- to large-sized companies. The software supports many aspects of design including storyboard creation, photo-realistic draping and print, knit and woven design.Colour Matters will also be showing Plaids and Stripes, a royalty-free clip art library of plaidandstripe designs in TIFF format as well as Body Builder, a style development application that allows designers to pick garment components and print or export the file to any graphics applications. DigiFab, Los Angeles; Foresight Design, Clifton, N.J.; and AhernandSoper, Ontario, will be presenting their solution to digital textile printing. With a combination of software, pre-treated fabrics and the Encad TX printer, these companies are offering a turnkey solution that will support sampling and small run production on a variety of fabrics. At the show they will demonstrate an updated software version and their new pre-treated fabrics for reactive dyes.Infomax, New York, is offering solutions for design, pre-production, production and communication. Infomax integrates both proprietary and off-the-shelf software, including hardware configuration, network installation and management and on-site technical support. The company will focus on the use of its Windows, Windows NT and Macintosh software and solutions in the network and via the Internet.Information Associates Inc., Portland, Oregon, is offering Apparel Associate® Business Software, a comprehensive business software solution for middle-market apparel companies. With integrated production, distribution, warehousing, foreign trade and financial modules, Apparel Associate automates and unifies the business processes.Apparel Associate is available as a high-performance Client/Server solution for Windows NT. In addition, it operates under all standard industry environments ranging from single-user PC/MS Windows 3.x, WIN95 and Windows NT to multi-user systems including Windows NT, Novell, SCO UNIX, XENIX, AIX and UNIX System V.Lectra Systems, Marietta, Ga., will offer a complete range of modular solutions for design and merchandising, product development and production needs. Among the nearly 20 software titles provided by Lectra, the textile and fashion design, visual merchandising and product information management products will be highlighted at CAD Expo. Lectra will showcase the latest version of U4ia (5.0), which contains several enhancements in workflow and functionality including new LAB color capabilities, paint brushes and natural media brush effects, yarn creation and editing tools, and rendering enhancements in wovens (See K/A News in this issue).Lectras 3D Visual Merchant enables designers and merchandisers to communicate brand and merchandising concepts internally and directly to the retail floor by creating space plans and planograms of actual merchandise and fixtures in realistic 3D.LectraOMS moves companies beyond the standard product data management tools to a new level of product development, order processing and supply-chain automation. It uses the Oracle8 database engine to consolidate all product information including text and graphics and makes it easily accessible to the entire business enterprise.Monarch Design Systems, Flushing, N.Y., is showing a broad range of CAD/CAM solutions for apparel and textile companies, from customizable systems and software to PhotoShop plug-ins and specialized classes. Solutions cover wovens, knits, textile prints, embroidery and product information management.The company will be showing several new products and upgrades including JustWin Apparel, JustWin Textile, and JustWin Workflow product information management and integrated workflow software. JustWin runs on virtually all computer platforms and operating systems, including AS400, Windows and Macintosh, as well as over the Internet and intranets. Additional offerings include Pointcarr. 6.0, knit design software featuring new repeat modes, text tools, color tools and file formats, Monarchive v. 4.0 image management software, enabled for the Internet, PlaidsandStripes v. 2.0 for Macintosh and Windows, now featuring 25 structures, and FashionFindings clip-art.Nedgraphics, New York, following the merger with Info Design earlier in the year, is unveiling a high-end print design, coloring and engraving system called Vision Layermaster. Design COM, also new, is a customized module that allows the user to archive, recolor and merchandise/sell all of the fabrics or garments in the system over the Internet or a network. It includes a complete database of information for each design, accessible through password protection, to other departments or customers. Network Systems International Inc., Greensboro, N.C., will present a CIM (computer-integrated manufacturing) suite of 14 products developed specifically for the textile, hosiery, home fashion and apparel industries. The system addresses resource planning, manufacturing and distribution requirements for each process level, from fiber to fabric to retail. The net collection runs on the IBM AS/400 platform, with individual users on windows-based PCs; bar-code scanners within the plant; or interfaces to CAD units in the New York sales and design offices.ScotWeave will present a complete range of Windows® 95/98/NT CAD/CAM software for the weaving industry, including solutions for dobby, jacquard and velvet fabric design and production.Stork Screens America Inc., Charlotte, N.C., will be offering several products and new features.The Stork Image 4000 CAD system will support a new texture mapping software package developed to link up with the design manipulation and coloring packages of the Image system.The Stork Amber, an entry level roll-to-roll jet printer, will have an attractive price/performance ratio and is suitable for the production of samples and short production runs with remarkably good color rendition. The Stork Zircon is another roll-to-roll jet printer specially developed for polyester substrates. The system uses eight basic colors to represent a large part of the complete color spectrum. Universal Knitting Machine, Brooklyn, N.Y., will present its latest equipment in computerized flat knitting machines for sweater and trim production. The newest model, the MC-328, is an economical 12-cut double-lock tandem machine that can be used as a double-lock or as a one-times-one configuration (two-times-single). Universal will also show its latest upgrade for knit pattern preparation and design software MA-8500, which operates under Windows 98. For more information about the Expo, contact NKSA at (212) 683-7520, or at www.yarnfair.com and www.cadexpo.com. Marketplace TrendsWhen asked if they were noticing any changes or trends in the marketplace as it relates to the utilization of CAD/CAM technology, vendors were fairly consistent in their response. More and more of their customers are striving to integrate design technology into the whole production and marketing workflow process. Not only do manufacturers want to create fabric and product designs with state-of-the-art tools, but they want information to be integrated with business and production systems that will support the company throughout the supply chain.Which leads me back to my commentary on how the industry is defining CAD. As it is currently used, CAD is used to define the design/illustration of products and storyboards (croquis sketches), textile design (including print, knit, lace and weave), yarn design, pattern making, grading and marker making, product specification databases (PDM) and the 3D rendering of product as well as in-store displays.In some software the CAD supports CAM, and in others it does not. As the term CAD stands, having been borrowed from the architecture and engineering trades, it is essentially nondescript for the apparel and textile trades. I have written a proposal to CItdA (the Computer Integrated Textile Design Association), suggesting that they develop an initiative in support of revising and updating the terminology used to reflect the expanded use of design and product development technology in the industry. My proposal included a list of suggested terms.If you would like to support this initiative to address the changing needs of the marketplace, send your comments and suggestions to info@citda.org or to me at tross@techexchange.com.

August 1999



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