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Designtex divides and conquers

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Because printers require certain levels of humidity and cleanliness, print shops tend to group them together and sequester them in a separate room. But at Designtex, Portland, Maine, the particulars of workflow and media storage meant that it made more sense to split the printers into two groups.

In one area of the 26,000-square-foot shop, roll-to-roll printers for fabric and latex feed out through an opening into the warehouse where finishing takes place. As the printed materials emerge, they can be transferred directly to the finishing tables where cutting, sewing, and laminating take place.

The flatbed printers, however, are on the far side of this finishing area, near the saws, because that’s where their stock is stored.

“We have cantilevered racks up against the walls so we can stack pallets up on top of each other without them touching,” says vice president of operations Paul Glynn. “And then at 90 degrees to them is the side wall where all the stock is shelved, either standing vertically like boxes of Gator[board] or foam, or lying flat like the Sintras and plexis. Sheet goods are a little floppy, so if you stand them up, they tend to get warped.”

Designtex made the choice to place its flatbed printers at this end of the shop so that they could be closest to the big pieces of uncut media. “So rather than cart all these sheets across the shop to the printer,” says Glynn, “the printer is over by the sheets.”

Jamie Swedberg is a regular contributor to Fabric Graphics.

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