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Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Gary Buermann, MFC, president of G & J Awning and Canvas

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What’s the most recent piece of equipment you’ve bought, and how is it working out?

At Expo 2011 I bought my first computerized sewing machine. The more I use it the more addicted to it I get—it does so much automatically, like back tacking and maintaining the needle position. You have to sit down and play with it, though, to get comfortable with it. My RF welder is older and it interferes with the sewing machine; I can’t run them at the same time. But it’s time for me to invest in a new RF welder anyway, and it shouldn’t be a problem with the new one.

What are some unexpected ways your company has benefited from equipment you’ve purchased?

In Minnesota, with the summer humidity being what it is, you could never guarantee when a job would be finished. Sometimes paint would dry in four or five hours; other times it would take two to three days. With the Sunbrella® Graphics System (SGS) I know how long it’s going to take to complete a job.

My cutting table has helped me hold onto the experience of my long-time employees who are looking to retire. I can take their knowledge about cutting and program it into the computer, so their skill is not entirely lost when they retire.

Sigrid Tornquist is a freelance author and editor based in St. Paul, Minn. She is also the associate editor of InTents magazine, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

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