Gearing Up for 10,000+ Garments
How AMG utilized its Roland Hi-Fi Express FP-740s for Castelli riding apparel.
Italian firm Castelli is well-known for its cycling jerseys and other riding apparel. Last year, the company approached Apparel Manufacturing Group (AMG), the apparel printer and manufacturer based in Portland, Oregon, to image more than 10,000 garments. AMG has a reputation, notes company owner Devin Wright, as a "boutique manufacturer," is a certified Nike contractor, and is certified to print college and Olympic gear.
Castelli provided the logo and graphics for the cycling jerseys, jackets, vests, shirts, pants, and leg warmers. AMG’s in-house pattern maker and art department then re-fit the graphics onto the pattern and adjusted accordingly.
Using its two 74-inch Roland Hi-Fi Express FP-740s and dye-sub inks, the shop imaged 150,000 square feet of Beaver TexPrint XP Plus transfer paper. The two FP-740s produced up to 8250 square feet during a typical 12-hour workday.
At the same time, rolls of the Italian-made high-performance polyester knit were cut into the exact pattern pieces using AMG’s Eastman Eagle Digital Conveyor Cutting system. The printed transfer paper was loaded onto a 72-inch Practix OK-405 drum press and the pattern pieces were situated on the conveyor belt. The images were sublimated directly onto the pattern pieces, which were immediately ready to be sewn into the final garment.
Why employ dye-sublimation for this job instead of direct printing? "You can’t get high resolutions using direct-print," says Wright. "But the biggest reason to dye-sub is to maintain the integrity of the high-performance substrate. With sublimation, you don’t feel the ink, there is no impact on wicking or breathability of the fabric, and it maintains its good hand."
Founded in 1995 as a T-shirt screen printer, AMG is working on garments for the Olympic athletes, sublimating kite boards, and prototyping motorcycle helmet liners and swim suits. It currently employs 40 people and will move into a new 24,000-square-foot factory in October.
Beyond the garment printing/manufacturing production the shop tackles, AMG also uses its wide-format printers to image pop-up banners, giant inflatables, and soft signage for trade-show exhibits. While the majority of AMG’s business is in the apparel industry, Wright estimates that more than 50 percent of its dye-sub revenues will come from soft signage within 24 months. "AMG offers what few, if any, can accomplish in terms of dye-sub technical capabilities, knowledge, and equipment," says Wright. "The market demand for sublimated soft signage is great and current margins are very attractive."
APPAREL MANUFACTURING GROUP