This article details key industry terms and relevant Kornit X platform terms that are associated with the Advanced Cut and Sew DTF Workflow Solution for fashion garments.
ASSOCIATED INDUSTRY TERMS
Pattern / 2d Pattern
In sewing and fashion design, a ‘Pattern’ is the template from which the parts/pieces of a garment are traced onto fabric before being cut out and assembled.
Traditionally, Patterns are made of paper, and are sometimes made of sturdier materials like paperboard or cardboard if they need to be more robust to withstand repeated use.
Pattern Design software allows Digital Patterns to be created and stored on computers for easy editing / size grading within a single file. With the relevant equipment, Paper based Patterns can be scanned and amended within the software to create Digital versions.
With regards to the Kornit X platform, the pattern files contain crucial information that is required to allow the Blank products to be configured as ‘print and cut ready’.
The image below shows an example digital garment pattern comprised of 12 individual pieces.
Pattern Making Software
Pattern making software, often referred to as a Computer Aided Design (CAD) system, is used to create Digital patterns, as well as for marker making, and pattern grading. The software helps apparel manufacturers and brands to maximize cutting room productivity, accuracy, and to ensure best fit results over more traditional methods.
Digital Patterns can be saved in native file formats, or exported as .DXF to enable data interoperability between different CAD programs. Some software’s can also export the pattern information in .PDF format and/or .Ai format.
These software solutions also offer 3d previewing capabilities during the pattern making process. This provides a visual simulation for each change, allowing designers to get an understanding of what the final garment would look like.
It is possible for these 3d file to be exported and reformatted, and used to create interactive 3d products in the Kornit X platform.
There are many software providers available including:
- Gerber Accumark
Grading, or pattern grading, is the process of creating a range of sizes for a single apparel style. The purpose of grading is to properly fit a pattern to a range of sizes. Grading will not create shape, but will only increase or decrease size of original shape. In most scenarios, the scaling of the pieces is non uniform.
Garment manufacturers or designers implement pattern grading within their pattern making software. The image below shows a 12 piece garment, with grading information for sizes.
In the Kornit X platform, each grading option must be configured as a separate Blank Product, to conform the exact shape / size for accurate nesting, printing and cutting.
Notches, or Pattern notches are small marks made on the pattern to ensure that one pattern piece will match up to the pattern piece next to it once it has been cut. They can be used to show what the value of the seam allowance is, and can also be used as markers along a seam to make sure that the two pieces of fabric will come together correctly when sewn.
As notch information is required in the print / cutting solution, they should be included in any files exported from the pattern making software.
In the garment manufacturing industry, Nesting refers to the process of laying out patterns optimally for cutting to minimize the raw material waste. Many RIP software's provide automated nesting capabilities.
The below image shows optimally nested pieces from multiple garment orders. Each piece is rotated and positioned based on its actual shape to achieve the best possible fit (referred to as true shape nesting). This ensures that the fabric wastage is minimal.
In textile manufacturing, true shape nesting can sometimes produce undesirable results based on fabric directionality requirements. Some RIP software’s offer rotation rules to cater for this (eg a rotation lock), but this does means that media utilisation can be impacted as a result.
The image below shows a simpler type of manually defined ‘block nesting’, which groups pieces of the same garment together within a block of space. (Basic Cut & Sew Workflow).
RIP (Raster Image Processor) Software
A raster image processor (RIP) is a software that translates (rasterizes) computer vector files (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, PDF, JPG, etc.) to a raster image also known as bitmap that is composed out of a matrix of dots that the printer can understand and print.
In the DTF space, specifically regarding the Kornit Presto, CalderaRIP is provided and installed locally as the designated RIP software.
In manufacturing, a kitting process is when a collection of parts and materials are grouped together into a single ‘kit’ that has its own SKU number. In textile garment manufacturing, this is especially relevant when dealing with nested pieces that comprise multiple garments and orders.
Kornit X provide a dedicated Kitting Station as part of the Basic and Advanced Cut & Sew Workflows. Our integration with Caldera PrimeCenter provides an automated solution that adds barcodes / QR codes to nested pieces, that operators can scan to identify and kit the pieces accordingly.
Other types of solutions do exist, eg overhead optical projectors can be used to project identifiers onto the cut pieces, but this requires additional hardware.
Cutting is the process which cuts out the printed pattern pieces from specified fabric for making garments. Using the markers/cutline information from the original patterns, fabrics are cut to prepare garment assembly. The cutting process may also involve transferring marks and notches from the garment parts to assist operators in sewing.
Several cutting techniques exist, ranging from low to high-tech solutions eg scissors may be used when working with very small batches or sensitive fabrics. Computerized cutting systems are achieving more widespread use as technology costs decrease and labour costs rise.
Most modern-day solutions will utilise dedicated cutting machines to offer an automated cutting process better suited for high volume production.
Different cutting machines will require the cutting information in different formats to deliver an automated workflow solution – this information determines how the Blank products must be configured in the Kornit X platform.
Example cutter manufacturers are:
- Gerber - requires the cutline to be printed with the artwork, with a 2-3mm solid black outline.
- Zund - requires a layered vector file (PDF) with designated layers for the cutline shapes / notches etc
Cutline / Cutline File
A cutline contains information that can be read by the cutting machine to determine where the cuts must be made around the garment pieces. The format requirements of the cutline are dependent on the cutting machine being used, but the most used format on the market is a layered .PDF file.
Cutline information can be exported in .PDF format from the original garment makers digital Pattern, which can also include key production information such as markers and notches.
We recommend Vector PDF format as this facilitates simpler interplay between Kornit X’s artwork generation system, Nesting, specific Cutters, and RIP Software.
A separate Vector PDF cutline file will be required for each garment style, per size.
Registration Marks / Dots
In digital cutting, registration marks and dots are used to ensure alignment when cutting printed pieces. Registration marks / dots are added automatically to the print file by the RIP software.
ASSOCIATED KORNIT X PLATFORM TERMS
2D Blank Product
A 2D Blank Product is a ‘Print Ready’ base product created within the Catalog. Typically, 2d Blank products are represented using an image or photograph. In the context of DTF garments, it is represented as a line drawing that shows the garment pieces. The product is configured to generate artwork files that match the Fulfillers original Print Template (pattern pieces).
2D Blanks can be created by Fulfillers using the platform, or via KX paid services.
Cutline information can be uploaded against the product as Raster or Vector based on the requirements of the cutter / rip software being used.
Separate Blank products are required per garment, per size.
3D Blank Product
A 3D Blank Product is a ‘Print Ready’ base product configured within the Catalog. 3d Blank products are presented as an interactive 3d model, this is created via external specialist software packages. The product is configured to generate artwork files that match the Fulfillers original Print Template.
All 3D Blanks must be configured via KX Paid Services team.
Cutline information can be uploaded against the product as Raster or Vector based on the requirements of the cutter / rip software being used.
A Print Template is an artwork file / guide that is supplied by the Fulfiller of the item when utilising KX paid services to create products. In the context of DTF and garments, Print Template information already exists within the digital pattern files, which show the shape and size of each garment piece that is to be printed.
The Print Template shows exactly how output files must be generated by the Platform in order to be fulfilled without manual input or ink wastage. Therefore Blank products are configured within the Platform to match the Print Templates as closely as possible.
A Print Template is required for each garment style, per size.
Print Areas are configured against a Blank Product within the Catalog. The parameters specified within the Print Area determine the overall size, resolution and shape of the system generated output file when an order is places against the associated product.
Cutline information, and Print Masks can be uploaded against the Print Area to ensure that system generated files conform to the original Print Template and are print ready for the fulfiller to use.
A Print Mask is a PNG file that is manually created from the supplied Print Template of the fulfiller. Print Masks are uploaded against Print Areas to alter the shape of artwork files generated by the platform – this allows the print to conform to the shape of the garment pieces. In production terms, this minimises ink wastage.
The Print Mask is created using image editing software (eg Photoshop), and is added to the Blank products print configuration within the Catalog.
A Job Template allows inbound orders to be grouped together to improve production efficiency. Using KX, it is possible to group orders via SKU – this allows consolidation of all orders based on fabric type. This can be taken a step further to consolidate based on item / garment (if desired).
PrimeCenter is Caldera’s prepress automation solution, helping wide format digital printers to optimize job preparation for printing and cutting. It allows automation of repetitive prepress tasks and optimizes layouts to save time and reduce media usage via its advanced nesting capabilities.
Kornit X have an integration with PrimeCenter, connecting inbound orders to the automated nesting solution to ensure traceability of all garment pieces during production.
A Recipe is the set of rules / actions defined within PrimeCenter, which is then played and applied to the associated files. The recipe includes information such as the media width / length for nesting, qr code position and size, allowed rotation value.
Multiple recipes can be configured to allow different rules for different fabric types or different garments.
CalderaRIP is a Raster Image Processing software created by Caldera. It serves to translate incoming files into rasterized CMYK data which is then submitted to the printer.
Licenses to CalderaRIP are included with Presto purchases. This RIP can take and process multiple formats of artwork / cutline files, then split and feed the relevant information to both the printer and different cutting machines eg Gerber or Zund to provide an automated cutting solution.
Cut QR Code
A Cut QR Code is added by the local RIP software (CalderaRIP) and associates a physical print with a specific cutline file. The dedicated cutter is able to read the QR code and therefore load the relevant cutline file based on what has already been printed.
AMALGAMATION OF TERMS
Fashion Designers create digital, graded pattern files using CAD software eg Accumark / Optitex / Browzwear. The Pattern files contain crucial information that is required to achieve an automated print and cut workflow solution. This includes:
- Print Template – the shape of each garment piece which is to be printed
- Cutline information – the cut contour and associated notch information as required by the cutter
The information can be exported from the CAD software as .pdf format. A separate, formatted file is required per garment piece, per size. Once the PDF files are available, the 2d/3d Blank products are then configured in the Catalog for each garment size;
- A Print Area is created to match the supplied print template (2d Pattern)
- A Print Mask is created (via Photoshop) and uploaded to control the printed piece shape
- A cutline file (Pattern file in pdf format) is uploaded as artwork and passed through the relevant cutline information for production.
Inbound orders feed into the Sales module and generate artwork files per piece, that conform to the supplied print template and cutline specification.
A Production Center is configured in the Kornit X platform to designate a virtual production location / machine.
- Job Templates are created and tied to the Production Centre in the Kornit X Platform, and are used to consolidate / group orders based on Fabric Type (and Product Type) - these are referred to as Production Jobs.
- A Production Integration with Caldera PrimeCenter is enabled and automatically passes production jobs (and associated artwork pieces) to the relevant location.
PrimeCenter uses an xml recipe to nest the artwork pieces from multiple orders and add QR codes to each. Additional Recipes can be configured per fabric type, or per product type, to optimise the nesting configuration.
PrimeCenter passes the nested file to CalderaRIP, which processes it and;
- Adds registration marks / dots as required for printing alignment
- Sends the artwork to the Presto for printing
- Cutline is included in the artwork if Gerber/manual cutter is being used
- Adds Cutline QR code and sends the cutline artwork to the cutter if Zund cutter is being used
Once printed and cut, the job then progresses through the Kornit X Floor Stations;
- The printed QR code next to each piece is scanned via the Floor Kitting Station; the QR Codes are connected to the order to allow piece traceability. The operator will be asked to collect the pieces into Kitting bins.
- Once Kitting is complete, the Jobsheet is scanned to start sewing at the Sewing Station. Associated sewing instructions are displayed onscreen (based on files uploaded to the associated Blank product).
- Once Sewing is complete, the Jobsheet is scanned at the QC Station to start the QC process. Items are passed or failed in accordance with qc procedures.
- Once QC approved, the Jobsheet is scanned at the Shipping Station to generate the shipping label for dispatch. The item is packed with the label attached.