DTF Workflow 2 - ADVANCED Cut & Sew Micro-factory

DTF Workflow 2 - ADVANCED Cut & Sew Micro-factory

WORKFLOW OVERVIEW

This article details the DTF Microfactory Workflow solution for 'ADVANCED Cut and Sew' textile products made from a single fabric type. This workflow is best suited for complex textile products that are constructed of multiple pieces and require an automated nesting solution to optimise fabric utilisation eg. Fashion Garments.

The Workflow is Jobsheet & QR Code driven – the Jobsheet should follow the order on the floor and is used to progress through the optional Scan Points via the associated barcode. The Floor Workflow is flexible and offers several optional stations including Kitting, Sewing, Branding, and QA.

This workflow document is written based on utilisation of Kornit hardware (Presto) and associated software (eg CalderaRIP) and assumes some familiarity with both the KornitX Platform and Product Creation process.
Important Note: The automated nesting solution requires a licence of Caldera PrimeCenter to be installed and configured locally. For any support queries, please contact your local Kornit Applications Engineer for assistance.
CUTTERS: Use of both manual and automated cutters is supported in the workflow, but the type of cutter can impact product configuration and the artwork generation / nesting requirements;
  1. Zund Cutters require Vector Artwork with specific cutline layer information in PDF Format - Fulfillers are expected to have this information in a format that is suitable for automated cutting (appropriately layered with notches).
  2. Gerber Cutters require Artwork with a printed cutline, at least 2mm thickness (solid black).

PREREQUISITES

  1. Fulfillers should have CalderaRIP and Caldera PrimeCenter installed and configured locally, with relevant settings for desired / optimal nesting behaviour across all available fabric types.
  2. In the KornitX Platform, the PrimeCenter production integration should be configured as per the following document: Production Integration: PrimeCenter >>
Additional local configuration is required to mount S3 as a network drive via rClone. This is necessary to pass the files from the KornitX Platform to PrimeCenters input folders.

FLOOR WORKFLOW DIAGRAM

The floor workflow is driven by KornitX's Production Integration with Caldera PrimeCenter. 

FLOOR EXAMPLE - STEP BY STEP

Step 1 - Orders into Sales Module
Retailers feed orders into the Kornit X Platform.

Step 2 - Production Routing
Orders are consolidated for efficient production based on machine / fabric / product rules.

By default, Jobs will show as Pending Production.  Each listed job has an associated description (this is configurable, and it is recommended that the fabric type is used to aid the operator selection). 
PLEASE NOTE – IT MAY TAKE SEVERAL MINUTES FOR THE PRODUCTION JOB TO GENERATE AND APPEAR IN THE LIST 

Go to Production > Jobs to see a list of Jobs that are Pending Production 




Step 3 - Send to Production
Jobs that are Pending Production are ready to be progressed. The Production Integration with PrimeCenter can be configured to work in 2 ways;

A) Run automatically (recommended) -  progresses the job status from 'Pending Production' to ‘In Production’ automatically, without requiring any Operator action. 
PLEASE NOTE – IT MAY TAKE SEVERAL MINUTES FOR THE PRODUCTION JOB TO GENERATE AND PROGRESS TO 'IN PRODUCTION'

OR

B) On Demand - requires operator input to manually select jobs and change the status to 'Send to Production'  
Select the Job(s) again and click ‘Send to Production’ - this action triggers the PrimeCenter integration (in future, this process will be automated so that the job status automatically changes to trigger the PrimeCenter integration). 



In the search options, change the Status filter to search for jobs that are now In Production.   


Select the Jobs that you wish to progress, and use the dropdown menu to Download Jobsheets 



This will download the Jobsheet which should be printed for order traceability/ Floor scan points: 




Step 4 -PrimeCenter (External)
PrimeCenter must be installed and configured locally with a recipe per media type - this is a fixed requirement of the workflow solution.
 All Recipes must be pre-configured within PrimeCenter to add QR codes, and nest pieces in accordance with fabric directionality constraints. PrimeCenter pulls in the generated artwork and XML and processes according to the 'Recipe' rules. 
 
Within PrimeCenter, the Recipe is then started via the Play Recipe button - this is an operator action. Associated orders / artwork pieces from the file list will be processed; a QR Code will be added to each piece and all pieces will be nested together based on the configuration of the recipe. 

The screenshot below shows an example of 3 separate multi-piece garment products / orders, with the associated artwork per piece, which has then been nested together onto the larger piece of media, each with individual QR codes.



Step 5 - Caldera & Cutter (External)
CalderaRIP is installed and configured locally.
The nested file is passed from PrimeCenter to CalderaRIP, which is then used to process the file and pass to the Presto. Depending on the product requirements and associated cutters, CalderaRIP then:
  1. Adds registration marks / dots for print alignment
  2. Separates artwork vs cutline information (IF using Zund cutters)
  3. Add cut QR codes for automated cutting (IF using Zund cutters)
The item is then Printed and Cut.


Step 6 - FLOOR - Kitting Station

Go to Floor v3 Kitting Station. 

Scan a piece QR code to start piece collection and display the number of remaining printed pieces associated with the order. 

All newly scanned pieces will inform the operator to ‘Store’ the piece, and any subsequent pieces into a Bin / collection tray eg 001

Kitting Bins must be configured to offer a location for pieces to be collected into. 
 


Continue to Scan until all pieces are collected for all orders. 


Step 7 - Sewing Station (Optional)

Go to Floor v3 Sewing Station and scan to display / print the associated Sewing Instructions.

Sewing Instructions must be uploaded against the Blank Product via Basic Details > Assets > Sewing Instructions

Step 8 - Branding Station (Optional)


Step 9 - QC Station

Go to Floor v3 QC Station and scan to Start QC 




Click to Pass / Fail QC 

Step 10 - Dispatch / Packing Station

Go to Floor v3 Packing Station and scan to generate shipping label and dispatch

 


CONFIGURATION OVERVIEW

Catalog Products

Live Preview Products (Blanks / Virtuals) must be configured in Catalog based on the Fulfillers Print Specification.
2d / 3d Blanks products are supported in this workflow, although generally some DTF product types are better suited to one space over the other to offer the best ‘live preview’ experience to end customers; 

 

  • 2d is generally best suited to 1–2 piece textile products, eg Facemasks, vests etc. 2d DTF Blanks can be created by Fulfillers OR via Kornit X Paid Product Creation Services. 

  • 3d is better suited to multi-piece items with complex shaped such as clothing / furniture. 3d DTF Blanks can only be created via Kornit X Paid Product Creation Services

Note: Customers using CAD software (to create digital garment patterns) are encouraged to supply 3D OBJ files of the garments if available - this will speed up the Blank configuration process and equate to most accurate visual results. If 3d files are not available then reference imagery of the physical garment is required from multiple angles.

Preview Specification 

It is recommended that any 2d Blanks should be visually represented as a graphic based line drawing. Whilst it can look quite abstract, it is the only way to ensure high level of accuracy in relation to the final printed file.


3d Blanks will be represented as an interactive 3d model.

All Blank DTF products must be created based on the Fulfillers own Print Specification / cutline information - this information can be extracted from the CAD software that is used to create the garment Patterns (eg Accumark / Optitex / Lectra).


If clothing items with multiple sizes are required, then a Blank Product per garment, per size must be created in the Catalog, based on the specific print requirements of individual piece sizes.

If using Kornit X Product Creation Services, print information must be supplied (via PDF) to allow scheduling, and is considered critical to achieve desirable artwork generation and workflow results; we need this information to understand the required shape, orientation, bleed, and cutline information of each component piece to deliver it in the final print file. 

Note: It is possible to export PDF files for associated garment pieces from pattern making software such as Accumark (via per piece PDF Export) and Optitex (export all graded pieces to Illustrator in Ai format - then batch export all pieces as PDF). 
  

Fulfillers are required to supply a formatted PDF (v1.4) file per garment piece (per size), containing the following;
  1. Piece Boundary - This is the cutline / piece outline shape. The layer should be consistently named across all supplied files (if Trueshape nesting is desired)
    1. Inconsistently named layers / files can be used but will not permit Trueshape nesting - only rectangle nesting.
  2. Notches (if applicable)
  3. lnternal lines, cutouts, drill holes (if applicable)


The following layer / information should be REMOVED from the files BEFORE being supplied - failure to do so can lead problems with Blank configuration, errors when printing / cutting, and lack of automation.
  1. Annotation text
  2. Turn/Curve Points
  3. Grading, mirror, sewing, grain or any reference lines


HOW SUPPLIED PDF FILES AFFECT NESTING & FABRIC UTILIZATION

PrimeCenter supports Rectangle nesting and TrueShape nesting:
  1. Trueshape Nesting positions pieces optimally based on exact shape. To use TrueShape nesting, supplied Vector PDF Cutline files should be consistently formatted, with a shared naming convention used for the cut layer specifically; PrimeCenter can then be configured to detect the consistently labelled cutline layer to associate it as a ‘cut contour’. PrimeCenter then uses this to determine the exact piece shape, allowing closer proximity of pieces during the nesting process to maximise fabric utilisation. 
  1. Rectangle Nesting is PrimeCenters default nesting solution. If consistent formatting of files is not possible, then PrimeCenter is unable to determine the actual piece shape and therefore nests all pieces using a rectangular boundary. 

At product level within the Platform, the product is configured to accurately match each supplied PDF file so that generated artwork files can feed into PrimeCenter to be processed and nested: 

  1. Each piece is defined as an individual Print Area, eg. for a Tee, there would be 5 Print Areas for Front / Back / Left Sleeve / Right Sleeve / Collar. 
  2. Each Print Area requires a Print Mask to control the printed artwork shape and reduce ink wastage. 
  3. The supplied PDF cutline / notches and piece information is added Print Areas on the Blank product as vector cutline artwork. This information is retained and included in the final generated artwork files to allow nesting / automated cutting.

 

Functionality 

Standard customisation functionality is available for both 2d and 3d products. This includes: 
  • Colour Areas (Per item piece or sync across all pieces) 
  • Image Upload or Gallery designs (Per item piece or sync across all pieces) 
  • Text Input (Per piece or sync across all pieces) 

For garments or multi-piece products, Size choice is generally offered via Smartlink Configuration; Product Selector - each size must be configured as a separate Blank Product. 


Attributes (For Kitting)

To utilise the Kitting Station (as recommended for multi-piece items) - the Blank product must have an internal Attribute called 'KittingPieces' with the appropriate Value:



Assets (For Sewing Instructions)

To utilise the Sewing Station the Blank product must have a relevant file uploaded to Product Details > Assets > Sewing Instructions. Uploaded files are connected to and displayed at the Sewing Station scan point. 



Production 

Orders can be grouped / consolidated via Job Templates based on Machine / Fabric Type / Product type.
Kitting Bins are required to offer a mechanism for scanned pieces to be collected and grouped in a physical location.


FAQS

What is the difference between 2D and 3D Cut and Sew products?
  1. 2D Products are previewed via a flat image, such as a photograph or line drawing.
  1. 2D Products are generally faster to create, and can be created by Platform Fulfillers.
  1. Multi-piece items (clothing) must be represented as a line drawing in 2D, which can look quite abstract and therefore not always considered desirable for front end / consumer solutions.
    1. Click here to see an example 2D Cushion >>
    2. Click here to see an example clothing item in 2D >>

  1. 3D Products are previewed via an interactive 3D model that the user can rotate and see at different angles.
  1. 3D Products are more complex, take longer to create and can only be created by Kornit X paid product creation services.
    1. Click here to see an example 3D Face Mask >>




How do I use CAD software such as Accumark, Optitex, Lectra etc?
Please contact your software provider directly. 


What format is required for Zund Cutters?
Zund Cutters require a layered file, with vector paths for the cutline and notches only - any additional elements are considered surplus and could impact the cutters ability to read the file or result in errors. To coincide with PrimeCenters TrueShape nesting capabilities, and the KornitX wofkflow solution, we advise that all supplied files should be formatted consistently, as a PDF (v1.4) with appropriate layer naming convention.


What format is required for Gerber Cutters?
Gerber Cutters require a printed outline around the piece shape. This means the PDF file should contain a raster cutline layer for printing/cutting purposes. To coincide with PrimeCenters TrueShape nesting capabilities, and the KornitX wofkflow solution, we advise that all supplied files should be formatted consistently, as a PDF (v1.4) with appropriate layer naming convention.


Why is it necessary to configure separate Blank products per garment size?
As a Cut and Sew item, every individual printed piece will have a unique size / shape / cutline requirement, per garment size. It is these specific print related requirements that currently forces a separate Blank 'product' per garment size. It is worth considering this in relation to the original Blank configuration effort, as a garment available in 5 sizes would require 5 separate 2D or 3D Blanks as opposed to 1.

If we extrapolate to 5 garments all in 5 sizes, that equates to 25 Blank Products that must be configured individually.


Why is it necessary to create a separate Print Area per piece?
PrimeCenter requires all pieces to be separate in order to be able to perform TrueShape and Rectangle nesting functions. This is subject to change.


How do I set up a Consolidation Job Template?


How is the PrimeCenter Integration configured in the KornitX Platform?


How are Recipes configured in PrimeCenter?
Please contact your local Kornit Applications Engineer or software provider for more information.


How do I add number of pieces to the Blank Product, to appear at the FLOOR Kitting Station? 

The Kitting Station automatically passes through a piece value based on the number of Print Areas defined against the Blank product.

 

How do I add 'Kitting Bins' for the pieces to be collected into?


How do I add Sewing Instructions to the Blank Product, to appear at the FLOOR Sewing Station? 



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