Based in Cologne, Germany, Shirtee and X-Print provide screen printing, embroidery, and digital direct-to-garment (DTG) printing services, with all DTG decoration being performed via Kornit systems.
The brand has steadily increased its DTG capacity in recent years, with the original fleet of three Kornit Storm systems supplemented by four Avalanche HD6 systems, and most recently an Avalanche Poly Pro system; they were one of the first European operations to implement Kornit’s NeoPoly technology for polyester and poly-blend sportswear and athleisure apparel.
Having a growing fleet of Kornit systems made them a logical candidate to beta-test Kornit’s new Konnect platform for visibility into, and management of, daily print operations.
“We are a growing company, and the amount of machines was growing with the company, and now we have eight machines,” says Georg Stricker, Technical Director at Shirtee and X-Print. “So we need some kind of automatic tool to get data like the printing time, like loading time, like the down time.”
According to Mirco Lauterbach, the brand’s Application Manager, Konnect collects data on productivity, system uptime, and ink consumption, which informs a considerable portion of his role.
“Before Kornit Konnect, we needed to collect all of our data by hand, which means we were standing next to the machines, and we checked something like ink consumption, the system’s productivity, or how long it takes to load a shirt and so on,” says Lauterbach. “With Konnect, now I have all relevant information on one screen. I can check the ink consumption per size, per color; I can check the loading time—all relevant information is visualized on one screen.”
Lauterbach and Stricker were pleased to find Konnect capable of uncovering new, unsuspected opportunities, as well.
“The software allowed us to see how much ink we were using per shirt, and we were surprised to learn it was lower than we expected,” says Stricker. “That was critical, because we can now assess a more accurate range for our products, and price them accordingly.”
Kornit Konnect has made a demonstrable impact on their daily routines; where obtaining the data to keep their operation running smoothly and efficiently was once a considerable task, the data now finds them, reliably, on demand.
“First thing in the morning, I start my P.C. and check how the previous day’s shift went,” says Lauterbach. “I can see if one system consumes more ink than another, or if a system has a technical problem, which is helpful because we don’t learn it the hard way.”
“I must say the software is very easy to use,” adds Stricker. “All you need is in one dashboard, and you can drill down to get detailed information about the machines as needed. If we see one system is not performing well, we can shift production to the other machines. Konnect helps us to get the machines up and running, and to plan necessary service.”
For Shirtee and X-Print, the value of these insights was clear and immediate. For Lauterbach, whose role involves constantly tweaking production for efficiency and print quality, it means being able to assess the effectiveness of each tweak in real time.
“The software lets me do more things in less time,” he says. “Kornit Konnect gives you a deeper look into your production, and can save your time and resources.”