A conversation with KIWO´s technical sales manager Tomas Lorenc who reflects on a successful 3 year KIWO/Kornit relationship and identifies the key drivers of digital production.
Textile Image: You are nearly 3 years in your role as technical sales manager at KIWO and this coincides with the beginning of the KIWO/Kornit relationship too. This was a new direction for KIWO so how did your role fit into this transition?
Tomas Lorenc: Yes you are right, KIWO is still only at the beginning of its digital journey and those last three years with Kornit showed us that digital will definitely be big part of KIWOs future. I would like to think that the part which I have contributed helped KIWO\Kornit to be where we are at this stage, however it’s the digital team which deserves the main credit for the state of current Kornit customer base, as without Martin Vodstrcil and Chris O’Brien who are providing service support to all Kornit customers week in week out, Katie Hao our great internal digital coordinator and managing director Martin Stacher who showed some great courage when he had decided to take on the Kornit agency at uneasy times, the Kornit success we are experiencing wouldn’t be possible.
Textile Image: What were some of the initial hurdles with Kornit in the beginning and how did you overcome them? How has your role influenced this partnership with Kornit and customers view of the technology and support?
Tomas Lorenc: It’s not a secret that we have inherited a customer base, which wasn’t in the great shape. After I had gone through the first ound of visits around the country we could identify the main reasons for it, which were lack of service and application support provided by the previous distributor, as well as the fact that some of the Kornit users simply weren’t the right customers for this technology, as their business focus was rather signage and a few t-shirts here and there, which wasn’t enough to keep the machines running and led to all sorts of service issues. We also soon recognised that our focus can’t be spread between several different digital products which we initially planned, but purely on Kornit to get the product back on track as fast as possible. So with the help of Kornit AP we have solved all the outstanding service issues one by one and started from scratch. Soon after that, a dedicated Kornit service team was created with strong focus on Kornit application and service knowledge, once we had the expertise on needed level we have spread the knowledge through our customer base and kept providing a service Kornit customers deserve. With that part in place, we have naturally sold some more high production Kornit units and the fact that the customer who expressed the biggest frustration during the transition from one distributor to another is now the biggest DTG printer in Australia says it all.
Textile Image: Textile printing technology has gone through and still is experiencing significant developments with regard to digital platforms. Describe some of the main factors influencing this change.
Tomas Lorenc: In short, I believe it’s due to fast moving world we are living in nowadays and its demands. Especially young people want to express their personality through things they wear and differentiate themselves. Online tools and technologies like Kornit allows them to do that relatively cheap and in fast turnaround. This of course urges the textile printing industry to look outside its traditional way of thinking to satisfy growing demand for mass customisation and those who are able to adjust have advantage over the others, as the technology is already available and it will only get better. This of course doesn’t apply on t-shirts only, but yardage fabric printing too.
Textile Image: Can you speak about the specifics of Kornit/KIWO digital textile printing platforms/servicing and how this is developing/changing per industry needs?
Tomas Lorenc: In my eyes the biggest Kornit specific when it comes to servicing is the application side of it. Our service engineers would perhaps confirm, that the mechanical side of it is straight forward, but people have to understand that there are many variables which can go wrong during the DTG process and each garment requires specific pre-treatment and print settings in order to achieve good final esult. This means that you have to be familiar with a variety of possible outcomes when using different garments, job types and print files to be able to support Kornit customer base. For example the pre-treatment and drying process is completely different when printing on polyester, than you would use on cotton t-shirts and online printers with a variety of different types of garments dealing with different challenges, than screen printers who use Kornit technology to print “short” runs of the same design to one type of garment. Those things you only learn by experience.
Textile Image: Web2print solutions seem to be a growing requirement for many digital garment printing businesses. Can you explain how this works and how Kornit technology fits into this from a production point of view?
Tomas Lorenc: Creating customised products with different designs is simple when using the variety of web2print solutions available, which play a key role in strengthening printing business these days and Kornit is no exception. In fact, most of Kornit users fully embraced the web2print solution, as it gives them a unique opportunity to reach out to a variety of different customers who are creating their own designs and thanks to Kornit technology they are able to order “one offs” or short runs of t-shirts, that wouldn’t be possible using the screen printing process. Kornit is a proven technology, which in combination with the right web2print solution basically enables printers to satisfy a growing demand for mass garment customisation. The largest Kornit users have their web2print software fully integrated with their production workflow using a bacoding system, which contains all necessary information like print file, position and customer details needed to carry the item through the whole printing process chain without delays. This way the Kornit operators basically only scan bar code stickers, the print file will load into the job queue with correct position, get printed and dispatched.
Textile Image: An increasing amount of garments are being digitally printed nowadays and digital technology can offer easier production of more complex designs and graphics. What are the latest developments from Kornit regarding its technology for different applications?
Tomas Lorenc: When it comes to stand alone direct to garment printers, Kornit has refined the successful platform in its latest technology and added interesting features like re-circulation print heads for better ink efficiency and print speed, in Hexversion red and green colours serve to increase the achievable colour gamut and inbuilt humidity fie to help with crucial print climate control. Kornit also successfully released revolutionary roll to roll fabric printer Kornit Allegro, which is the first technology on the market that eliminates the need for external processes and enables customers to achieve the best results from PFP to finished printed fabric in just minutes, featuring POF (pre-treatment on fly) re-circulation heads and 7 colours this product again allows its users to take their production online and print on demand, without any need for pre or post-treatment process.
Textile Image: What does success for you look like in the near future regarding delivering digital garment solutions in Australia?
Tomas Lorenc: For many the word success means something different and its meaning changes as you go through the life. We would definitely like to maintain and even improve the sales and service levels our customers are used to, therefore we have recently employed another service engineer and sales manager in Sydney to strengthen our team. We will continue to work on our long term goal to be the one stop shop for garment printers, as we can offer DTG solution from entry level to mass production backed by our product expertise, as well as look into other areas such as the dye sublimation market, where we will offer Mutoh printers on Marabu high density inks. Future definitely looks bright for KIWO.
Textile Image Magazine