Sewn Products: Hurdles & Opportunities

The room engaged in thoughtful discussion about issues facing the sewn products industry.

SPESA’s 9th Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference attracted 90 industry leaders in Raleigh, N.C.

TW Special Report

The Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas (SPESA) recently collocated its 9th Advancements in Manufacturing Technologies Conference with Techtextil North America held at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, N.C. More than 90 registered attendees came together to discuss issues facing the sewn products industry. The conference focused on the current and future state of innovations in the sewn products industry related to microfactories, on-demand manufacturing, software connectivity and automation.

The day’s agenda was broken into three panel discussions. During each session, the featured panelists were given a few minutes to introduce themselves and their companies to attendees. Then, attendees were encouraged to ask questions to stimulate thoughtful discussion among everyone in attendance with the panel members contributing their own personal stories and expertise.

The three topics covered, and featured panel members for each discussion, were:

Microfactories & On-Demand Manufacturing

  • Yoram Burg, president, EFI Optitex;
  • Leonard Marano, vice president, Gerber Technology; and
  • Michael Rabin, president, Morgan Tecnica America.

The Internet of Sewn Products & Industry 4.0

  • Mariano Amezcua, president, DAP America;
  • Roberto Mangual, CEO, Exenta;
  • Toni Lublin, communications and partnership manager, Lectra North America; and
  • Kirby Best, president and chairman, PAAT International.

Advancing Automation

  • Rick Frye, director of engineering, Brother International;
  • Dr. Mike Fralix, president and CEO, [TC]2; and
  • Frank Henderson, CEO, Henderson Sewing Machine Co.

Dr. Fralix also served as moderator for each panel discussion.

Regardless of the topic of each panel discussion, one issue — workforce development and training — was the clear issue of concern for conference attendees. Demand from the industry for skilled operators, engineers and mechanics is clear, and SPESA understands it has an opportunity to play a role in building the next generation’s workforce.

Michael McDonald, SPESA president opened the event.
Michael McDonald, SPESA president opened the event.

“It was very exciting to see the energy in the room and watch as conversations evolved into constructive dialogue,” said Michael McDonald, SPESA president. “This was more than a professional development event. This was an opportunity to provide both speakers and attendees a platform to share and discuss insights about the changes impacting their day-to-day as it relates to technological advancements in manufacturing. Moving the industry ahead starts by understanding both the hurdles we face and the opportunities on the horizon.”

SPESA’s next event is its 2019 SPESA Executive Conference to be held in New Orleans October 29-30, 2019.

March/April 2019