NEW YORK--The National Knitted Sportswear Association plans to give computer-aided design more attention when this year's Yarn Fair International/CAD Expo opens at the Sheraton New York hotel this month. The vendor roster is up significantly and the CAD Expo will be housed in a prominent area of the main exhibition floor.
"We've redesigned the CAD area as a self-contained show," said NKSA spokesman Eric Hertz. "It used to be a pass-through on the Yarn Fair show floor."
Hertz said NKSA actively recruited regional and second-tier vendors to broaden the offerings at this year's expo, which will run Aug. 16-18.
"We had 20 CAD vendors showing last year. This year we'll have close to 35. We still have the primary vendors, but we've added secondary vendors and vendors from the Southeast and West Coast that textile designers in this part of the country may be unfamiliar with. Many of the new vendors also offer specialized applications like graphic presentation systems. The whole area of presentations is becoming much more important."
The CAD Expo is intended to give designers a chance to experiment with actual systems. Hertz said that emphasis allows potential users to make better decisions when it comes time to choose a system.
"You could not go out and try 35 different systems on your own, but if you're committed to it, you can spend a couple of days here and gain some working knowledge of them all. A designer could make an educated decision when he leaves here."
Trying out a lot of systems is especially important because the systems cost anywhere from "$15,000 to well over $100,000," according to Hertz.
Boston-based CAD consultant Alison Grudier, who helped the NKSA plan the CAD Expo, said the New York venue makes it simpler for local designers to introduce those who hold the purse strings at their companies.
"More senior people come to this show because it's in New York," she said. "They can bring the CFO with them to see the systems."
Grudier said this year's show is especially interesting to CAD users because the vendors are finally responding to market demands for lower-priced systems and user-friendly menus.
"There will be more small, inexpensive systems this year," she said. "This is what the market is demanding, and the vendors are finally catching up. Even the bigger vendors are making less-expensive versions of their systems."
Ease of use was the other major distinction Grudier said users could look for in this year's crop of systems.
"The vendors have revised their screen layouts," she said. "The most-used options will be right there on the screen, while the ones that are used less often have been put into sub-menus."
Seminars round out the educational offering at the show. Grudier will give the more basic seminar, called "The CAD Starter Kit." The advanced seminar, called "The CAD Roundtable," will be moderated by Grudier. Prominent users will discuss actual problems that arise in the workplace. Panelists include Holly Henderson, a designer at Federated Department Stores; Richard Malachowski, director of research and engineering at Cranston Print Works; and Katy Chapman, CAD system supervisor for the Springmaid/
Performance division of Springs Industries.

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