Byline: Jeanette Hye

NEW YORK — Vanity Fair Intimates plans to test an automated marker-making system in its marker and cutting rooms over the next few months. The company has been using the system in its product development area for a year, resulting in significant time savings in its product development cycle.
“The time factor has been the main reason that the system has been so successful for us,” said Kyle Sanford, product data management and pattern design systems administrator at VF Intimates, Alpharetta, Ga. The company is a division of Greensboro, N.C.-based Vanity Fair.
Sanford said using a system that automatically generates markers has freed product development staff to work on other styles while sample markers are being generated automatically by the software.
The marker-making software is from Nester Software Technologies, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, with U.S. offices in Waleska, Ga.
According to Sanford, the use of Nester’s 5.0 version of its software allows the product development department to conserve time during two key areas of its work processes.
When a marker is first being produced to determine how much fabric will be required for a particular style, product developers no longer have to enter the marking data into the computer themselves.
Once the marker is digitized, whether by hand or because it was created in a computer-aided design (CAD) program, the Nester software generates markers that save fabric, while increasing productivity.
Traditionally, markers are made by human operators who manually place fabric pieces by sight. Using this software’s geometric engine, fabric pieces are automatically clustered to achieve the highest possible material utilization, according to Nester. The system uses mathematical recognition of piece shapes and relationships to improve nesting efficiency.
The system takes into account fabric patterns and is integrated with most CAD systems so that data can be transferred directly from the design stage to the marker-making system.
Sanford said that the process of creating standard patterns (those that will be the guide for the mass production of each style) has also benefited from the technology.
“Once the cost has been accepted and the designer has signed off on the patterns, we can proceed with the process,” said Sanford. “The system generates standard markers and produces a style/cost analysis, lines sheets and specs and allowances.”
VF Intimate’s marker and cutting rooms, located in Alabama and Texas, will begin testing the software this fall. VF’s Wrangler division is also using the software.