10 August 2004
Gerber Technology Expands Advanced Technology Center in China
Gerber Technology announced the grand opening of its newly relocated and expanded Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Shanghai, China to take place on September 7, 2004, with government representatives from the United States and China officiating.
Gerber Technology has invested more than $2 million in the new 2,500-square-meter (27,000-square-foot) ATC located in the ultra-modern Caohejing Hi-Tech Park in Shanghai. In addition to the ATC, the Center will also accommodate Gerber's Engineering Technology Center and its Shanghai-based sales and service operations. The Advanced Technology Center houses Gerber's state-of-the-art automated spreading systems and cutting systems for multi-ply, single-ply and leather cutting, in a factory-simulated environment. It also showcases the company's complete line of plotters, computer-aided design and WebPDMT product lifecycle management systems. The facility serves as a center for product demonstration, software testing, system training, customer telephone support, local product development, engineering and strategic purchasing and includes a laboratory for research and development with some of the industry's most advanced equipment. Gerber's Advanced Technology Center was originally established in May, 2000, when it was the first of its kind in Asia.
"We are in the midst of one of the most profound transformations in the history of the apparel industry," said James Arthurs, President of Gerber Technology. "On January 1st 2005 when the World Trade Organization abolishes trade quotas, it will be the first time in over 40 years that the industry will be unfettered by quotas: it will cause a disruption of volcanic proportions and many countries and companies will be unprepared for it. Apparel manufacturers will be compelled to automate in order to survive. With our updated state-of-the-art Advanced Technology Center and established network of offices throughout the country, we can offer unmatched customer service and support to the China market."
Gerber's Asia-Pacific regional management headquarters is located in Hong Kong, SAR (Special Administrative Region), where it was established in 1980. Here the company serves regional and global manufacturers, sourcing firms, merchandisers, designers, brand owners and retailers headquartered in Hong Kong. It also services and manages Gerber's subsidiaries, agents and distributors in 16 additional countries in the region. Gerber has three offices in Taiwan, one in Macau and 19 others throughout mainland China. The company bases its regional operations headquarters in Shanghai.
"For the last three years China has been our second largest market after the U.S," he added. "The region is an important one, particularly for apparel, furniture and automotive manufacturers. More recently, we have begun serving aerospace companies. So, with a total of 24 locations, we can be where our customers need us. We expect to have approximately 200 personnel in China by the end of this year, an increase of over 50 percent in 12 months."
In 1999, Gerber Technology established Shanghai Gerber Technology Service, Inc. as a cooperative joint venture, its first subsidiary in China. With this move, Gerber customers were able to purchase service and parts in local currency for the first time. In 2002, the company converted to a WFOE (wholly-foreign-owned enterprise), expanded the business scope to include manufacturing and R&D, and later changed the company name to Gerber Scientific (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.
Steven Tang, Regional Vice President of Asia-Pacific, said, "Gerber Technology has grown up with China. For nearly 25 years we've worked side-by-side with hundreds and hundreds of manufacturers to help them become more productive and more profitable. Our customers know they can count on us to recommend the right solutions to suit their individual business model." In May, 2002 Gerber Technology launched its first product designed specifically for China: AccuMarkT Advanced Edition (AE). This Microsoft® Windows®-based software system has helped manually driven organizations throughout China automate pattern making, grading, marker-making and pre-cutting operations.
In May of 2004 the company again proved itself a pioneer in China as it took the leap to manufacture its first product there. Gerber Technology designed and engineered the InfinityT AE, a state-of-the-art inkjet plotter, at its world headquarters in Connecticut, U.S.A., and built it locally in China through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Gerber Scientific (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. "Our customers are pleased they no longer have to incur freight expenses, shipping costs, and import duties," said Arthurs. "We designed the Infinity AE specifically for our customers in China. We source many of the parts in country and assemble it locally, so our customers receive the best technology at the best price." Gerber plans to launch additional locally manufactured models for the Chinese market later this year.
Recently Gerber Technology was chosen as a partner in the "Size China" project being carried out by the Apparel Cyber Tech Center (ACTC) at the College of Textile & Garment of Guangzhou University. The ultimate goal of the "Size China" project is to manufacture better fitting garments. Body data is captured by 3D laser scanner and transformed into real-size Alvaform® models made by Alvanon of Hong Kong/USA. A team from Institut TPC Hong Kong/Paris is training the students participating in the project. They will use Gerber's AccuMarkT V8 software installed on 110 CAD workstations. The study is supported by the central government in Beijing which has declared the profession of fashion designers to be important for China's future economy.
To date, Gerber Technology has installed more than $140 million worth of systems in China. The company serves more than 1,500 customers operating over 5,000 systems and workstations in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau: more than any other company in this industry. The company also supplies the latest computer-aided design and manufacturing technology to more than 40 universities in China. "Providing the most advanced technology to educational institutions is our social responsibility," added Arthurs. "The industry leaders of tomorrow deserve to learn their craft using the best tools available."
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