Machine: Schulze PretreatMaker Line

Jürgen Gauger

Chief operating officer

Tell us a bit about your business
Spreadshirt is the self-expression e-commerce company. It empowers people worldwide to express themselves, through creating, discovering and selling clothing and accessories with messages they want the world to hear. Spreadshirt’s three approaches – create your own, marketplace and shops – provide limitless opportunity for on-person self-expression.

Founded in 2002, Spreadshirt is available in 12 languages, operates five production sites (Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and two in the USA) and ships to over 160 countries. In 2017, it hit global revenue of €107m (£93.9m), printed more than 4.8 million items, and had over 80,000 selling partners. The Spreadshirt family also includes TeamShirts, a site specialising in group orders.

When and why did Spreadshirt buy the PretreatMaker Line?
In October 2017, Spreadshirt invested €1.2m in new Brother GTX digital direct printing machines. The addition of the 45 digital direct machines and their superior technology puts Spreadshirt in a good position to manage future growth, accelerate production and speed up delivery to customers. Improving our market share in the global e-commerce market is a direct result fast turnaround of customer orders and rapid delivery of high quality products.

By purchasing the GTX printers, Spreadshirt can better meet high customer demand. In the long term, Spreadshirt plans to increase the digital direct printing share to include all products that can be printed that way.

For the pretreatment of direct-to-garment printing using the GTX technology, we use the PretreatMaker Line besides other pretreatment solutions.

What other pretreatment systems did you look at or do you already use?
Spreadshirt uses high quality printers from Kornit and Brother so we use different pretreatment machines – ranging from integrated pretreatment solutions to automated machines.

What are the main advantages of the PretreatMaker Line?
The PretreatMaker Line offers the full process of preparing garments for digital direct printing. It offers high performance while only needing one operator. Every 15 seconds a T-shirt is pretreated and ready to be printed. This helps Spreadshirt to speed up orders to arrive at the customer faster. Rapid delivery of high quality products makes customers happy, which sets us up for future growth.

Is there anything you’d like to see in an upgrade or don‘t particularly like about it?
In the beginning we had some difficulties with the integration of the new machines with our existing backend. However, we improved the communication between our system and the machines, so that everything now works smoothly.

What garments do you pretreat with it?
T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies.

What would be your advice to others thinking of buying a system like this?
Spreadshirt has been using the PretreatMaker Line for months now in two European production facilities. If it works for us, it could be a good solution for other companies as well.

It offers high performance while only needing one operator. Every 15 seconds a T-shirt is pretreated and ready to be printed