If you’ve ever owned a boat, snowmobile or ATV, you’ve likely used a cover produced by Outer Armor by Commercial Sewing. The family-owned business began as a powersport company over 53 years ago. Today, the U.S.-based company has successfully expanded their business into the marine market and boasts a long list of high-profile clients, including Nautique, MasterCraft, Yamaha, Polaris, Malibu, Honda, and Kawasaki.
According to Commercial Sewing’s Operations Partner, Stephen Mazzarelli, technology and automation played an important role in the company’s evolution. For over 25 years, Commercial Sewing has partnered with Gerber Technology to ensure they have the most innovative technology solutions to take their business to the next level.
A partner for the future.
Commercial Sewing’s relationship with Gerber began when the company purchased its first multi-ply GERBERcutter®. Since then, the company has added several automated spreading solutions and both single-ply and multi-ply cutters, as well as Gerber’s pattern design, grading, planning and marker making software, AccuMark®. Over the years, the Connecticut-based company has also acted as a BETA tester for several of Gerber’s cutting solutions, which further strengthened the partnership.
Most recently they beta-tested and upgraded to the new Gerber Atria™ Digital Cutter. With the upgrade, Commercial Sewing saw an increase in material handling which has helped them meet the increased demand they are seeing. With Gerber’s solutions, Commercial Sewing is able to operate a completely automated single-ply and multi-ply workflow.
Since transitioning from a manual to a fully-automated process, Commercial Sewing has seen a significant increase in throughput, material utilization and productivity. Today, the company is able to completely connect their supply chain from CAD to the cut room using Gerber’s integrated solutions.
Commercial Sewing is able to easily move seams in AccuMark to ensure they get the perfect nest. The company is then able to quickly send all information directly to the cut room via cut tickets to ensure accurate data transfer for maximum precision. By leveraging Gerber’s end-to-end solution, Commercial Sewing achieves 85-90% material utilization, is able to cut up to 50 plies of difficult material and can produce 70-120 covers per day without the need to hire more labor as production grows.
“I was always a big Gerber fan. They’re local but able to provide global support at any of our four facilities. We have a great partnership with them,” said Mazzarelli. “The Gerber employees treat us very well and we help them with development by testing their products. Our relationship is mutually beneficial and I hope that continues.”
Gerber’s customer support as well as their certified parts and consumables has helped Commercial Sewing stay up and running with very little downtime. The company relies on Gerber’s expertise and quality parts to build a truly seamless workflow that will deliver products to their customers as quickly as possible.
Increased demand through COVID.
Over the last year, Commercial Sewing has run into several challenges with demand and labor due to the global pandemic. With the water sports industry currently experiencing major demand, the company has received an increased amount of orders. Commercial Sewing is currently challenged with keeping the workforce running at full speed and managing supply chain delays through the demand rush that is happening in the industry. If it weren’t for the technology used in their plants, it would only slow them down.
By having a fully-automated workflow, Commercial Sewing was able to stay open throughout the pandemic and expects their orders to be 50-60% higher than last year.
Currently, Commercial Sewing is in the process of opening a new facility in Mexico. The company has already installed several new Gerber cutting machines. The company hopes to continue automating their process even further and would like to figure out a way to fully integrate their 3D solution into AccuMark. Commercial Sewing strongly believes that by staying up to date with the latest technology, they will be able to build a strong future.