Eastman had its beginning with handheld cutting machines and it continues to monopolize the segment till date. The American pioneer, present at the recently held Texprocess, received a warm response from customers ranging from Israel’s defense facility to Kevlar manufacturer in India, producing bullet proof jackets and other safety materials. Wade Stevenson, President of Eastman Export Corporation, who attributes the success of the company to handheld machines as against the automated solutions says, “With fast changing fashions, the quantities have reduced, so smaller size machines cutting between 6 to 8 inches, are more in demand.”
Wade does not see any disadvantage of manufacturing machines in China; rather he believes it to be an advantage to produce at two locations, USA and China, with variety in technology and market. “Not long back, the Eastman machines were made exclusively in US. It is only recently that we have setup a factory in China. It is a clear advantage in case you are selling ‘US made’ machines in the US, since buying a home-made machine becomes a matter of contributing to national integrity. Also some states give a rebate or credit on income tax on buying “made in US” machines. Further such manufacturers can use this as a selling point for their garments. So in USA, we only sell ‘US made’ machines,” says Wade.
Even though Eastman produces automated cutting systems, design and cut software’s, material feeding and spreading equipments, the key business of the company is still its most revered manually operated cutting machines. “Yes, there are lots of copycats in the market, yet none has been successful in replicating the quality we produce,” says Wade. He further highlights various factors that determine the quality of cutting equipment. “The first thing you should check is that even on continuous operation the machine should not heat up, which could lead to motor burn out. In comparison, our motors last 30 to 40 years. Then, you have to ensure there is no oil leak, as it may cost you your fabric. We have a patented oiling system to take care of that. A sharpening system for the blade is also a necessity; our system with the abrasive belt sharpens the blade so precisely that even when one is cutting with the margin of 1 mm, no fabric is wasted. Thus, the ROI on the machine is very quick just by the saving of fabric it gives. Finally, the cutter should be less sounding with minimum vibrations.”