I’m always amazed at the diversity of sewn products manufactured by companies. In this vein, I found an interesting website that focuses on the inflatable products business. While inflatables can mean anything from inflatable mattresses and boats, this site has a heavy influence toward those jumping balloons that people commonly rent for children’s parties. I guess it only stands to reason that things like that need to be manufactured but who’s really thought about it? Anyway, I think the website of the International Inflatable Products & Games Association is worth a trip for a couple of reasons. One, it gives you a snapshot of the issues that affect a segment of the industry we rarely think about. Second, you may find some topics of interest that may apply to your venture. Third, the site is amazingly comprehensive. It covers inflatables from the perspective of manufacturers, suppliers as well as party planners, insurance and rental agreements. The breadth of information is really amazing. Call me obsessed with the arcane but I found it fascinating.
For example, for those interested in the benefits of automated cutting, Cutting Tables Cut Costs and Time is about the inflatables industry-specific CAD and CAM software. One such company of automated cutting is Autometrix. This company has a product called CadShot which “converts a digital photo of an existing template into a CAD pattern”. Using a camera (bed) connected to the CAD system, you shoot a photo of the pattern piece rather than digitizing it in and the system spits out a pattern piece in 30-60 seconds. It’s absolutely fascinating. Then, if you’ve ever been interested in seeing an automated computerized cutter in action, you can see a video of one in operation. The 24 foot cutter is about $43,000 and can only handle single plies; that’s one downside of automated cutters.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy visiting the IIPGA, this site offers a tremendous amount of information about an industry that most of us have never thought about.