Gerber Technology's newly-relocated and expanded Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Shanghai, China opened earlier this month. 

The $2 million, 27,000 square foot facility is located in the ultra-modern Caohejing Hi-Tech Park in Shanghai and also accommodates Gerber's Engineering Technology Center and its Shanghai-based sales and service operations.

The Advanced Technology Center houses Gerber's 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 WebPDM product lifecycle management systems.

The facility serves as a base 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.

"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 1 January 2005 when the World Trade Organisation 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."

For the last three years China has been Gerber's second largest market after the US, and to date it has installed more than $140 million worth of systems in China.