Printwear

December '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 D E C E M B E R P R I N T W E A R || 29 provides management with the ability to not only know that the machine is stopping, but also why it is stopping. Some important metrics this type of software can provide about thread breaks are: • How many thread breaks have occurred on a specific job? • In the case of a multi-head embroidery machine, on what head did the thread break occur? • What needle experienced the thread break? • At what point in a design did the thread break? All these issues are imperative to understand. Repeated thread breaks that become detrimental to production need to be isolated and corrected as quickly as possible. The more colors and stitches in a design, the more likely it is for a thread to break. Understanding what head a thread breaks on can help isolate a breakage prob- lem to a specific head on the embroidery machine. On a six-head embroidery ma- chine, if 90 percent of the thread breaks occur on head number two, then there is clearly a problem with something on head number two. Does the thread break oc- cur on the same color of thread or is the thread breaking on every color of thread? This is important to understand because if it is only one color, it could be the cone of thread itself. Something as simple as changing the cone of thread could mean the difference between a profitable job and a disastrous job. If a thread break occurs on the same needle of a job, then it is clear to see that there is an issue with the actual needle. Changing the needle, in this case, can dramatically help production. While thread breaks seem random, it is surprising that they are often anything but. Similarly, a thread breaking in the same general area of a specific design is a sure-fire indicator that there is something in the design itself that is causing the breakage. Machine reporting software that monitors and reports all this in- formation helps keep production running by identifying all the above patterns and allowing preventative and corrective steps to be taken. Aside from the machine itself, let's look at some of the factors con- tributing to thread breaks. TRAVEL PATH One of the first places to look when dealing with excessive thread breaks is the travel path of the thread from the cone or spool to the needle. Each embroidery machine has its method of getting the thread to the needle that often involves a series of twists and turns through an intricate maze. If the thread is out of the normal travel path, it can rub against a machine part, begin to fray and, ultimately, lead to a break. This type of thread break usually occurs within the first several seconds of pressing the start button and repeatedly hap- pens until corrected. If the thread isn't following the correct path, it can easily break. CONE Sometimes the cone of thread is a culprit of thread breaks. This mostly happens when the thread gets snagged on itself or gets caught under the actual cone. If the thread loses its ability to move freely, then there is no other choice than for the thread to break. TENSION Improper thread tension can cause pro- duction tension. If the tension of the thread and bobbin are not correct, then stitches are not optimally formed. Many companies offer tension gauges to help en- sure that tensions are correctly set. If you are old school, you can look at the back- side of a garment and evaluate the tension. Typically, a stitch made of 1/3 bobbin, 1/3 stitching, and then 1/3 bobbin indicates that tension is in the right setting range. NEEDLE Another source of thread break issues can be the needle. A slight burr in the eye can wear the thread to a breaking point. This is very noticeable before the thread actually breaks. The thread will start to fray and then bunch up just before the eye of the needle. It will get to a point where the strand of thread is shredded to where it simply can't form a stitch and the thread breaks. A bent needle tip can also be a thread-breaking source. This can happen to either a ball- or sharp-point needle. A bent needle tears up the garment or cuts the thread as it withdraws from the fabric. Needles are inexpensive; damaged garments and production down- time are expensive. Always check and replace needles that have a lot of use. A crooked or backwards needle is another culprit. When replacing needles, ensure that the needle is inserted straight into the eye of the needle in the front and the scarf of the needle in the back.

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