Avoid the dangers

Peter Wright, managing director of Amaya Sales UK, has provided some useful advice for those new to embroidery or considering the purchase of a new machine. He suggests that you keep an eye out for the dangers which could cost you money and may not give you the production and support you are looking for.

It is a big mistake when looking for a new embroidery machine to go for the cheapest machine available.

There is a saying ‘when you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do’. Machines are available from around £5,000 up to £12,000 for a single head and from around £15,000 upwards for a multi-head set-up.

You need to pay a reasonable amount for a machine that will offer you great performance and be reliable. You need to buy from a reputable supplier that has enough trained technicians that can support you quickly in the event of a breakdown.

If you think you are getting a bargain by paying a low price, you may be in for a shock.

If you buy from someone who cannot support the equipment, then you may as well throw your money down the drain. I have known customers that have paid £4,000 or £5,000 for a new machine when the standard industrial single head would retail for between £10,000 and £12,000. Sometimes the machines may work in the beginning but when they break down or you need help on technical or production, there is no one to assist you. Eventually most of these customers end up buying a reputable piece of equipment, leaving the lower priced machine sitting in a corner with a cover over it.

I am not saying that you should pay the highest price for a machine; I am saying that you should find the best machine for your requirements from a supplier that has a good reputation for support and has been established for at least five years.

The other thing to consider is that some of the cheaper machines do not have the benefits and features of more expensive machines. Features such as speed, some of the cheaper makes only run at about 700 stitches per minute even if they say they will run at 1,200spm. Some run at faster speeds than 1,200, so you can more or less double the production with the correct machine.

Great support is essential

Whether you are adding new machines to your business or just starting out, where would you find the best machine and a supplier you can trust?

There are several manufacturers around, some good and some not so good, some with new technology and some with very old technology. Research the market by reading articles in magazines like Printwear & Promotion.

The internet can provide masses of information but beware of some of the forums. Forums provide a lot of good information but read carefully and look at the dates of the comments; some are really old and out of date and can be misleading. Because forums are normally worldwide you can find conflicting reports from different countries. A poor distributor can give a product a bad name in one country but a good one the opposite in another, this is down to support and knowledge of the equipment they are selling.

Look for a trustworthy established machine supplier that can not only provide you with the best machine but that can also provide the support from their own employed factory trained technicians.

Ask about the training you will receive, and the amount of warranty given. Always do your own research but be careful when asking existing embroiderers for their advice. They will have chosen a certain make for themselves and will normally think it’s the best (because it was their decision). In the past few years some manufacturers have taken giant steps in technology, but some are still where they were 15 years ago. This new technology will give you more production, more efficiency and more profit.

When you have a machine breakdown, how long do they take to respond?

Ask the supplier about their service department, how long it takes to respond to a technical problem. Ask how many technicians they have and where they are situated.

It’s also important that the suppliers’ technicians are employed by the company and not self-employed. If they are self-employed they cannot be totally controlled by the supplier which may cause a delay in response time.

Make sure that the supplier you decide on gives you an idea on their call out times. Ask if they can remotely check any software issues. Some machines are controlled by operating software, with these, many issues can be solved remotely, saving many hours of downtime.

It also helps if their technicians are experienced at talking you through a problem on the phone. Many issues are simple and can be fixed by you or your operator and again save many hours of downtime.

Check out the warranty small print

Check out how comprehensive the warranty is. Most suppliers offer one or two years parts and labour warranties, some offer a five years limited warranty.

A warranty is only as good as the company supporting it locally with first class technicians.

Check also that travelling time, mileage and labour is included. Sometimes on the longer ones, only parts are covered.

Also check if the warranty is on site and that the technician will travel to your premises.

So please, be careful when starting in embroidery or adding to your existing machines, choose wisely and you will save money in the long run and give you the peace of mind that you have a supplier to count on.

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