Natalie Greetham, senior marketing co-ordinator, and Julia Redfern, industrial sales executive, at Madeira UK, provide some invaluable basic machine maintenance advice.
Your embroidery machine is the single most important piece of equipment for any embroidery business and undoubtedly the most expensive of investments within the business – after all, no machine equates to no embroidery.
In order to achieve optimum embroidery results, it is imperative you keep your embroidery machine in tip-top condition. This will help eliminate the chances of machine failure and subsequently machine downtime, which is not only frustrating but costly to your business.
As with any piece of machinery, maintenance is essential – oiling, greasing and cleaning should all be part of your good housekeeping routine. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for servicing and establish a schedule for regular maintenance and stick to it. Keeping a record will also be useful if you ever need to call out an engineer.
After four to six hours of continuous use or every time you change the bobbin, it’s good practice to clean both the bobbin case and rotary hook. Check the case for signs of damage and replace if necessary. Any lint build-up can be blasted away with canned compressed air, followed by a drop of oil on these areas. A fine tip oil pen is ideal for accessing small areas and to avoid over oiling, you do not want to soak the bobbin thread which could show on the garment.
Weekly cleaning routine
Today’s high-speed machines can run at speeds of up to 1,200 stitches per minute but without the correct lubrication will experience excessive wear and tear. Use the recommended oil for your machine on the needle bar, needle arm and needle plate.
Monthly cleaning routine
Once per month we recommend you remove the needle plate and clean out any dirt, debris and thread trimmings that may have accumulated. It is also vital to keep the control box clean and not to obstruct air flow in and out as the machine needs to be clean and cool to run efficiently. Vent areas are usually located near the main on/ off switch, if in doubt contact your machine dealer for technical advice and support.
A blunt, damaged or broken needle could potentially cause serious damage to your machine and garments, which is why it’s so important to regularly change them. Fresh needles will reduce friction, penetrate the fabric better, help to avoid thread breaks and looping and is a very cost-effective way to maintain high quality embroidery results.
Good housekeeping here; week one – refresh the needle in position one, on each head. Week two – refresh number two needle on each head, week three number three needle and so on. At this frequency, you will not only speed up the process by becoming more proficient with the procedure, but it becomes less of an onerous task than facing the job across the whole machine.
A high percentage of thread breaks can be attributed to incorrect tensioning. Start with the bobbin, we highly recommend the Towa tension gauge to help with setting the correct bobbin tension. Adjust the tension with the little screw on the side of the bobbin case, clockwise to tighten, anti-clockwise to loosen. A correctly fitted bobbin should spin clockwise when facing you. It is also vital to check the top thread is passing through all the tensioners, loops and hooks etc. as each one plays a specific role to make sure the tension is correct. A perfectly tensioned embroidery should have 1/3 bobbin thread to 2/3 top thread visible on the back.
Madeira supplies a range of products to assist in keeping your machine in top condition and running smoothly which in turn will optimise production, maximise embroidery results and help your machine to last for a very long time.