Wilcom International, renowned for its embroidery software, has released a product that is this time hardware. Chief product officer, Brenden Prazner tells P&P editor, Melanie Attlesey, all about this exiciting release by answering a few questions.
Q. I was interested to hear about this new hardware product. Can you tell me about it?
A. For the last 40 years, Wilcom has been focused on developing the world’s best embroidery and multi-decoration design software. It is used by the majority of embroidery designers all around the globe to create the most incredible and intricate designs.
Digitising a design is only half the process required to create an embroidered product. The other half is sewing it on a machine. We looked at this and turned our attention towards to the production side of the process. After talking with hundreds of our most loyal customers to build a clear understanding of what they each do in their specific process, it quickly became quite obvious that the number one issue they faced was getting a design to their machine fast, accurately and securely.
On the surface this seems quite simple, but in reality, with the volume of files required in various formats, created on multiple computers and being sent to many different machines, this actually becomes rather complex to manage. Some machines require flashcards, others require USB sticks and many also use complicated ethernet networking solutions, costing thousands of pounds to implement.
From this discovery, we conceptualised, designed and developed a new hardware solution called EmbroideryConnect. This is a wireless device that connects to any USB supported embroidery machine and uses an existing WiFi network. It’s inexpensive and really simple to set up.
Q. Could you elaborate on some of the benefits EmbroideryConnect brings to the production process?
A. The new device addresses the obvious key issue, which is the need to run around with USB sticks to and from machines. By wirelessly sending the design directly to the machine, it saves people a lot of wasted time, although they may not get their daily steps in.
There are a number of other tangible benefits too. For example, incorrect designs are frequently loaded on a machine, and this is potentially very costly. With EmbroideryConnect, you can ensure the right designs is loaded every time and is compatible with off-the-shelf barcode scanners to speed up this process. Simply scan the production worksheet, and the device will retrieve and upload the correct design onto the attached EmbroideryConnect device, ready for the operator to load and run.
Many machine users damage the expensive controllers by constantly inserting and removing traditional USB sticks when loading new designs. They also need to do the same on the PC and potentially damage the USB port too. Not only is this fairly costly, but can lead to extensive down-time while waiting for the replacement parts to be installed. EmbroideryConnect remains attached to the embroidery machine at all times, eliminating the daily wear and tear altogether.
Design security was also raised as an important issue for our customers. EmbroideryConnect is configured to delete all designs from the device when disconnected from an embroidery machine, meaning your valuable design assets are always safe and secure. Transferring designs are also done using a secure encrypted wireless connection.
Finally, simple installation and ease of use is an important factor to all the customers we spoke with. Most solutions require complicated and expensive networking from machines to the PC. This has always been a major barrier for embroidery businesses. So we designed EmbroideryConnect to be a plug-and-play solution that requires a simple WiFi network. These days, this is something most businesses and homes are already doing.
Q. Is there anything else that you feel makes EmbroideryConnect stand out?
A. Absolutely! We created the device so that it could communicate visually to operators. There are a series of powerful LED lights that provide feedback and tells the user if a design has loaded successfully or if it could not be found when scanned.
There will be many other things coming in the future which I cannot talk about just yet. All I can say is this is a very exciting time for the industry.
Q. Who are the perfect customers for EmbroideryConnect?
A. We took the approach that we wanted to create a great device that could be used by all kinds of embroidery businesses. Everyone deserves these benefits.
Whether they are smaller, single-head embroiderers, to large factories running dozens of multi-head machines, EmbroideryConnect can really help reduce time managing their production, eliminating various risks and allowing them to focus more on creating designs and growing their businesses.