What is an embroidery head?

An embroidery head is a portion of the embroidery machine that produces the embroidered design on an item. It consists of thread, needles, bobbin and various other parts, commercial embroidery machines are equipped with 1 to 18 heads, while industrial machines are equipped with 12 to 56 heads.

Embroidery is done using one of several different types of thread. Fibers such as rayon, polyester, cotton, silk and metallic are used to embroider items. Rayon is currently the most popular thread used in embroidery machines. Rayon is a high sheen thread and is commonly used as a lower cost alternative to silk. Rayon is a very high quality thread with very little breaking or fraying. Polyester is the second leading thread used for embroidery. Polyester is a very strong and economical thread that won’t fade or shrink.

Embroidery machines today are almost always computer controlled and specifically designed for embroidery. This simply means that the embroidery machine holds the fabric under the sewing needle and automatically moves the needle to create the image from a pre-programmed digital pattern. The embroidery head of many industrial embroidery machines typically has multiple needles per head and are threaded prior to starting the design.

Embroidery heads create some very unique and beautiful designs on a given fabric. The computerized embroidery process has made embroidering items more cost effective and available in a more timely manner. The basic process of getting a design from the idea phase to the completed phase, begins with creating a digitized embroidery design file. Once the design has been digitized, the design can be edited or added to other designs. When the specific design is selected, the digitized file is loaded into the embroidery machine. Next, the fabric must be stabilized on the embroidery machine to prevent wrinkles and other problems. Finally, the embroidery process can begin. Once the embroidery begins, it should be monitored. The final embroidery can take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour, depending on the quality and size of the design.

The embroidery head is commonly threaded with thread that is weighted. A 40wt thread is the most common thread weight used. Bobbin thread is usually either 60wt or 90wt. Bobbin is a small spool of thread inside the rotary hook housing of a sewing machine. The bobbin thread creates the stitches on the underside of a garment. The quality of thread greatly reduces the amount of embroidery problems, including breakage of the thread during embroidery.

The heads on embroidery machines are capable of printing on a variety of items, all you need is the right size hoop or attachment. There are millions of designs that can be accomplished through the process of embroidery.

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