Thread Breaks can be costly
In this article, SPSI’s Embroidery Manager Nancy Rasmussen discusses the causes and ways to prevent thread breaks.
Thread breaks can be costly and frustrating. It doesn’t matter if you are a large production house or a small shop – thread breaks mean stopped machines which means time and money lost. Let’s do the math. If you have a single head machine and are running a 7000 stitch design at 1000 stitches per minute you can run 8.5 pieces in an hour. If you have just one thread break per piece and it takes you one minute to rethread the needle and start again, you are losing 8 minutes per hour. If you charge $1.25 per 1000 stitches you are losing over $9.00 per hour. Running 6 head machines with the same design, that same thread break is now costing $56.25 per hour.
Your time is valuable and we want to help keep your machines running smoothly and your profit holding steady.
I have had people tell me that they want to take their machine to the curb or use it as a boat anchor, but before you jump to the conclusion that there is something wrong with your machine – consider the following:
- Make sure the garment is hooped properly. If you struggle with regular tension hoops consider purchasing Mighty Hoops keep your garment tight in the hoop without stretching it.
- Use the proper combination of thread and backing to support the design. We carry an assortment of cut-away and tear-away backings to provide proper stabilization of your design. Madeira and Isacord thread are proven to be some of the best thread on the market. If you don’t use quality thread you may find that you are costing yourself money in the long run by threading and rethreading your machine.
- Make sure your design is properly digitized. The right combination of density and stitch type make a big difference in how a design stitches. If you have resized the design you might be creating the problem yourself.
- Maintain your machine regularly. If you aren’t already in the habit of cleaning the lint out of the hook and oiling it every 4 hours of use, start doing so now; lack of routine maintenance will cause thread breaks.
Reducing Thread Breaks
The first step is to determine if the thread is breaking on one needle or on all needles. If the thread is breaking on certain needles we have established that it there is something in the thread path to cause the break. Determine what kind of thread break you are experiencing – stress, fray, pop out or false thread break.
- A stress break (or clean break) is a sign that your machine is not getting enough thread to make the stitch. Check the entire thread path to make sure the thread can flow smoothly and not catch on something. Also, check your tension – it could be too tight.
- A fray break (the thread is shredding) can be caused by a few things – make sure your needle is oriented properly. We carry a needle alignment magnet that can help easily check the needle orientation. Check the needle or replace it if it is damaged or has a burr on it, we carry Groz Beckert needles, they are some of the best needles on the market.
- A false thread break is not really a thread break; the machine is sensing that something is not right. Check the thread path, especially near the thread break sensors.
If the thread is popping out of the needles as the machine starts to stitch, the tension might be too tight.
If the thread is breaking on all needles, the problem is most likely in the bobbin or rotary hook area – something that is common to each needle. Check the bobbin, the bobbin case and rethread if necessary. If that doesn’t fix the problem you could have a burr on your needle plate or rotary hook, or it may be necessary to do hook timing. We have a fantastic paper sided house bobbin that will work in any L machine. Many of our technicians are fans of the MagnaGlide bobbins and find that the magnet creates just the right amount of drag and will run smoothly all the way down to the core of the bobbin.
There are a lot of pieces to consider when keeping our machines running efficiently. If you start with great supplies, keep your machine clean and lubricated, and use good designs that have been digitized well, you should be able to find and get to the source of the problem quickly to keep your profits up and you loving your machine!