Whether you’re looking to purchase your first ever embroidery machine, or already have a single-head machine and want to expand your capacity, it’s important to do your research before investing. There are so many brands out there, making it increasingly difficult to make an informed decision based on the real hard facts and figures. 

And so, it’s only fair that we lay out the full details by comparing and contrasting some of the best machines from the two biggest brands. That way, you can wade through all the marketing spiel and get down to the numbers – and make your investment decisions based on your business’ requirements.

With that in mind, who are the two biggest brands? Well, of course, HappyJapan is one of them. It wouldn’t make sense to omit our machines from the comparison, now would it? The second is Tajima, who are of course a staple of the embroidery machine industry, along with ourselves.

For this blog, in particular, we will focus on single-head embroidery machines. In future content, we’ll delve into multi-head, wide-area and then finally we’ll deep dive into the technology behind each brand’s machines.

So, let’s get started!

The Machines

First of all, for those of you who are beginners, let’s define what a single-head embroidery machine is, what it does and what it’s great for.

A single-head embroidery machine works as a great first step into producing and embroidering material on an industrial scale. It’s named as such because the machine has one single head.  A single-head machine is the ideal startup machine if you’ve just begun in business and are looking to enter into the industry. They’re often compact, portable, flexible and range from 7-15 stitching needles in total. 

Single-head machines are generally used by businesses that have a more simple production line, usually producing one product at a time with little variation in design from product to product. This is because the machine is incredible at doing one thing very efficiently at a time – so it’s perfect for jobs that require en-masse production with low lead times.

Right then, let’s kick on with the machines.

HappyJapan – The HCU Series

hcu series machine

The HCU series is a perfect example of a startup high-speed industrial embroidery machine to grow your business from. It has a great capacity for production due to the fact it’s speeds ramps are higher than any other machine.

It has a maximum speed of 1500 SPM and a Tubular Embroidery Area of 400 x 600mm – that can be expanded to 400mm x 1200 mm. Due to its high speed ramps and the ability to run consistently without constant thread break means this machine is world leader.

As with all HappyJapan machines, the HCU Series has a completely wireless connection, meaning no pesky wiring to deal with that causes potentially dangerous hazards within a busy workspace. HappyJapan machines are the only ones in the market who offer this. The wireless feature also makes the machine much easier to move around and simpler to accommodate into a variety of workplaces without the need for replacing cabling.

The HCU can also produce live reports of operation, showing management full details on how projects are coming along and how your staff are performing too.

Live reports of operations are a great way to ensure that the proper levels of work are being upheld; they also help your team manage their performance and the performance of the machine they are operating – minimising the need for loss of downtime.

Tajima – The TMBP-SC Series

tajima tmbpsc

Image Credit: AJS Embroidery

The TMBP-SC is the latest single-head machine in the Tajima range, and is the answer to the HappyJapan HCU series, as it performs similar tasks and services similar size projects. 

The TMBP-SC runs at a maximum speed of 1200 SPM with a Tubular Embroidery Area of 360 x 500mm – so it sits firmly in the industry standard for production speed and embroidery area. Similar to the HCU, this model can go all the way up to 15 stitching needles. 

In addition to that, a number of frames can be attached to give the machine the ability to stitch more efficiently to specific garments, like socks, wristbands, caps and shoes.

Asides from these similarities, there’s no comparison between the two machines – as the Happy machine outperforms the Tajima in every way. As proved in trials.

Let’s Compare

The key areas that the HCU series beats the TMBP-SC are in speed and area size. 


  • 1500 SPM stitch speed.
  • Embroidery Area of 400x600mm.


  • 1200 SPM stitch speed.
  • Embroidery Area of 360x500mm.

These are probably the most important statistics, especially at this level of machine, as your investment into a single-head model will likely be your first and only method of embroidery. It makes sense to choose the fastest and most adaptable.

The HCU Series runs on Windows-licensed software, whereas the TMSP-SC does not. This automatically puts the HappyJapan model into pole position, as Windows is the market leader; giving the HCU so much more capability to interact and interface with whatever third party software your business requires to manage its production line.

The ability of the HCU to wirelessly connect to apparatus is a big plus. Whereas, the Tajima model needs an Android tablet for connectivity. Plus, the Tajima machine isn’t easy to use at all. Employers often have to invest in training for their machine operators to get to grips with the models. As opposed to the HCU Series, which is a user-friendly machine that can be picked up incredibly quickly.

Most impressively, the HCU Series possesses the ability to run 3D embroidery on caps at 1200 SPM. And due to patented technology, it can determine the thickness of the material by itself – which gives the final product a far superior finish than any other machine in the market.

What tips the HCU series further over the line though is its ability to track and report live data. This additional feature, that the Tajima model does not possess, makes the HCU a machine your business can effectively scale on to – extending its lifecycle and future-proofing your manufacturing for the future – especially if you wish to add additional machines into the production process.

It’s Up to You!

single head machine decision

Naturally, there’s a clear winner in the race to be the most technologically advanced and efficient single-head machine in the market – the HappyJapan HCU Series. 

So, if you’re a business looking to enter into the industry as a startup, wanting to update your old Tajima model to something superior or looking to add new machines to your existing production line, what are you waiting for? At Midwest, we offer a free trial on all machines before you buy – that way, you can be sure that you’re making the right choice for your business. And trust us, with HCU Series, you’ll never look back. 

You can get in touch with our experts by simply going to our contact us page – or if you need more convincing, you can check out our handy EBook – which compares Tajima and HappyJapan machines in much more detail to the right of this page! Grab your free copy today!