Let’s set the scene. Your embroidery business currently has several single-head or multi-head machines in the production line. You’re running a fairly simple manufacturing process, producing embroidered garments en masse, all with similar or uniform designs. It’s a reasonably profitable system.
However, a new customer comes on board that wants much more detailed, custom designs on much larger surface areas. Items like banners, rugs, throws or duvets. You take a look at your machine setup and there’s just no way you’ll be able to facilitate the order because your machine embroidery areas are set to a particular size. But you don’t want to lose the custom either.
Enter wide-area embroidery machines. These models are specifically designed to handle the more complex, large surface projects that usually come with an increased budget and profitability for the embroiderer. The extra revenue that adding this new string to your bow can bring is not to be sniffed at. Having these models available to use for capacity will also separate you from the pack when a potential customer is choosing between you and the competition.
Firstly, let’s debug some of the complexities of the term ‘wide area’ to describe these model types for anyone that isn’t knowledgeable in embroidery circles.
Essentially, a standard single or multi-head machine becomes a wide area version when it’s specifically designed around a larger than normal embroidery area. The embroidery area will usually stretch from one side of the stitch heads to the other, giving the machine freedom to move the embroidered product around and accommodate larger designs with sometimes millions of stitches.
Why do you need one? Well, quite simply, if you wish to work on products with larger surface areas and expand your range to include items like the ones mentioned above (rugs, throws, duvets, etc) you need a wide-area embroidery machine. No other models can achieve the amount of adaptability and intricacy required.
A wide-area machine can generally come with one or two heads. This is one of the main factors that influence the price model to model. More often than not, the machine also comes with a removable work table to aid in embroidery, but again this varies from brand to brand.
So, let’s take a look at two prime examples of wide area machines. One from Happy Japan and the closest competitor brand, Tajima.
Happy Japan – The HCU-1501X-120
The Happy Japan HCU-1501X-120 is a big player within the wide-area industrial embroidery machine game. It’s one of our most modern machines and you can tell with the advanced features that users can benefit from with the machine. In fact, there’s no point feeding you empty words, we’ll let you see for yourself. Watch the demo of this ultra- impressive machine below.
Tajima – SUMO – TWMX-C1501
Image Credit: Tajima
The Tajima SUMO – TWMX-C1501 has a body structure that secures a wide working space and emphasises workability and adaptability. It’s also a model for embroiderers that wish to utilise the additional part options that Tajima offers, like the sequin device and coding device. These extras are sold separately, however.
The SUMO – TWMX-C1501 also runs at 1,200 SPM at maximum speed and is available with stitch head numbers of 6, 9, 12, and 15 in total. All of these needle variations are based on a single stitch head.
This model can be used in a variety of situations, as the removable work table can be switched in and out depending on the requirements of the project. This wide bay stretches to 450×520mm. The frame exchange is very easy to perform, however, by just interchanging 2/4 screws and swapping surfaces.
The LCD touch screen panel on this model is 6.5 inches wide and designed specifically for ease of accessibility for the operator.
For a Level Up… Happy Japan – The HFR-W1502-120
It wouldn’t be fair to compare this machine straight with the Tajima model – it’s far more advanced and is specially designed for extreme production. Whereas, the Tajima machine is sub-standard and wouldn’t stand a chance. So, in light of keeping things fair, the HFR-W1502-120 should only be invested in if you’re ready to take the next step with your wide-area embroidery. Or, you’re a national business with a huge need for wide-area embroidery.
This machine represents the ABSOLUTE pinnacle in the wide area range for Happy Japan and is perfect for production projects that require a much larger embroidery area for the stitch heads to work on. Meaning it’s perfect for businesses that manufacture complex embroidery designs en-masse.
The touch screen panel (included in all Happy Japan machines) sits at the edge of the work area, which is unique to this model. This enhances ease of use for operators who don’t want to stretch across work tables to interact with the machine. We know from experience how frustrating it is for operators when the operation panel is just out of reach on competitor models.
The HFR-W1502-120 runs at a maximum speed of 1,200 SPM and can incorporate two stitch heads at the same time working on products, both with 15 needles each. The embroidery area can get as large as 600x1200mm. There won’t be any products too large or demanding for this machine to handle – it’s above and beyond any wide-area in the industry. And that’s not just our word for it, all of our statements can be backed up by trials, of course.
This is one of the easiest choices we’ve had to show on our series of comparison blogs so far.
Mainly because we couldn’t find a Tajima model that was even in the same league as the Happy Japan model when it comes to wide area machines. We couldn’t even find a wide area specific model in the range that we could adequately compare.
In fact, the SUMO – TWMX-C1501 was introduced in 2003 – but what’s evolved within the product since then? Nothing! That’s a long time for “industry-leading” innovation to not change, isn’t it? Technology has come a long way since then. Think about it, Concorde was still flying until November 2003. While the aircraft was at the forefront of the industry then, if it was still flying today, it’d be far inferior to the latest innovation.
Also, the Nokia 3310 was leading the way as one of the most innovative mobile phone products. 17 years later, that handset – which is now commonly known as “the original brick” – is absolutely no match for the iPhone 12 that’s being released in October 2020. Just look how far that industry has come – and the industrial embroidery machine game isn’t any different!
With that being said, Happy Japan wide area machines are constantly evolving. In fact, our current model is the product of FOUR evolutions of machines since 2003. Meaning that we’ve introduced the latest technology and performance factors four times into our machines within the same time period as Tajima. We don’t just give them a lick of paint and roll them out as a new model each time – not mentioning any names!
Make Your Decision
For this comparison, it’s not fair to consumers for us to recommend anything but the Happy Japan model.
Wide-area machines are uniquely designed to accommodate niche products that would otherwise be very difficult to embroider onto with standard single head and multi head models. We couldn’t in good conscience suggest going for the SUMO – TWMX-C1501 for that reason; it’s a wide-area machine in name only.
Some of you might still be thinking “What types of embroidery machines does my business need?”. It’s a completely understandable question. Maybe you don’t need a wide area machine just yet. Maybe it’s worth investing in a single-head or multi-head model first and then you can diversify later.
Answers to all these questions can be found in our handy ebook to the right of this blog. It’ll give you a detailed rundown of what machines each level of organisation might need and gives recommendations of the best model for you, no matter what your requirements are. Grab your free copy today!