Proper observation of your embroidery equipment with regards to your needles can save you from downtime and ensure that your machine runs smoothly and efficiently.
Sometimes it is difficult to know when to make changes to your needles - if everything is running smoothly and you are having no problems with your thread, then chances are that your embroidery equipment is fine and there is no need for any changes. The most obvious time to change a needle is, of course, when you have a break. But waiting for that to happen isn't always the smartest move to make, as a breakage can cause downtime and a stop in production for your business.
Texsource sells a variety of embroidery needle sizes for Embroidery Machines
The most common sign that an embroidery needle should be looked and and possibly replaced is when the thread starts experiencing breakage or the thread is riding up on itself. Usually the tip of the needle will be fine, but the eye is the first part that normal wear will start to show on.
The common colors on your embroidery machine will be the needles that wear out the fastest - black, white, red, blue, green, etc. The yellow, pink, purple and other lesser used colors may rarely if ever require a needle replacement (depending, of course, on your common embroidery jobs). You may find that with your common colors you are replacing a needle every week 2 weeks, or 3 weeks. Such numbers are normal in a busy embroidery shop.
Choosing the right needle type from the very start of the job will also improve needle life. I was able to find the following general guidelines from a forum that I will share here -
- Use ballpoint needles for knit fabrics
- Use sharp needles for woven fabrics
- The finer the detail, the smaller the needle you should use. A 70/100 needle is usually a good choice to ensure clarity
- Teflon coated needles help to reduce friction when working with synthetic materials like cordura, nylon, sticky-backed fabrics, or heat-seal fabrics
- Titanium needles are more expensive than other needles, but can have as much as 5 times the lifespan of ordinary needles. They work best in high-speed production shops such as those doing a lot of caps
- With leather, try a 70/10 sharp, 75/11 sharp, or wedge needle made especially for leather. The wedge needle will work best with heavier leathers.
- For metallic threads, use a needle with an elongated, rectangular eye to ensure that the thread can pass through without snagging.
With proper care and the right choice of needle for the material you are using, you can keep uptime maximized and the quality of your work high!