Twine introduced its on-demand digital thread dyeing system at Itma 2019 and this revolutionary technology is now available in the UK.

The new Twine system enables users to dye plain white (or raw) polyester thread on-demand, and is designed to minimise waste, cut pollution and reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. Multiple colours and colour gradients on a single thread are also possible, opening the door to new creative effects.

Founded four years ago by twin brothers Alon and Erez Moshe, the company now has more than 70 staff in its headquarters in Petah Tikva, Israel, and has attracted investors including industrial thread manufacturer Coates and HP Tech Ventures. We asked Adi Mandel, marketing manager at Twine, to tell us more…

Twine can create colour gradients on a single thread

How does your dye-on-demand thread system work?
Twine’s DST technology (Digital Selective Treatment) is a waterless, eco-friendly process, which dyes thread using a precise amount of the company’s TDI ink for the thread type, length and weight, with virtually no waste. The process begins once a colour is selected by the user. Twine’s proprietary algorithms automatically create a recipe and initiate highly accurate ink mixing of Twine’s 4 basic TDI ink colours (CMYK). Once completed, the thread passes through a treatment chamber and then into the drying unit. The drying unit will then fixate the ink into the thread fibres, upholding the highest market quality standards. In the last phase of the process, lubricant is applied to the thread. The system’s closed loop technology ensures there are no emissions or waste disposed to the environment.

How will our readers be able to use it? Will it work with their current machines?
The TS-1800 is a standalone system. It’s easy to use, as it requires only electricity, raw or off-the-shelf white thread and Twine’s Digital Ink (TDI). With our simple-to-use operating interface the user can plan the dye by choosing the thread, the colour and the length needed. Once the user presses dye, the system gets to work immediately.

What consumables does it use?
It uses Twine propriety Digital Ink (TDI) developed by Twine’s world-class experts and formulated to answer the unique requirements of the DST process. It can be applied to a wide range of polyester thread and yarn types and thickness.

What software or computers are needed to run the system?
The system has its own computer operating it, so there is no external software or computer needed. Additionally, we have partnered with Pulse DG for Tajima, where they can interface with our system directly. Within Pulse there are Twine functions where the digitiser can design and see how embroidery will look with Twine in mind, including the use of colour gradients. The digitiser can export the embroidery file to a Twine system to dye the required thread in the exact lengths and colours needed.

The system is currently designed to work with polyester threads; will you be moving on to other threads in the future?
Polyester accounts for 50% of all the thread used today in the textile industry. For now we will be focusing on polyester, but other fibres will follow in a few years.

The colour is chosen digitally, according to customer requirements

How does your system compare to Coloreel?
Our system is simply different, as it’s a standalone system. Each TS-1800 can support production of up to 30 embroidery heads, and embroiderers can dye any polyester thread they prefer to work with (raw or white). Our system can also dye thread for sewing and knitting, without the need to change anything in the system, which is a big benefit for garment producers that do more than embroider. Just load the new thread, choose it from the material list in the system, and then choose your colours and length and dye. As we have done with Pulse DG, Twine can interface with a variety of design software for the sewing and knitting of garments, making our system very versatile within the whole textile industry.

Why is dyeing better than simply switching between different coloured threads as usual?
The first immediate benefit is that embroiderers no longer have to stock coloured thread, and are no longer dependent on their thread supplier. Today, as a result of large minimum orders, over 60% of thread inventory is dead stock – stock that will be disposed of. Instead, we say that it’s better to stock only white thread, then produce only what you need. As an added benefit, embroiderers are no longer restricted in colour. They can accurately choose the colour digitally, according to their customers’ requirements, and just dye their thread ready for production. They can have multiple colours as well as colour gradients on a single thread, which can only be achieved digitally, offering much more creativity to their customers. In addition, our system is sustainable. There’s no water consumed and no dead stock, which is better for the environment.

Can you quantify the savings when using Twine’s system, compared to using traditional embroidery thread?
The time and cost saving is linked to inventory management and logistics of the thread. We know that there are many hidden costs there, not just with the dead stock, but even in the time embroiderers spend looking through their inventory to choose suitable colours for jobs, often compromising on the colours that they choose. With Twine’s system, embroiderers won’t need to manage and wait for thread orders from suppliers. In the case of multiple colours and gradients on a single thread, it just simply isn’t possible to do this traditionally so we can’t compare.

How much does the Twine system cost?
Generally the ROI for the system is around a year, depending on the customer profile. We don’t share the cost publicly, but will give more details to potential customers who approach us or our distributors.

Is the Twine system available in the UK?
Yes, it’s available for UK orders. Anyone who is interested is welcome to approach us directly:
[email protected]

twine-s.com

THE EXPERT’S VIEW

Images’ embroidery columnist, Erich Campbell shares his initial assessment of the new Twine system

 

The benefits of on-demand dyeing are easy to imagine; last-minute, just-on-time thread stock is a compelling benefit, though I find adding custom gradients and spans of colour more intriguing as it could make difficult processes like blending trivial. Without a public price for equipment and materials, it’s hard to gauge the value. A shop may well be able to sell added versatility as a higher-value service, meaning limiting the comparison to replacing thread in standard embroidery is not the only or best way to evaluate ROI.

I find the potential cost less daunting as Twine’s pre-dyeing and winding means that one unit can supply a multi-head machine – providing a job allows the lead time to dye a ‘set’ of cones – moving it from just a small-run high customisation tool to something that makes more sense, in my mind, for medium-sized shops to use in production.

I still have some technical concerns concerning custom dyeing; establishing precise start and stop for a gradient or colour seems like it would require some precision from operators, and in the all-too-common instance of thread breakage, using precision lengths of a single colour seems problematic and smooth gradients could be interrupted. I am heartened to see integration with digitising software directly, though I would love an industry standard for this sort of coloration that all software can address when and if these systems become commonplace. Twine won’t do away with all thread stock, particularly for users of speciality threads, such as metallics, matte finish, and fire-resistant fibres; however, using its app for calibrated colour matches for corporate work and costuming and fast ‘prototyping’ for sample rooms makes it very interesting beyond its creative potential.”

TWINE’S RESPONSE

Yariv Bustan, Twine’s VP Product & Marketing, replies to Erich Campbell’s comments

Our pricing and ROI information relate to everything around the cost of thread management. Not just replacing the coloured stock (not including metallic, special threads) but the hidden costs of even time taken in choosing colours from the stock. Being digital, the Twine system can repeat colours accurately. So a red you dye today, can be reproduced a year later for a similar job, so you don’t need to stock that thread for a year, and manage it, and look for it, etc. When you take into account the hidden costs and compare thread dyed by Twine with off-the-shelf thread, the total cost of ownership of the thread with Twine is less.

It’s true that precision in colour changes is difficult with embroidery, due to tensioning, fabric types, thread types, etc. From our experience we find that we can achieve embroideries with gradients quite accurately, so that you achieve embroideries as per design in many cases. Our partnership with Pulse is exciting and important, and is only the beginning. It showcases our ability to interface with all types of design software. So we agree with the comment about making it an industry standard, and we intend that Twine will be. Concerning specialised thread, we are in the process of working on those. At this point we have developed fluorescent thread and have done preliminary research into reflective and hydrophobic threads. These effects can be added as part of the dyeing process immediately.