Machine: Melco EMT16 Plus
Rebecca Hancock and Chris Blackwell
Directors, Giraffe Graphics
Tell us a bit about your business
Chesterfield-based Giraffe Graphics provides print and embroidery services as well as graphic design.
What embroidery machines do you have?
We bought an Amaya Melco EMT16 single-head last year, and then we bought our second single-head, the EMT16 Plus, at the end of December. It was a massive investment for us, but we’ve made loads of money out of it. Without being big headed, we’re renowned for our really high quality embroidery.
Why did you choose the Melco?
I liked the Melco because it was new and funky and modern. Also, with all the other machines at that time you had to load a design to the memory stick, then you had to put it into the side of the machine and load the design up on it and then you set it going. Whereas, with our machines, they’ve got ethernet cables straight to our computer. It’s just so much easier. It seems bizarre to me that you’d want to get down on your hands and knees and put a memory stick on the back of your computer, load the file on it, export it and then go and plug it into a machine. In that amount of time I could do three other designs.
Is there anything you’d like to see in an upgrade?
Having more than 16 needles would be cool because I do find that I’ve always got 16 colours on there and I have to ‘hot swap’ about three extras. I think if it had 20 needles it would be perfect. I don’t know why it’s 16, although I presume that’s the optimum for the amount of space it takes up – if it’s any bigger it might not be able to fit through doors so easily.
How easy is it to learn to use?
Oh so easy, it really is.
What other advantages does it have?
Amaya offers different types of software. We went for the best package you can get. Because we’re also a graphic design company, we make everything in vector files so it’s scalable for printing. With the package we’ve got, we can load a vector file for a logo, press convert and it will convert it into an embroidery file for us. All I tend to have to do is go in and tweak a couple of bits. If I get a logo and send it off to a [digitising] company, it can be one to two days before they get it back. Someone can come into our office and I can set it up right there and then on the machine and put it through. They can have it the same day if they really want. It’s a big advantage.
What size runs do you do?
Our average run is anywhere between 20 and 50.
What would be your advice to others?
I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t go for one of these, because a multi-head machine is probably the same price as four of these single-heads. You might get it slightly cheaper, but if you’ve got a four-head machine, if someone comes in and wants five polos, and then you want to do another job at the same time, you have to wait for the first job to stop before starting the next one. Whereas, with ours, we can use them independently or use them together. It’s so much easier. And if one of our machines ever breaks down, which is very unlikely, we’ve got another one. I’d definitely look at a single-head for someone that’s starting up.