Involution: Tajima TMAR-KC Type 2 Multi-Heads and a TMBP-S1501C Single-Head from AJS

Nathan Cookson, strategic development manager

Tell us a bit about your business

Involution was launched in 1999 with a vision to innovate the merchandising and uniform industry: to provide the shortest lead-times in the industry, with an efficient and personalised service to companies across Europe. In 2019, Involution invested heavily to ensure its ability to continue its growth whilst ensuring customer service levels did not fall. With a new sales office (quadruple the size of the previous premises), in-house production and an increase in staff levels of 40%, Involution is in a great position for the future. The new state-of-the-art embroidery factory is industry-leading and operates 18 hours a day, embroidering up to 4,000 garments a day.

What is the latest embroidery machine you’ve purchased?

In February last year we purchased five new machines to support us with our embroidery service: four Tajima TMAR- KC Type 2 – 1506 multi-heads, and one Tajima TMBP-S1501C single-head. Having these five machines in-house has been brilliant for us – it has reduced external costs, and allowed us to focus on lean production and take full control of production quality and lead times. Additionally, we can be total flexible on lead times and the ability to process low-volume runs, ie MOQ [minimum order quantity] equals one!

What prompted you to buy these new machines?

Our decision to take manufacturing in-house as opposed to outsourced was down to the fact that our external suppliers were not investing in state-of-the-art machinery and could not adhere to our quality and lead-time requirements. To date to we have invested £250,000 in our new embroidery factory, with more expenditure planned in 2020.

Why did you choose Tajima embroidery machines? What are their main advantages?

Our conclusion and decision to purchase Tajima machines was mainly due to their proven track record and the new technological advancements. The DCP (digitally controlled presser foot) is an impressive new feature that has been designed to reduce thread breaks and complements the range of materials that can be embroidered. In addition to this, the machine has eight control buttons per head, allowing staff to complete basic tasks without the use of the control panel, reducing downtime. Other features that made Tajima the obvious choice were how seamlessly it connects with PulseID software, the speed of its operation and the simple maintenance.

What are they like to use? Do you have any tips on how to get the most out of them?

Tajima machines are very quick and efficient, being able to deliver 5,000 stitches within five minutes, three minutes faster than most other machines. To really get the most out of the machine a good .dst or .emb file is essential. Digital files when well ‘punched’ improve the full process by improving the accuracy and quality of stitching, reducing thread breaks and producing efficient run times. We also use a central tape management system which keeps our process seamless. Our server stores the .dst files, making them instantly accessible via barcodes scans, removing the need for manual uploads.

What size runs and type of work are they used for?

The machines can take on almost anything you would want to embroider, from workwear to sports clothing, uniforms to woolly hats, BB caps or badges. With no minimum run length we can offer quantities of one right through to 10,000.

What would be your advice to others thinking of buying an embroidery machine?

Think about your full set-up in terms of the workflow. Look specifically at how you’re going to get your stock to the machines. Additionally .dst files storage, uploads and on-machine thread matching is an essential area to reduce downtime and operator mistakes. The average job size also needs to be looked at: if your average run size is six to 24 pieces per order, consider six- or eight-head machines. However, if your sizes tend be larger (100+), then a 12- head machine makes more sense – it’s all about downtime. And don’t always go for the cheapest option. Look at the bigger picture and the wider return on investment. For us, speed is important, but quality will always override that.