This article discusses the equipment and accessories involved in the process and describes the floor plans that will help you optimize the embroidery workflow.
For a single-head layout (Figure 2), keep everything in a U shape for quick access to items you or your operator will need. Start at the hooping/staging area, where you keep your merchandise to be embroidered, hoops, backing, toppings, etc. This is usually a standard, 36-in.-high table with an open bottom. The computer is used for quick name drops; other designs should be sent from the design center. However, if this work station is primarily used for name drops, then you may want to have the design center set up the names for the operator and remove the computer station from this location. The operator moves from left to right, ending up at the trimming/folding table for finishing after the garment has been sewn. You may add a rolling laundry cart for the finished garments. Good lighting is a must!
For a multihead layout (Figure 3), you will need a minimum of 36 x 36 ft of floor space and good overhead lighting—but skip the carpeting (too hard to clear away thread and doesn't do a good job of absorbing sound). In this scenario are two stations of four- or six-head-machines with the hooping station in the middle and the trimming/steaming/folding area close by, but separate. Keep hoops, backing, needles, etc. on the lower shelf of the 36-in.-tall tables. Keep the thread storage on a nearby wall for fast access. Use commercial laundry carts at key production points to store the items ready to be sewn and those already embroidered and to ease the process of moving the goods to the next destination. Items to be sewn are wheeled in from the design center. Included in the cart are the design files on a disk and printed instructions for the job. The operators will put the finished garments into another rolling cart, initial the work order and any comments, and send the goods to the shipping department, sales floor, or elsewhere.
If you're running a four-head machine, then the same person can hoop and sew, but a six-head machine requires two operators to eliminate or reduce downtime. The machines should always be running. One person can hoop while the other tends to the machine. The person who is stationed at the trimming/steaming/folding table should also be cross-trained in how to hoop.
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