The top six directions in sewing machines to watch out for are diverse in their application and output, but equally important in their implication and impact to the sewing industry…
With fewer parts to vibrate, machines fitted with direct drive motors tend to be quieter; and with less moving parts, there are fewer parts prone to failure. Power is not wasted in friction from a belt chain or gearbox. High torque can be produced at a low RPM (revolutions per minute); high torque and low inertia enable faster positioning times on permanent magnet synchronous servo drives. Feedback sensors sited directly on rotary parts enable precise angular position sensing. Claims for sewing machines redesigned to make the best use of direct drive motors and the latest electronics include reduced machine cycle times of over 40% in some cases, average power consumption reduced by 60% and standby power consumption by 90%.
While the basic kinematics of sewing machine remains almost same, developments are mainly in controlling the kinematics. Improvements in electronic controls reduces power consumption whilst increasing productivity and flexibility and enables ever finer adjustments, whether in cutting with automatic pocket and buttonhole machines, for example, or in sewing parameters. Electronics are also used for reducing machine set-up times when changing design and styling during production. In case of cyclic machines like button sew, pattern tacking and button hole, the controls are programmed and can be saved, transferred and reproduced using any storage medium.
[bleft]Sewing technology has come a long way from being just about stitch a garment… Trends in technology today is developing machinery to be more environment- and operator-friendly, to conserve energy, reduce noise levels, heat, vibration and the amount of lubrication oil required, whilst being more flexible, efficient and produce improved quality. The challenges of the industry are increasing and so are the challenges for the technology providers to keep pace. [/bleft]
Stain Free Garments
Oil stains on sewn products can be a big problem. Different companies tackle the problem in different ways but all are looking to provide a dry mechanism that eliminates concerns of oil contamination from the needle bar and the needle thread take-up, achieving high productivity and clean sewing over a broad application range, from thin to thick fabrics whilst preventing trouble with parts seizing and overheating.
Ability to Multi-task during Style Change
Flexibility in conventional sewing machine use is seen widening their use into the decoration field with sequential and programmable sequin sewn designs, different effects achieved by multi-needle, multi-colour and multi-stitch type machines, and much else. The fight for supremacy in button, buttonhole, pocket attachment and other automatic machines continues with the competition looking to increase flexibility, speed of operation, and ease of use. The choice of machines for heavy and difficult to sew technical textiles is increasing with extra distances between foot and bed, special shaped cylinder arms, long post beds, ability to sew light to very heavy weight materials for car seats to safety belts, airplane interiors to special filters.
Ease of Repair
Machine downtime is one of the most notorious reasons behind lower efficiency. Nowadays machines are made with less number of movable parts, more of modular platform, interchangeable parts, and replaceable components aiming to make the machine in running condition in quickest possible time during a breakdown.
Thread less Seams
Few garments or textile end products, however well designed, can be made without seams, and sewn seams by their very nature make holes in the fabric whilst introducing other materials, such as sewing thread. Alternatives to this can be bonding, welding and hot air sealing. A precondition of welding fabric parts together is the presence of a thermoplastic material, either within the fabric itself, as with synthetic materials, or by the use of a bonding tape between the two fabric layers, feed into the seam as it is sealed together, as required by natural fibres. This method of construction has many advantages for certain types of garments. As normally, the seam is made from the two fabrics without any additions, the mechanical and physical properties of the seam are similar to the processed surface. It is as water and chemical proof as the main fabric, as stretchy, as bacterially and pathogen resistant and therefore is of great interest for military, medical, outdoor, sports and undergarments and technical uses.
With an increase in synthetic base fabrics the application spectrum of welding machines is becoming more diverse and includes hot air and hot wedge sealing as well as ultrasonic where the energy is controlled by a lower vibrating wheel, the upper wheel which can contain an engraved shape or patterning to suit the seam requirements, applies the pressure. The ultrasonic process channels high frequency vibrations which cause a rapid heat build-up at the material contact point. The process is very versatile as a machine can be programmed to seam, cut, slit, trim, tack, emboss, or cut and seal simultaneously.