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Benefits of Acti-Feed™ Technology for Embroiderers

Monday, March 7, 2016
Colorful embroidery close up

Thread tension is one of the critical elements of any automated embroidery process. Melco’s Acti-Feed™ system delivers thread from the spool to the garment with precise control, stitch after stitch, even at the highest operating speeds. Thread tension and delivery are calculated for each stitch and set by three individual parameters per needle. This precise control means faster speeds, a softer embroidery, fewer thread breaks, and a more consistent sew quality.

Melco’s proprietary operating system, MOS, controls the Acti-Feed™ system. Thread feed adjustments are made on the fly by the software as sensors in the machine detect variances in the fabric and stitch density. This fantastic technology enables consistent reproduction of your embroidery designs on a wide variety of fabrics. Acti-Feed™ also delivers top quality embroidery at up to 1500 stitches per minute.

As an embroiderer and designer, I’m always looking for ways to improve my designs and add something extra to my sew-outs. The wide variety of threads and materials on the market allow for all kinds of combinations and experimentation, and I love the flexibility I gain from the threads. I used to have a problem with using specialty threads, but when I moved to my Melco AMAYA (predecessor or the XTS and EMT16 machines) with the Melco Acti-Feed™ system over a decade ago, many of my specialty thread issues went away.

Thinner 60 and 70 weight threads lend themselves beautifully to fine detail work and tiny embroidered letters. Thicker wool blend threads can create dimension and texture in an embroidery design. Metallic thread alters the way light plays across the design and can add sense of richness. I love mixing these specialty threads into my designs. The artistic and graphic possibilities with the thread alone feel nearly endless. However, managing to sew with all of these different threads can be challenging with a traditional tensioning system on a sewing or embroidery machine.

When I started in the industry, I worked for a company that had several multi-head embroidery machines that ran the thread through tensioning disks. My coworkers and I would cringe at the thought of running any type of thread except the standard 40 weight thread that we usually ran. If we didn’t tension the machines appropriately for the new thread, we would constantly be fighting thread breaks and machines stopping. If the tension was too loose, the embroidery would loop and we would have to rip it out or sew over it. We felt like Goldilocks and none of the tensions were ever “just right”!

With the Melco Acti-Feed™ system, this frustration largely goes away. I can change the thread or fabric thickness and not worry about how it will affect my tension because there are no tension disks to worry with. The embroidery machine and MOS software sense the tension on the thread and automatically adjust the amount of thread that is feed via the thread feed rollers. My machine is actually pushing the appropriate amount of thread toward the needle so that the needle has the right amount when going through the fabric.

Another benefit of the Melco Acti-Feed™ system comes when sewing on different types of materials. One of my struggles with tensioning systems was sewing on thin materials or coarser materials that would grip the thread. I would have to tighten my tension for the coarser materials and loosen for the thinner materials to prevent puckering. With Melco Acti-Feed™, I still need to be mindful of my fabric, but I can make a global adjustment to my material feed setting of my MOS software instead of adjusting the tension for the thread on each of my needles like I had to do with my old tensioning machines. Melco Acti-Feed™ makes for far greater flexibility and speed when I’m working on projects and far fewer headaches!