Image courtesy BITO USA

E-Laser Options for the Small Embroidery Shop

Ed Balady is president of BITO USA, Copiague, N.Y., a distributor of embroidery and standalone lasers as well as digitizing software. He is co-owner of Proel TSI, the manufacturer of the Proel line. He has been in the industry since 1985 selling embroidery machines and related equipment. To reach Balady, you can email him at ebalady@bitousa.com or visit the website at www.bitousa.com.   

An embroidery laser can be attached to a single-head machine, a two-head machine, or a four-head machine. Each laser can be programmed to do a unique job. This is the ideal setup when doing personalization in small quantities. You might be wondering what your options are if you want more than a single-head embroidery laser, but your budget and floor space won't allow for anything larger than a six-head machine.

Within the single-head laser category, there are two options. The all-in-one option marries a single-head embroidery laser with a single-head embroidery machine. You can use this unit solely for embroidery, but you can’t remove the laser and put it on another machine. Some manufacturers offer a two-head machine with a laser built into both heads.

In the all-in-one, the laser has to be installed at the factory, and you are limited to the brand of the machine the laser supplier offers. You cannot choose an embroidery machine brand and then get a laser installed.

The second option is a single-head embroidery laser that is portable and can be attached to any make or brand of embroidery machine. This type of laser can be moved from machine to machine if needed. You also can purchase a two-laser unit that can be attached to two embroidery heads.

If you want to add lasers to a four-head machine, then you will need two two-laser units to do so. After the initial single-head laser is installed, add-ons must be in increments of two.

The portable laser comes only in single and two-head configurations. So, for a four-head embroidery machine, you would need two units.

A third option is a standalone galvanometric (galva) laser. The cost is a fraction of a laser bridge and more or less the same cost as purchasing two two-head embroidery lasers for a four-head embroidery machine.

A single galva laser can be stationed close to one or more embroidery machines, and the operator moves the hoop from the embroidery machine to the laser and back. It is more labor intensive than an integrated embroidery laser solution but faster than any traditional methods of doing appliqué.