A laser cutter can be a great way to expand your shop’s efficiency. If your budget and floor space can’t accommodate a bridge though, you might have to reassess your approach.
Within the single-head laser category, there are a few options. The all-in-one option marries a single-head embroidery laser with a single-head embroidery machine. You can still use this unit to do only 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 machine the laser supplier offers. You cannot choose an embroidery machine brand and 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.
A third option is a standalone galvanometric 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 galvanometric 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 still much faster than any traditional methods of doing appliqué. A galvanometric laser cuts at the same speed as a laser bridge, which is up to 10 times faster than conventional laser cutters.