To work with a range of colours, traditional embroidery must use multiple reels of thread, one for each colour. This impacts on efficiency with lost time due to re-threading, in turn increasing the cost of the process. It also limits the range of designs which can be adopted by industry.

With the support of EU funding, the Swedish company Coloreel has developed technology which achieves high-quality textile thread colouring on demand, during production. The unit to be launched later this year will be developed with Ricoh, which will build one of its major sub-systems based on its inkjet printing technology. It is intended to be used in conjunction with existing industrial embroidery machines and will improve production efficiency and expand the range of unique designs possible.

Doing more with less

The production process for embroidery currently faces a number of limitations. Thread dyeing plants can only colour single-coloured threads. Therefore, to satisfy customer demand, embroiderers and factories must stockpile large quantities of many coloured thread rolls. As thread makers only provide 400-500 solid colours, customers rarely get the exact colours they seek. Additionally, the embroiderers can only create stitch segments of solid colours, with soft transitions or other effects virtually impossible using today’s technology. Full Article