Service and Repair




A History of Paperweights and Boat Anchors

Written by Dennis Wilson, November 1, 2013, Updated November 5, 2017.

I work on most brands of Embroidery Machines including the many variations of Chinese machines. Prior to about 2009 Chinese machines developed a horrible reputation in the embroidery world. They were typically underpowered, fragile, and poorly made. When compared to the other standard commercial embroidery machines the stitch quality is poor and they just do not hold up. I have seen two identical machines that have come in the same shipment, one sewed as well as a Tajima, Barudan, or a ZSK, while the other broke thread and needles continuously and had electrical problems. The biggest issue with Chinese machines was the lack of quality control and the various companies using just what it takes to turn out the product.

Around 2009 a new machine emerged from China. I call them the Neo-Chinese Machines to differentiate the two classes of Chinese machines.

There are exceptions to the Chinese machine tradition some companies consistently turn out some decent machines, but for the most part these are exceptions to the rule and not the normal. Some of my customers love their Chinese machines while others hate them with a passion.

If you decided to introduce your own embroidery machine, you could go to one of the manufactures in china and have them make one for you. You specify the parts and components and generally speaking the company will build your embroidery machine to your specifications and supply the parts and components you request. The machine is re-branded or renamed with your company logo and shipped to you to sell.

Many Chinese embroidery machines are built in a haphazard and cheapest way they can put them together. The software and electronics are bought from one company, the heads, and frame of the machine from another company and other components from yet another company. The parts are built for a wide variety of machines. One issue that I have seen is that when a company has a working machine they end up buying a part for a cheaper price and replace the working part with one that is substandard. As an example, I have seen heads that centers in the needle hole on one side of the head and the needle is a full 2 mm offset on the other end of the head.

Dahao software, for example, is made for single, multi-head embroidery machines, and for quilting and other machines. Dahao also provides electronics, and motors for these machines. The software is not made specifically for the machine itself but is made for a variety of machines then configured for is purpose. The software is tailored for the machine on which it is installed.

Most of these machines are built with the cheapest parts possible to keep the price down and for a larger profit margin. In many cases, what you end up with are embroidery machines that work for a while and then fail very quickly, while some machines sew like a champion and last for years. There is a balance of Quality Verses Cost and Quality tends to lose the fight.

Is it possible for China to turn out a decent embroidery machine? The answer is YES. I understand that Tajima and other tier 1 brands have factories in China and parts are made for their machines there. So, what is the difference in the “Chinese Machines” and their Japanese counter parts? QUALITY CONTROL.

Tajima is not one of the best machines on the market because of where it is made. It gained its reputation because it is built to precise specifications, the quality control is strict and unyielding, and what you get is a machine that last forever and is the workhorse of the industry.

The Emergence of Neo-Chinese Machines.

I mentioned that I work on all brands of embroidery machines. I subcontract with several companies for warranty work and training on their new machines. For some of these companies that sold Chinese machines it was common for me to average three to four calls a month for warranty work on new machines.

About four years ago, I noticed that one company stopped using me as much. I quit getting warranty calls on their new machines, but they still called me for training and warranty work on their old machines. Then I had another company stop calling. I wondered if I had worn out my welcome. I was in Florida doing some service calls and decided to stop by to do a little hand shaking and find out what was going on.

What I found was a new class of Embroidery Machine that is leaps and bounds above their competition. These machines are so different from the typical Chinese Embroidery Machine scale that if Darwin were to do a chart these machines would be walking upright while the older models would be crawling out of the ocean. I call them the Neo-Chinese Machines because they deserve to be included in a separate class from the old machines.

I met with the owner, managers and technicians in the two businesses and gathered the following information. These two brands of machines are built in the same factory much like Tajima and Toyota are built in the same factory. The machines are ordered with specific configurations, parts, and accessories as required by their individual distributors.

I have seen the machines work. Their stitch quality is as good as any of the machines from the major embroidery machine companies. They are well built, and I think that they are here for the long haul. Below, I have noted a few of the things that set these machines apart.

The body and mechanical parts of the machine.

The body and various parts of the machine are smooth, and fitted together with precision and care. I checked the needle center on needle 1 and then on needle 15. The needle centered in the needle hole on both sides of the head. The head moved smoothly from one side to the other and the color change motor was larger than what I am used to seeing on the older machines.

The X and The Y motors are larger than the typical machines. The X-Y movement is smooth and fast. The stepper motor that controls the knife is significantly larger than other machines and the casing on the bottom of the machine has been modified to hold it.

The linier ways are thicker which gives the machines a stronger base for movement.

The electronics and control system for the machine.

The communication boards, motor drivers, and control boards are enclosed in metal casing that protect them from oil and debris from in and outside the machine. This makes the components of the machine more defined and easier to diagnose and repair if needed. These boards are not Dahao based and do not seem subject to the same deficiencies that plagued the other Chinese embroidery machines.

Dahao software, electronic boards, and motors are the rule for most Chinese embroidery machines. The software is configured to the machine through the parameters menu. Dahao uses the same software for single, multi-head machines and for other specialty machines. The Neo-Chinese machines broke away from Dahao and has software made specifically for this single head machine.

The pcb boards, and other electrical components are made specifically for this machine.

The control panel is very similar to the Dahao control panels. If you are already familiar with the old operating system, you should be able to understand and operate this machine with no problem.

Some of the various Embroidery Machine companies have offered me the chance to sell their machines as a distributor in the past. I could have made some good money doing so. My reservations and main concerns is I cannot mislead a customer and sell them something that I do not believe in and feel good about. I would have no reservations about selling and promoting these machines.

These new machines are great.  When you balance Cost vs. Quality you are getting a great machine for a great price.