Start Here October '20

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14 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 0 that we must consider and determine the best tool for each. For example, a winter jacket is bulky and thick. The coat may not work well with a plastic hoop as the garment slips too much within the plas- tic, or the frame cannot physically adjust to the garment. At this point, it is necessary to consider a different type of hoop, such as a wooden frame or a magnetic frame. The wooden hoop will grip the fabric much better than a plastic hoop because of the pure traits of wood versus plastic. The wooden hoop also has the tension screw to help secure the top and bottom parts of the frame. The popular magnetic hoop can aid in holding thick or bulky materials since strong magnets are embedded within the frame and can grasp the fabric well. PRODUCT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Several manufacturers (embroidery equipment and non-equipment) con- centrate on producing frames for those hard-to-hoop items as well as specialty placements. These companies find solu- tions to common issues and continue advancing the industry by introducing new and innovative products. In follow- ing the example above, items that are rigid or that cannot use a standard hoop must use a different framing approach. One popular aid for stiff materials is a clamping system. This tool attaches to the machine either on the pantograph or using the tubular arms, and has inter- changeable windows of different sizes. The window has a bottom and top piece just like a standard hoop, but instead of the top section fitting inside the bottom section, the top and bottom parts clamp together, holding the material in between. Not only are there tools to help with garments like these, but also new and emerging devices that allow embroidery on unusual items such as shoes, pockets, gloves, and cap bills. These devices are design intuitive but have also created new markets in our industry. As embroi- dery offerings expand, more opportunity emerges for individuals and businesses. HOOPING AIDS FOR ALIGNMENT AND CONSISTENCY Getting back to the basics of hoop- ing, one of the most common problems is proper design alignment on the garment itself. When framing a traditional left- chest shirt, there are guidelines regarding placement so that the design is promi- nent and appropriately positioned. Usually, an operator measures from specific points on the shirt to align the center point of the embroidery in the center of the hoop. Once the placement is determined, the bottom of the hoop is placed underneath the top layer of the shirt with backing in place (the backing must cover the entire hooping section). Then, the operator lays the top part of the hoop on other side of the shirt and presses it into the bottom piece. After this, the tension must be set appropri- ately on the outer ring for the fabric. This must be done for each and every piece for quality control. During this process, there can be many frustrations that occur: shift/movement between the top and bottom parts of the hoop, tension adjustment, crooked fram- ing, inconsistent placements among sev- eral pieces, and more. A hooping station eases these issues and improves efficiency. A hooping station typically uses a shirt board and specific fixtures for the frames. One manufacturer used their own experi- ence to produce several hooping aids for common problems. One popular product is the Hoopmaster Hooping Station. The Hoopmaster includes easy-to- use tools to make framing garments fast, efficient, and consistent. The shirt board uses a number and letter grid for reli- able results in placement—and allows the operators to document settings for repeat or similar orders. This grid is essential in uniformity and alleviates several prob- lems in quality control. Rather than mea- suring each piece, the operator can just position the garment in the documented grid setting for each framing. In addition, the shirt board has holes to accommodate the pins mounted on the various fixtures. The fixture is what holds the hoop and backing in place and ensures that the hoop is straight. There are several fixtures available depending on what type of hoop is used. The fixture has a cut-out for the exact hoop size with a raised rim. The hoop Embroidery

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