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Old June 8th, 2010, 01:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
blueridge blueridge is offline
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Hello All,

I am looking to start a new embroidery business as well. I searched the forum and found most of the questions I had, so I want to thank those who have posted very informative answers to burning questions that most of us newbies have.

I was wondering however, what has been your experience with the reliability of the following machines and their service and repair costs:

Amaya
Barudan
SWF
Tajima
Toyota

I have read some good things about Amaya and leaning towards it but what has been their track records in terms of long term costs? Are they like expensive German vehicles, which are good for few years and prove to be very expensive to maintain? Any thoughts?

Thanks....
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Old June 8th, 2010, 09:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
twok4hd twok4hd is offline
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The top 3 in my opinion

#1 Barudan (what we use)
#2 Tajima
#3 Toyota

Depending on where you are located and the machine you own can have a cost impact if you ever need someone for outside repair. We have a Barudan tech that is 200 miles from us. I can't speak for all companies, Barudan released all their techs, but still contracts them when needed. He was an actualty employed by Barudan when he set our machine up. It is great to have that knowledge close by.
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Old June 8th, 2010, 02:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
Flint54 Flint54 is offline
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I can only state that I have hands on experience with Tajima machines. I have observed Amaya's operating at another shop, this individual ran their Amayas' at top speed and they had quite a few thread breaks and needle breaks. Our 3 Tajima machines have been operating since April 2006, we have changed 1 hook assembly, several bobbin cases, 1 needle bar/presser foot (due to hoop strike) (Operator Error!) one Y axis motor on warranty and one disk drive again on warranty. I am a firm believer that with electronic parts that they will fail soon after they begin operating, this was the case with the motor.

We have a 4, 2 and one head that are used daily. Over the past 3.5 years we have completed @ 15,000 shirts & hats, 45,000 name tags, @ 500 jackets and numerous other items including Golf Towels (pain due to lint build up) banners, plaques just to name a few specialty items. We have had very little down time at all and have had the tech out only once for a perplexing problem that I could not figure out. After he came it was a no brainer as to what he did.

I am a stickler for preventative maintenance! I will delay production to clean, lube and inspect each machine every other week, bobbin cases get oiled every 3rd bobbin without fail. Oil port areas will get oiled weekly with a few drops and any excess is cleaned up immediately. Preventative Maintenance is IMO the key to successful daily operation of your investment. If you do not look at, maintain and care for your machines they will fail and will fail often. I have my picks from knowing others that operate different machines and my list would be.

1) Tajima (What we use)
2) Barudan
3) SWF
4) Toyota
5) Brother
6) Amaya

Hope this helps, just remember that one of the most important considerations is the ability to get service and training in your area for the brand you decide to purchase.
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Old June 8th, 2010, 06:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
blueridge blueridge is offline
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Thanks guys... I was not even considering both your top choices, but I guess I need to reevaluate my selections.

Has anyone else second these recommendations or have differing experience with other companies?

Thanks.
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Old June 8th, 2010, 09:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
twok4hd twok4hd is offline
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If there is an ISS show near you , attend one. Do lots of research. The Internet is a wonderful thing :-)
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Old June 8th, 2010, 09:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
Eric Eric is offline
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Well ... There are enough things out there to make your head spin, especially starting out, thats for sure.

I've been an embroiderer for about 10 years now. I've owned just about every major machine brand out there at one time or another. Currently my shop is either Tajima or Barudan. Although, as they age, and I replace my machines, I am transitioning to 100% Barudan. I think they are superior quality, and their tech is awesome. Not to mention, my rep keeps the pricing competitive for me. So, Barudan makes the most sense, not to mention, they sew incredible!

However, in an attempt to stay un-biased, and hopefully this doesn't turn into a "my machine is better than yours" debate here goes ...

A good rule is to stay Japanese made. That means basically Barudan or Tajima. They are the big boys in the industry.

Barudan is the most expensive, but in my opinion worth every penny!

Tajima is still a very good machine, but in my opinion, it "ain't what it used to be" I have a newer 18 head machine, and my older 12 head, seems to out sew it. The older model machines seem to be a little more substantial. However, they will still never do you wrong.

Brother's most people cringe at. I had a 4 head starting out, and I have to say that it served me well. The bigger M bobbins can be funky to get tensioned correctly though, and the larger arm makes it tough to embroider the small things, like sleeves, and baby clothes.

SWF is Korean made, probably 3rd in the industry behind Barudan and Tajima. I have a hard time staying un-biased here, I have not had pleasant experiences with them, and have a very bad taste from their support. However, people who have them, seem to rave about them, I just can't say that.

ZSK is german made, nice machines, but expensive and over engineered. If something goes wrong, it will be a fortune to fix. PLUS there is no universal timing on ZSK's, they all have different guides, loose your timing guide, and well ... you're screwed!

Melco is mostly plastic, and chinese made. However they are "assembled" in the USA. They are not US made like they often times like to claim.

Occasionally you will run into a commercial Happy.... Happy's are rough machines. I have to give them some due credit, I got my "big break" with my happy, it made me a lot of money back in the day, but next to the nimbleness (if thats a word,lol) of a Tajima or Barudan, its like sewing with a jackhammer. lol

Now where to buy has their perks. You CAN buy machines off of here, craigslist, ebay, etc etc ... However for your first machine I would STRONGLY suggest you buy from a dealer or manufacturer. You will pay more, but they will include all kinds of training and or software to get you started. Once you have a grasp and know your machine, then buy one on the used market if you find the need for a bigger or second machine.

With the economy in the gutter, you can get some great deals.
Don't be shy! Make them fight for your business!
Buying commercial machines is like buying a car, beware of sales tactics, prices ARE negotiable.

Let me know if you have any other questions. Embroidery is my life. I'm always around.

-- Eric
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Old June 9th, 2010, 02:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
blueridge blueridge is offline
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Thanks for your input. It was very insightful. I agree about purchasing from individuals on ebay craigslist..... I have pretty much made up my mind to buy my first machine from a dealer.

I guess I have to adjust my business plan's time line and wait until I can attend the shown in Nashville. Thanks for all the great input.

Eric, why were you unsatisfied with SWF's service? Was it individual rep or there corporate system overall? Did they not try work to resolve your issue to your satisfaction? SWF was one of my machines on shortlist, but if their customer service is not up to par, well, that's something I have to think about.

Thanks..
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Old June 9th, 2010, 06:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
twok4hd twok4hd is offline
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Like Eric said, if you are just starting out, I would definitely consider brand new. Why?

1. Training
2. Warranty
3. Dependability

If you are thinking new and going with a Barudan, I would visit them at an ISS Show. See Bob Stone at their booth. Heck, of a nice guy and he can lead you in the right direction if you need financing. We did a lease to purchase option with Beacon Funding. Another great group. If you are thinking something else, all the leading manufacturers are there so you can get quotes from all of them.

Have fun in your new quest.
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Old June 10th, 2010, 12:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
Eric Eric is offline
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It was an "overall" bad experience with SWF.

I don't want to say that my sales rep lied, but he definitely did "stretch the truth" He claimed that SWF had 24/7 support, well indirectly, they have a Yahoo newsgroup that is not actually affiliated with SWF, so NO in all actuality THEY themselves do not have 24/7 support. I was led to believe that they had someone answering the phone 24/7. They have M-F 9 to 5 support, so if you have trouble on the weekends you're stuck till monday.

Secondly, my machine had issues right from delivery. It was plagued with needle breaks, thread breaks, pullouts, etc. I called and called and called their support, they usually returned my calls the same day, however, once my 4th or 5th call took place, I felt their attitude going down hill, in a hurry. Then they finally just stopped helping, they kept telling me that my tensions were off, and emailing me this PDF about how to tension the machine properly.

FINALLY (after threatening legal action, and disputing the machine purchase with American Express) they sent a tech out to "service" my machine. Turns out, it had a bad take up lever on one needle, and was timed "very poorly" in the words of the tech.

I still have the machine, I hardly ever use it. It runs, but still has issues, I use it for samples and quick non-intricate designs. The stitch quality is not as nice as tajima or Barudan, but to an un-trained eye, you would probably never notice.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 01:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
blueridge blueridge is offline
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Thanks Eric....

I value your opinion and I will certainly take your input into consideration in making my decision.
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