Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ITC (Revolutionary instant thread colouring technology for industrial embroidery)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2018-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Industrial embroidery is a large and growing industry, used for fashion, sportswear, leisure wear, apparel and other applications. Every year approximately 750 000 embroidery heads are produced globally. More and more the embroidery production is moving back closer to the end market including Europe.
The target of ITC is to develop, industrialize and market a machine for instant thread colouring that fits to all these embroidery heads. The project is based on the innovative and patented Coloreel technology owned by the Inventech Europe AB company.
The Coloreel machine uses an undyed base thread and special thread colouring inks and colours the thread directly on top of the embroidery machine. The produced thread is fulfilling all normal thread quality criteria such as wash ability, UV resistance and more, although is being finished in a few seconds instead of several hours.
The Coloreel machine have a very strong value proposition to the textile producers and embroiderers:
• Amazing embroidery design. By adapting colouring directly to the actual stitch design, it is possible to create embroideries unheard of before with shaded and patterned areas.
• Improved embroidery quality. The use of one single thread instead of multiple thread reels removes the need for ugly locking stitches, enhancing the quality and tactile feel of the embroidery.
• Improved logistics. Since almost all colours of thread can be produced from one single base thread you always have the right colour of thread on stock. Today a standard assortment of thread contains 300-500 different standard colours. If you need a special colour, that needs to be ordered specially. This means that it is very difficult to always have the right colours on stock for your orders, or that you have a very large stock of thread that you very seldom use.
• Improved productivity. By not needing multiple thread reels you remove the thread reel changing time on the embroidery machine. An even larger effect come from that the embroidery machine does not need to slow down and make locking stitches for each individual colour change. Altogether this improves productivity with 50% for a normal embroidery production in e.g. Europe.
• Water pollution and thread waste. As the machine is a closed system there is no polluted process water coing out. In addition, since you only produce the thread you use, the waste of thread compared to all the various thread reels used to day is minimized.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The overall plan is to develop, industrialize, produce, market and sell the new product, as well as securing the related IP.
Key milestones delivered so far, sorted by functional area are presented below:
Product development, prototype builds and quality assurance. It is worth to mention that extra intermediate versions of the machine to verify functionality, quality and producibility have been added to the project. This have added to cost and resources (not financed by this project) but have not affected the overall timeline for production. More details can be found in reporting of deliverables D1.1, D3.1, D2.2, D2.1, D3.1, D1.2, D2.3

• Complete drawings for two generation prototype builds.
• Industrial design for the final product.
• Fully functional improved prototypes (generation Y1.0), used for demonstration, thread quality assurance, module verification.
• Fully functional colouring SW inside the machine, enabling production of exciting designs of embroidery
• Standalone thread colouring design SW, good enough to use for actual design of colours for the embroidery designs is released internally and to selected partners.
• Fully functional prototypes (generation Y1.0) with upgraded sub-systems have been built.

Marketing and Commercialization. Also, here significantly more effort has been added to the project, especially to build up a distribution network for Europe. The activities are partly reported in deliverables D6.1, D6.2
• Launch and maintenance of a website
• On-going application projects with key strategic brands like Ralph Lauren, Nike, Adidas and others. Target is to facilitate early introduction as soon as the machines are ready.
• Technology introduction and early marketing at the Texprocess show in Frankfurt in May. The product was awarded with the Innovation award of the show in competition with large industrial companies.
• Event for selected EU distributor candidates. This was a large success and contract negotiations are well under way.

Industrialization and Supply base:
• Key Suppliers selected
• Complete industrialization project started with strategic partner Scanfil. Contracts negotiated and signed.
• Agreement with Ricoh to co-develop and supply one of the critical sub-systems (the print engine) with assembly in Telford, UK.
• Volume and production plans agreed and communicated to support business and project plan.

Overall the project is well on track to be able to launch in time, for both production and sales. This have required a lot of extra effort supported by the company and the owners. The extra activities are not financed by this project but are vital to the success of the project.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

By launching a product that fulfils the value proposition of amazing embroidery design, improved logistics and productivity and reduced water pollution and thread waist, this will create a profitable and quickly growing European based business and production for the company and it’s distributors in EU. In addition, this is supporting at general trend of moving back textile production closer to home markets, and b that European production.

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