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superior needlesHow many embroidery stitches will Superior's Needles last for?

Q. Dear Superior Staff at Superior Threads, I have watched Thread Therapy with Dr. Bob and learned a lot! I have a question that wasn't discussed in the video though. How often should I change my needles in my embroidery machine? I currently use your Topstitch #90/14 titanium needles with Magnifico thread. Sometimes I embroider for most the day, changing threads as necessary. I don't yet know how to recognize the sound of a needle that needs changing. How many embroidery stitches would you expect? Or, how many hours of actual embroidery? (Stitches is easier because the pattern tells me how many stitches.) Many thanks.

A. Thank you for watching our DVD! I don't have a straight answer to give you since there are so many parameters which affect needle performance, such as:

  • Speed (Stitches per minute)
  • Thickness of fabric
  • Type of stabilizer
  • Multiple layers of stabilizer
  • Machine condition
  • Stitch density
On our 10-needle commercial embroidery machine, we are usually stitching at the 500-800 SPM. We usually use a soft tear-away stabilizer with no backing fabric (just the top fabric and stabilizer). We have been averaging about 50 hours of embroidery time on this particular machine and are stitching many different designs, both small and large, and using a variety of our threads.
Using these numbers as an example, it means that my needles will last between 1.5-2.4 million stitches. (50 hours x 60 minutes = 3,000 minutes. 3,000 minutes x 500 SPM = 1.5 million stitches. 3,000 minutes x 800 SPM = 2.4 million stitches) This is a ballpark figure which works for the designs, fabric, and stabilizer we have been using.
For troubleshooting a dull needle, I find that I skip stitches, get excess puckering, and/or my thread starts to shred. Needles become dull and lose a microscopic amount of material every time it penetrates fabric. Our Superior Titanium-coated needles have excellent performance because of this special coating. Below is a graphic detailing the wear and tear on our Titanium-coated needles vs. standard chrome-plated needles.
superior needle abrasion test
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By: Bob Purcell