Introducing the low-noise belt drive
Among the many parts of the sewing machine, the timing belt is especially important in determining how efficiently its power is transmitted. It puts the sewing machine in motion by enabling the upper and lower shafts to work together. At Brother, we have refined the timing belt by altering its material and shape, reducing the noise it produces while in use, and decreasing the amount of power it consumes. While significantly improving its energy efficiency, we have also reduced the sound it makes while rotating at high speeds for a more comfortable sewing experience.
For most sewing machines, more power is consumed as rotation speed rises, which increases stress on the timing belt and creates more noise. But thanks to the new design parameters we've used for our belt drive, power consumption is limited, and the level of noise is kept low, even while rotating at high speeds. These features have enabled us to create the next generation of sewing machine, combining comfort with energy efficiency.
The right belt is key.
Timing belt performance is determined by a combination of factors, including the material it's made of, its thickness, and the shape of its teeth. At Brother we spent months testing and refining the timing belt, and eventually came up with a belt drive offering remarkable transmission efficiency, and excellent durability.
Electricity consumption reduced by 30％.
By focusing on the noise produced as a belt rotates, we came up with a low-noise belt drive technique. Implementing these design parameters allowed us to cut power consumption by about 30% compared to our previous models. This design is ideal for users who need to sew for long hours, keeping noise to a minimal level.
THE ENGINEERS' STORY
Brother has released its latest sewing machine, a model that offers our highest rotation speed among home models, along with an energy-efficient level of power consumption. In order to offer both of these features, which normally run contrary to one another, we had to look at things from a whole new perspective. I was impressed with a certain female engineer for taking on these unknown challenges, fueled by her passion for Brother sewing machines and the environment.
The key to increasing rotation speed and decreasing power consumption was "sound".
Rino Nakama, Development Department,
Personal and Home Company
My thoughts on the Brother sewing machine, a company icon since our founding
Today we offer many products from a wide range of genres, but as you all know, Brother started out exclusively with sewing machines. Back when our company was founded, sewing machines had to be imported from overseas, and they were very expensive. Our founder was determined to develop one that could be used by many people, and his dream came true in 1932 when we were able to successfully mass produce machines for home use. For 80 years since Brother was founded, its sewing machines have continued to improve with time--constantly becoming more user-friendly, safer, and more efficient. As a Brother employee, my hope is to share with our customers how fun it can be to use our machines, and the feeling of accomplishment ("I've done it!") that comes with sewing. That is what Brother has been about since its founding. I was involved in the design process of our latest model, and we struggled with various challenges on the way to completion. But I can honestly say that our passion for success has successfully been implemented into this product.
The challenge of raising rotation speed while lowering power consumption.
Our latest product is a top-of-the-line sewing machine for home use. It is designed for those who wish to use a sewing machine for everyday tasks, sometimes for long hours, which we specifically kept in mind while designing it. Because of this, we focused our efforts on raising the maximum rotation speed. This was to increase task efficiency a great deal, and make a lot of people happy in the process. However, the road was quite bumpy on our way to accomplishing this. Increasing the rotation speed naturally resulted in an increase in energy consumption. But we couldn't change the size of the machine's power source, which simply wouldn't provide enough power to accomplish our vision. So then, we had to consider the energy efficiency of the entire machine. We looked at various approaches, such as adding a surface coat to the transmission shaft, but nothing we thought of would ultimately reduce power consumption. That was a significant challenge in the development process.
Thinking outside of the box increased efficiency more than we imagined
The unexpected key to overcoming these difficulties was "sound." I was also in charge of noise-reduction tasks at that time, and one day I realized that reducing the sound would also lower power consumption. So from that point on, we specifically focused on the "sound" approach. In particular, we looked into the timing belt because it has a significant influence on sound reduction. The belt is made up of various elements (design parameters), including width, thickness, tooth shape, tension, and pulley shape. By changing and combining these various elements, we were able to run a lot of tests to refine the product. I can't begin to count the number of trials we went through in order to hone the belt to an ideal part of the sewing machine. But in the end, we produced a timing belt that produces hardly any noise compared to its predecessors, and actually consumes about 30% less power. I had no idea we could reach that kind of percentage. It wasn't easy by any stretch, and I didn't believe the test results at first, but I remember feeling a great sense of relief when members of our team actually reaffirmed how quiet it was, and that our power consumption issue was solved.
We continue to refine this product because of its value to society
The sewing machine has been an important product to Brother since its founding, and as an employee I want to increase awareness of how fun our sewing machines can be. I want our customers to experience the wonderful feeling of accomplishment it brings to create by sewing. And by increasing the max rotation speed and significantly cutting energy consumption with this product, I believe those who use our sewing machines for everyday tasks will be very satisfied. But now that we've come this far, a new problem has surfaced. There are still a lot of unknowns to our approach in developing low-energy timing belts. So much potential for improvement is still there, which can be attained by increasing the speed and level of comfort offered by our future models. We will continue to refine our sewing machines for convenience and remarkable functionality, as well as eco-friendly and wallet-friendly reasons.
Since Brother was founded, we have continuously refined our sewing machine technologies.As a result, we now offer a home machine with a faster maximum rotation speed than ever before.
We've built a better sewing machine by increasing rotation speed and decreasing power consumption, features that normally run contrary to one another.
- 10/3/2014 We’ve built a better home sewing machine by increasing rotation speed and decreasing power consumption, features that normally run contrary to one another – “Low-noise belt drive”