Machine: Panther 700 Texitunnel Conveyor Dryer

Supplied by: Dave Roper

Steve Barrow – Screen printer

Tell us a bit about your business
We do a lot of contract printing and embroidery work. We also do lots of workwear, the occasional one-off for customers that come through the door, lots for dance troupes and things like that. We offer vinyl, screen printing and embroidery.

What is the latest dryer that you’ve bought, and when did you buy it?
The Panther 700 Texitunnel Conveyor Dryer, we’ve had it a couple of months. Before, we only used spot curing using little flash curing dryers. When I came here I said it would be much easier with a tunnel dryer, so we made room for it and installed one. We’ve used Dave Roper now for a while and this is the one that fitted – we couldn’t have one too big because we’re a small unit, although we’re looking to move to bigger premises as we’re expanding.

What are its main advantages?
Consistency: getting the right temperature and the right belt speed and just making sure the ink is cured properly. With a spot dryer, you get such an intense heat for ten seconds. With the Texitunnel the ink is under there for 15, 20 seconds and you know the heat is even because of all the elements in the top. You can also adjust the height of the elements so you’ve just got more control over it.

What’s it like to use?
The dryer is electric, so you can just plug it in and off you go. We spent a day testing it with different types of garments: garments with different cotton contents and polyesters and also hi-vis vests – obviously the vests melt if you put them through at the same temperature as a T-shirt, so you’ve got to be careful. We always do a scratch test on everything we print to make sure that the ink is cured properly.

What sort of inks do you use?
Mainly plastisol.

How many garments can go through the dryer in an hour?
It depends on what you’re printing. If it’s a simple one-colour you could do a few hundred an hour.

What would be your advice to other printers thinking of buying a textile tunnel dryer?
Get the biggest one you can! You don’t need an expensive one because they all do the same thing, they just get to a certain heat and that’s it. You don’t need to spend thousands; this was one of the cheaper ones and it’s absolutely fine. You’ve got so much adjustability on it because you can adjust the height of the elements, and you can put something through up to 6 inches high if you really need to.

With the Texitunnel the ink is under there for 15, 20 seconds and you know the heat is even because of all the elements in the top