Filtrabox Micro DTF and CompactX DTF portable fume extractors

[L-R] The Micro DTF and CompactX DTF portable fume extractors from Filtrabox

Why you should use a fume extractor with your DTF printers

It’s now possible to build a versatile personalisation business solely based on direct-to-film (DTF) transfer printing, which can produce high-quality, robust, custom transfers for T-shirts – or virtually any textile product – quickly, points out Filtrabox.

The company adds that if you’ve done your research, you probably already know that to get started you’ll need these basic DTF components:

■ A DTF printer
■ Specialised inks
■ Hotmelt adhesive powder,
■ A DTF oven to cure the ink and adhesive powder on the film
■ A heat press

However, what you may not know is that there is a missing ingredient!

“It’s no secret, but it’s often overlooked: a DTF-specific fume extractor.”

Why do I need a DTF fume extractor?

The answer lies in the inks. The inks contain a special mixture of water, glycol and pigment. These inks must be cured on the transfer film by running the printed film through a DTF oven. The heat from the oven drives the moisture out from the ink and film, creating a dense fog.

The fog is made up of tiny droplets of the water/glycol mixture. “It can cause irritation to the eyes and skin and it is best to avoid inhaling it,” Filtrabox advises.

“The fog can stay in suspension in the air for a long time, but when it does settle on a surface, it leaves an oil-like residue that can be clear, amber or even brown in colour.”

The fog can cause issues in your print shop in two areas:

■ In the working environment
■ In the oven

“A safer and cleaner work environment is good for everyone. Don’t let the gloomy fog bring your good spirits and productivity down!”

You can avoid staff complaints and reduce clean-up time with a DTF fume extractor. The extractor pulls the fog straight out of the oven and filters the tiny droplets out of the airstream with high-capacity HEPA filters, recirculating clean, purified air back into the workspace.

By pulling the fog straight from the oven, the extractor also reduces the accumulation of the oil-like residue inside the oven. “The accumulated residue can drip from panels in the oven, ruining prints, which is a frustrating waste of time and money,” Filtrabox points out.

How a Filtrabox fume extractor works

How a Filtrabox fume extractor works

What to look for in a DTF fume extractor

The fog is made up of tiny liquid droplets, so the filters need to be compatible with moisture and strong enough to resist the extra load. Synthetic filter fibres and hydrophobic HEPAs are necessary for DTF applications, advises Filtrabox.

“For high-volume production, you might want to look for an extractor with a large foam pre-filter. This will hold onto a lot of the extra liquid from the airstream.

“There might be some mild odours too, so an activated carbon filter to reduce the smell is a good idea.

“In addition, the fume extractor should have a reverse-flow configuration. Reverse-flow means that the air flows through the extractor in such a way that the filters can drip accumulated liquid down in the opposite direction to the airflow–without allowing liquid to enter the blower. Alternatively, look for an extractor that has a liquid compatible blower.”

The different parts found in Filtrabox’s CompactX DTF portable fume extractor, which is ideal for those using roll-to-roll DTF systems

The different parts found in Filtrabox’s CompactX DTF portable fume extractor, which is ideal for those using roll-to-roll DTF systems

Filtrabox advises that whichever system you choose, having proper DTF fume extraction will make you more productive. It will also likely make you feel better, both physically and mentally – “creating a safer and cleaner work environment for yourself and your staff is always the right thing to do”.

Check out the Filtrabox full range of DTF-specific fume extractors on the company’s website.