Industry experts share their knowledge
Jim Nicol, managing director of TheMagicTouch
Always choose a heat press that is going to suit your particular needs. Swing-away models are great because they give you unobstructed access to the entire platen without having to worry about burning your fingers or hands on the upper element. Swing head models also produce greater pressure and are available as an automatic/pneumatic version, helping to reduce fatigue for the operator in a production scenario.
Clam presses are useful when applying certain types of transfer such as those that are screen or sublimation printed.
John Potter, managing director of MHM Direct GB
The importance of maintenance
Gas dryers in general are very reliable and the majority of breakdowns are actually due to poor maintenance. Put a simple daily and weekly maintenance schedule in place and make a person responsible for carrying out basic routine maintenance such as cleaning filters and so on.
Gas dryers should also be serviced annually without fail by a qualified, commercial Gas Safe engineer and a record kept accordingly.
Andrew Stocking, partner at Dalesway Print Technology
A key component of any electric infrared dryer is the infrared emitter. The quality of the emitter determines both the efficiency and the service life of the dryer. It is also both the most expensive part and the part that’s most likely to fail. Failure could, in some cases (flash cures especially), even mean that the unit has to be replaced.
The best way to determine the quality of the emitter is to ask about the warranty. A manufacturer that is confident in the quality of its product will offer a decent warranty on this part. Vastex offers a 15-year warranty on its emitters and also guarantees the overall units (flash and dryers) for three years against general defects.
Linda Gladwin, fusing supervisor and quality controller at Target Transfers
The power of pre-heat
Pre-heating garments on the heat press ensures any moisture is removed prior to applying transfers, leading to better application and adhesion as well as ironing out any wrinkles.
Grant Cooke, Xpres product development and campaign specialist
The appeal of silicon sheets
Xpres recommends use of silicone application sheets with swing and clam presses. Silicone sheets protect the heat press from wear and tear and additionally prevent textile and sublimation transfers from damaging the heat press by catching excess ink when garments are smaller than the surface of the platen.
Andy Oleson, M&R textile products manager
It’s impossible to get the most out of your dryer without the right temperatures, and the best way to check is with a temperature probe. A sophisticated probe not only records the temperature, it alerts you to dryer-chamber cold spots caused by a failed infrared array or clogged natural gas jet.
Mark Smith, Adelco sales director
The need for digital settings and alarms
Ensure your dryer has digital temperature and belt speed settings. This will enable exact repeat of time and temperature when altering for different ink systems.
Also choose a dryer that has a temperature alarm facility. Operators should be notified of any changes in oven temperature without having to look at the controller readout. A good dryer will also record any temperature alarms with time and date recording.