Transmatic’s Carosello heat press takes a leaf out of the screen printing machinery manual with its multi-head automatic carousel format, and is capable of printing up to 8,000 transfers a day. Magnus Mighall, of RA Smart, provides the details

The Carosello – Transmatic’s high volume automatic carousel heat press

Your transfer printing operation is taking off, orders are flooding in, and your heat press operators are working their clam-shells and swing-aways to the limits to get the jobs out of the door. Yet you’re still struggling to keep up with the demand. It’s a nice problem to have; however, further investment is urgently required if you are to manage your order book and fully capitalise on your sales opportunities. But before you break out the chequebook and add a further bank of desktop heat presses to your arsenal you might want to pause and give RA Smart a call.

There is an alternative option that has been custom designed and manufactured to meet the needs of high volume transfer printers, and it’s called the Carosello.

Independently controlled pressing stations

Made by Italian heat press specialists Transmatic, the Carosello CA 1000 is an automatic carousel heat transfer printer, offering 4, 6 or 8 independently controlled pressing stations. The machine’s format will be instantly familiar to any garment printer and sits comfortably in a high volume printshop environment. The press can be used to print all kinds of heat transfers: the standard plate measures 50×40 cm – ideal for pressing bags and T-shirts – and other platen sizes are available for different products/substrates.

The Carosello can be operated either by foot pedal, or in automatic mode with programmable index time (from 2 to 60 seconds). The machine’s drive system employs a large AC inverter motor with a gearbox – there are no chains or sprockets; time, temperature and pressure may be set individually on each of the six press heads; and the bottom loading platen indexes in/out of the heat zone for ease of on-loading and off-loading of the garments and transfer paper.

Versatility and speed

Details aside, the reason to buy a Carosello is simple – its speed. This machine is fast: Transmatic reports that three operators working an 8-colour Carosello, with a dwell time of 15 seconds and a rotation speed of 3 seconds, can transfer print up to 8,000 T-shirts per day.

Magnus Mighall, of RA Smart, Transmatic’s UK dealer, expands on the figures. “In automatic mode, speed is governed by the application – for example, a sublimation print will require approximately 30-40 seconds dwell (pressing) time, while a transfer operation will require a 10-12 second operation, so the dwell time is taking place during the rotation of the machine. We would expect a 6-station machine running a transfer process of 12 seconds with 2 operators loading/unloading to be producing approximately 5 units per minute, or 300 units per hour.”

Magnus points out that because the press heads are fully programmable individually, different processes can be used on the machine at the same time – different dwell times, temperatures, pressures and so on – making the Carosello as versatile as it is fast. He adds that the machine is not only versatile it is also space saving when compared with the number of desktop presses that would be required to match the Carosello’s output.

4,000 bags a day

John Booth, director of Booth Brothers, has installed Carosellos in the company’s South Yorkshire factory for printing onto bags, and has been greatly impressed by the machine’s speed. He comments: “With two operators we get around 500 bags an hour, which is comparable to an automatic screen printing press. In productivity terms it’s better than two people using a side by side (desktop) heat press: they would probably do 1,500 bags a day whereas two operators on a carousel print close to 4,000 bags a day.

“The carousel is best suited to higher volume, ‘easy’ work – cotton shoppers and other flat bags. It would be ideal for printing T-shirts, although we’re not involved in that. Quantities over 200 we would normally print on the carousel. For smaller quantities of 50-100, or for fiddly jobs – printing onto rucksacks, for example – we would use twin platen side-by-side presses. It is easier to keep a rucksack static on a side-by-side press.

“It’s a very good machine. I’ve visited the factory and the machine is very well-made. When our screen print guys go onto the Carosello they don’t want to go back to the screen printing presses – they don’t want to leave!”

French printer, Pub OS is another Carosello user that’s full of praise for the machine. The company has recently recorded a video of its carousel in action:

Pricing on the Carosello automatic carousel heat press starts at approximately £28,000 for a 4-head machine. Contact Magnus Mighall for further details.

The Pub OS Carosello printing bags at the C!Print 2015 show in Lyon, France