Testimonials are a proven way to check whether a machine really lives up to its manufacturer’s hype. Images discovers what printers really think about their dryers
Business: Seen Merchandising
Dryer: Sprint 3000 Modular Gas Dryer from M&R
Screen Merchandising offers printing and embroidery services in Shawnee, Kansas, in the US. In February this year, the company bought a Sprint 3000 Modular Gas Dryer with 60” belt, 8” in-feed, 10” chamber, 8” out-feed. It cost US$42,500, says the owner RL Brooks, and it was replacing a HIX electric dryer.
The company wanted to upgrade to a gas dryer because it was more cost-effective than using an electric one, explains RL. The company was also printing increasing amounts of water-based ink, and the electric dryer wasn’t able to give the initial cure it needed, he adds, nor was it able to keep up with the ever larger production runs. “The size, efficiency and versatility the Sprint 3000 offered and M&R’s long standing reputation of high quality equipment made it the choice for us,” says RL.
“It’s working out really well, and has lived up to our initial expectations. We can run our auto at full tilt with a manual press alongside of it and the cure we are getting is perfect. Our energy costs from [changing from] our electric dryer has cut our energy bill in half. We can also save settings for different garment types and call those settings up with the push of a button and know that we will have consistent cures from past experiences. Also, we really love the temperature probe that comes with the dryer – we can send it down the dryer and see exactly what temperature the ink is hitting on the garment all the way through the process.”
The dryer is, however, very maintenance intensive, RL adds, but it does provide reminders for the various maintenance tasks that must be completed. “For us we really just had to adjust a little bit of our Monday morning schedule to give it the weekly maintenance that is required to keep it running as efficiently as possible. It’s not really a negative, you just have to dedicate weekly, monthly and quarterly maintenance into your shop routine.”
For those thinking of buying it, RL recommends making sure you have enough space and also warns that it is a little loud: “It’s going to make communication between your press operators and anyone behind the dryer a little tougher.” He also advises educating staff thoroughly on the maintenance programme, and to use the right size exhaust piping.
It is the company’s main production dryer and is used 30-35 hours a week. “I would highly recommend it to others – if you want to take your production levels to new heights, this is the dryer for you.”
Business: Mild West Heroes
Dryer: Vastex BigRed Dryer from Dalesway Print Technology
Three years ago Mark Lawson of Mild West Heroes, who produces hand-printed T-shirts in Bristol along with his wife, bought the Vastex BigRed dryer for around £8000, to replace a Panther dryer.
Mark did a lot of research on the internet and questioned the manufacturers before making his choice. “I wanted to print water-based discharge and the physical size of the BigRed – that is, much smaller than the typical water-based dryer – was what swayed me,” he explains. “It’s a fantastic dryer, it’s exceeded my expectations. It has a 25-year guarantee and can cure any ink I put through it (all water-based). It’s expensive, but all being well I’ll never need to buy another dryer.”
The BigRed is used daily, and beyond routine cleaning, it hasn’t needed a service.
He says he would definitely recommend it to others, adding: “If you are a dedicated water-based printer looking for a compact dryer you won’t be disappointed.”
Business: Print Palace
Dryer: Roqtunnel T4518G from Roq
Print Palace in Dortmund, Germany, bought the Roqtunnel dryer for around €35,000 two and a half years ago. Volker Rehdanz of the company reports that it needed to switch to a gas dryer as it was not possible to get enough electricity from its local supplier to meet its printshop’s needs.
Volker describes the dryer as being perfect, explaining it doesn’t use much gas and even after a week of three shifts a day, the surface of the machine is still cold. The Roq dryer processes twice as many items in the same time as the company’s previous Delta Systec dryer, reports Volker, and uses 35% less energy: “Amazing!”
The Roqtunnel is used 24 hours a day, five days a week, and hasn’t yet needed a service, with just the filters being cleaned once a week. Volker highly recommends it.
Dryer: Panther 700L Texitunnel from Wicked Printing Stuff
The Panther 700L was bought by Adlogo in November 2012 for £3600 to replace a heat press that had been used to dry garments, reveals the managing director, Nick Brunton-Reed.
The appeal of the Panther 700L to the digital printing firm in Overstone, Northamptonshire, was its simplicity. “Being D2G printers, high volume was never really an issue,” explains Nick. “We have three Brother GT381s and it keeps up with them fine.” It is working well, he reports, and has lived up to expectations. He recommends it to others, with his advice being to go for the three phase version if possible and to be aware that it can make the room warm despite the exhaust air being vented outside.
It only needs servicing once a year thanks to it being kept clean and, with D2G making up 75% of the company’s work, it is used all day, every day.
Business: T Shirt and Sons
Dryer: Ecotex from Adelco
T Shirt & Sons in Westbury, Wiltshire, says it is the largest direct-to-garment printer in Europe. It has six Kornit printers (with three more on order), along with two Ecotex dryers from Adelco as well as other machinery.
The company bought its first Ecotex three years ago and the second last year, and partner Andrew Lunt says it is planning to buy Adelco’s new mass production, double-storey Duplex dryer later in the year [see Industry news for more information on the Duplex].
T Shirt & Sons bought the Ecotex because, says Andrew, “We believe it’s the best dryer on the market. Adelco knows how to build them and their service is second to none. They’re cleverly designed and a natural marriage for the Kornit. They’re also very efficient: we’ve done some actual on the floor measurements of energy use, as in gas, and they came out very well.”
The dryers are in use 16-24 hours a day, every day, and are properly cleaned by staff on a regular basis.
“For where we are, which is a large volume, high end user, they’re a fantastic machine,” says Andrew.
Business: Xamax Clothing Company
Dryer: Tesoma Drylight 4 Metre Tunnel Dryer (LPG) from MHM Direct
Three years ago Xamax Clothing Company in Ossett, West Yorkshire bought its Tesoma Drylight Dryer and general manager Tony Palmer reports it has exceeded all expectations.
“The efficiency is good, but the running costs are a small part of what impresses the most,” says Tony. “If the profitability of the department was solely reliant on the cost of the gas used then my pricing policy would have to be seriously re-addressed. The Tesoma brand of dryer gives me something that cannot easily be displayed on an Excel spreadsheet: confidence. I know without doubt that the shirts I put down the dryer are cured. I don’t have to worry about variables like workshop temperature or whether someone opened a window in the canteen and now 200 shirts are ruined.
“The only negative I have from the purchase of these machines is the fact that with three Tesomas busily working away I still have the coldest printshop in the UK, despite having no open doorways. This is due to the efficiency of the dryers which make the best use of all the available heat produced.”
The user parts are serviced weekly, and it is used daily on a normal day shift alongside the two other Tesoma dryers at the workwear and promotional clothing company. “There are cheaper dryers on the market, but when you buy a Tesoma you buy the confidence to be able to print and forget,” says Tony. “The dryers have removed the nagging doubt that the shirts are cured. We can say with confidence that all our shirts leave us cured.
When asked if he would recommend it to other printshops, Tony is blunt: “No. They are my competitors!”