October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Printwear 2013 Q&A Screen Printing threshold here is about 275°F. If the garment melts or shrinks dramatically at this temperature or lower, you will be out of luck as far as direct screen printing goes. If it melts at 300°F or higher, you have a good chance at success. And, if it can withstand temperatures up to 330°F or higher, you are in great shape. Once you've determined that the garment can withstand the heat for screen printing, look at what the blend or content is. This will determine which ink you should use. Polyesters and polyester blends require a low bleed ink. If the garment has a stretchable fabric in it as well (such as elasticine or spandex), proceed with caution. Try to choose a poly ink that already has good stretch characteristics. Where bleed blocking inks are concerned, it's always better to avoid additives if possible. Finally, lower-fusing poly inks are better because the garment won't get hot enough to bleed in the first place. Be sure that the garments you print on will accept inks. Some anti-wicking and dry fit blends Heat is your enemy and time is your have coatings on the material that inhibits ink adhesion. In some cases, a catalyst will help, friend. When printing on garments most but not always. (Image courtesy International Coatings) likely to bleed, such as reds or maroons, it is always best to use the lowest heat setting possible on your dryer, even if it takes a longer time for the garCall them and ask about service on the install and after. This ment to cure. A short blast of high heat is enough to release the will be the decision maker for you. Another point to consider is polyester dye and ruin the garment. A longer blast of lower heat that moving from manual textile printing to auto is a totally difis the preferable route to take. ferent mindset from a planning and execution standpoint. Once the garments have been run through the dryer, get them Greg Kitson, Mind's Eye Graphics, Inc. cool as quickly as possible. Do not stack them while they are still warm. This retains the heat and will only excite the polyester dye molecules. What is the best way to check the temperature in my Lastly, check that the ink will adhere to the garment. Some of the textile conveyor dryer? anti-wicking and dry fit blends have coatings on the It is more important to know the temperature of your ink (on material that inhibits ink adhesion. In some cases, a the garment) as it exits the dryer than it is to know the temperacatalyst will help, but not always. This is true also of ture inside the dryer. It's very difficult to find a spot inside the some types of polyester athletic garments. oven to take a temperature reading—there are hot spots inside electric infrared (IR) dryers and, in gas ovens, there is moving air Ed Branigan, International Coatings to contend with. What is important to know is the temperature of the ink as it exits the oven section. Here are a few proven methods: I am looking to make the switch to an automated press. •Temperature tapes. They may be old school, but are very efWhat brand do you recommend, and what options do fective because the temperature tape travels through the oven you think are best? with the garment. Are you a Coke or a Pepsi drinker? Do you drive a Ford or a •IR gun. Every shop needs a thermal ray gun, in my opinion, Honda? Get the picture? When you talk to equipment vendors, but it's also important to know how to use it. The proper way let them talk about their features and benefits until you are overis to point the temp gun as far inside the exit end of the oven whelmed. Then ask for owners who bought that machine model. 84 | Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 84 October 2013 9/18/13 11:54 AM

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