2014 Resource Directory

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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4 4 | Printwear M i d - M a rc h 20 1 4 20 1 4 M i d - M a rc h Printwear | 45 Curing the ink Most people utilize a standard heat press to cure digital inks. The direct contact of the heating platen with the ink surface, in conjunction with some type of Teflon or paper cover, results in a very smooth ink surface. This surface can be shiny, if Teflon is used, or matte when kraft paper is employed. Another option that is gaining popularity is conveyor dryers. Using a conveyor dryer generally results in a much nicer-looking print with a little bit of texture on the ink surface. This rivals a fine textured, screen- printed look and less of the flat, smooth look of a transfer. Keep in mind that curing times are often much longer than with a typical heat press, ranging from several minutes or more for a conveyor dryer versus 30 to 90 seconds with a heat press. No matter the method, it's imperative to ensure the print is cured properly. Poor curing, either from too short a cure time, or even the possible over heating/ curing the ink, can result in poor wash characteristics of the printed image. Cure the garments according to the ink manufacturer's recommendations. They have generally done the testing, so you don't have to figure it out yourself. equipment maintenanCe Maintenance is always an issue. There are always customers that need shirts printed, it is always the end of the day… there's always some excuse not to do the required cleaning and maintenance. All these little things culminate into the equipment eventually not working correctly, or not at all. Adhere to the maintenance schedule recommended for the garment printer and pre-treatment machine. It does take time, and it does cost a little money, but the time spent will help reduce downtime due to lack of maintenance. This downtime actually costs more in the long run than the time it takes to keep the machines running properly. get printing Knowing and understanding the variables in the digital printing process will help you determine where an issue lies when problems appear. Being able to quickly respond to, correct, and get the equipment back up, running, and making money is the key to making digital printing profitable. Expired ink can cause problems with clogging and lead to expensive repair bills. In addition, make sure that your ink is shaken up prior to use each day. This is a must, especially if your printer doesn't have an automatic recirculating system for keeping the ink in suspension. If the inks separate out, you may not achieve a bright white ink laydown. Also consider that, if you leave ink in the printer lines for an extended period of time, it could also separate, or precipitate out, causing the same issue until new ink is introduced and fills the ink lines. know Your maChine Knowing how your artwork and printer work is key if you want to print great- looking shirts versus one that looks like every other shirt on the market. Many printers have drivers or RIP software used to interface between the computer and the printer. Using the standard default settings usually achieves satisfactory results. However, taking the time to really understand how the artwork and RIP interact will help you achieve better-than- average results. Do you need to bump up the contrast for this type of artwork to help make the colors "pop" a little more? Do you need to check to make sure that the correct color in the art program is selected so that it properly prints white ink where you want white ink and not just let the shirt show through? These are just a couple of the many "artwork" questions you will face. To print white, you need to know how to make the proper adjustments so the RIP/ driver knows that it has to print white ink in those locations. This takes time, patience and a lot of practice. But, once you master the artwork/printer interface, the sky is the limit. cleaning the capping station and wip- ers are extremely important preven- tive maintenance procedures. Failure to regularly keep these items clean can result in dried out heads, clogged nozzles and lots of headaches. (all im- ages courtesy the author) How To... geT good digiTal resulTs PW_MidMarch14.indd 44 2/28/14 1:23 PM

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