November '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 28 of 102

24 || P R I N T W E A R N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 5 Wayne Potter has more than 25 years of experience in the screen, lithographic, and gravure printing of heat transfers and industrial marking devices. He is a pio- neer in the area of digital heat transfer papers. Potter has spent most of his career in sales, developing new business, managing marketing, and writing technical trouble-shooting articles. Up through early 2012, he was vice president marketing development at Air Waves Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. Currently, he is senior sales executive for Joto. GRAPHICS HOT SPOT B Y W A Y N E P O T T E R A Well Laid Path Follow instructions for the best transfers possible P ractically everyone has heard of The Wizard of Oz and Dor- othy's story: The Yellow Brick Road guides young Dorothy and her friends to the Emerald City where opportunities await. The business road is a magical real world journey as well. In the real world, the business road is filled with promise of profit and hidden perils. Your tireless pursuit of customer satisfaction can run smoothly or you can stumble on every cobblestone along the way, especially when it comes to decorating with heat-applied graphics. On one hand, apparel decorating can be fun. On the other, it can lead to countless hours spent diagnosing what went wrong. My experience in our industry tells me most problems could be avoided if everyone took a little more time to work a daily checklist and read the manufacturer's instructions. TESTING, TESTING Like the process of changing rock into priceless diamonds, heat-ap- plied graphics require heat, pressure, and time to turn a transfer pa- per into a decoration gem. Long before you ever attempt to image and apply your first heat transfer, take a good look at one of the most important assets in your business: your heat transfer machine. Good applications are made at the heat transfer machine, which is why it should be maintained and tested to ensure it is in tip-top condition. To do so, you should first make a thorough me- chanical inspection: • Look for loose parts or shields hang- ing or falling off your machine. If you find any, repair or replace them, if for no reason other than the fact that OSHA pays specific attention to this during inspections. • Is the pad on the lower platen clean and in good shape? Are there any gouges or digs in the rubber? Does the rubber appear to be spongy, without hard spots? Also note whether the pad is loose. If there is any question about the lower platen rubber, contact the machine manufacturer and purchase a new pad. New pads are easy to install and well worth the effort. Without a good pad you will not have ade- quate, even pressure for application of any heat transfer. • Look at the mechanical linkage for any lubrication points. Dry lube points should be oiled as metal-on-metal without grease will shorten machine life and perhaps result in bad pressure. A high-temperature grease will ensure it stays in place in a hot machine environment. Next, move on to do an electrical inspection: • Pay specific attention to the electrical connections between both the wall outlet and the control connections to the platen. If any of the insulation material is frayed or broken, replace it. Examine the electrical plug for a missing ground prong. I Countless hours go into product R&D to come up with product instructions. It's important not to sim- ply disregard this information if you want best results. (Images courtesy the author)

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