November '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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72 || P R I N T W E A R N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 5 Troubleshooting Flash-Curing B Y J O E C L A R K E TheFlash! TheFlash! I t'd be rare, if not impossible, to find a screen printer that would say, "I sure hope we get to flash a lot of shirts today!" One rea- son for the adverse reaction to this common practice might be be- cause flash units are as complex as the Tesla death-ray and as mysterious as the memory neuralyzer from the movie Men in Black, but way more temper- amental than both. And then there's the litany of options. Do I preheat the platens? What's the dryer exit tempera- ture? How is the humidity in the shop today? Is the zippered hoodie heat sen- sitive? What about the mesh, thread, tension, stencil EOM, and blade set- tings? What ink are we going to use? With all of these variables, perhaps we should first reach consensus on the most penetrating question: "Why does man flash?" WHY BOTHER? When industrial, graphics, or elec- tronics printers tell me how difficult it is to print on their particular substrate, I point directly to the substrate. We concurrently print halftones and solids on varying ratios of 1) highly textured, low fabric mass, absorbent poly-cot- ton, 2) low-energy non-absorbent vi- nyl, 3) higher-energy textured vinyl, and 4) wet ink. Joe Clarke has spent the past 45 years in the lab and engineering de- partment in prepress and on press as a research and development and technical researcher as well as a man- ager of screen print production. He has received a number of print-related patents and is a member of The Academy of Screen and Digital Printing Technologies and a Specialty Graphic Imaging Associa- tion fellow. Clarke has presented hundreds of papers, written a couple books, and published more than 600 technical and man- agement articles for which he has earned numerous industry awards. Currently, he is president of Clarke Product Renovation, a Chicago-based corporation that brings product and process technology to the screen printing industry. He contributes fea- ture articles on textile screen printing exclusively to Printwear. Reach him at ■ Intermediate ◆ Advanced

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