November '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 83 of 102

Also note that there are more venting regulations with a gas dryer versus an electric dryer. While both types of dryers have to be exhausted out of the building, there are more parameters to consider with gas. It's also critical to know a dryer's electrical requirements relative to the service and wiring in your shop. Smaller dryers run on 220 volts, while bigger models require three-phase power. You have to know your power needs and options ahead of time and what is involved in getting your shop up to code if your choice necessitates changes. Gas dryers in general have a higher price tag. If budget is a major consideration, this also may force a shop into choosing an electric. As a rule, gas costs less to run, but because utilities and local ordinances vary so much from place to place, the amount of savings over electric will vary. There also may be a capital invest- ment in having plumbing or electricity installed to accommodate the dryer. After determining what type of power you'll run, you need to know the dimensions of the area you will put the dryer. This is not just a matter of square footage, but also the shape. Some dryers are long and narrow, others are short and wide. What will work best for your NEW DEVELOPMENTS S ome of the most significant improvements in dryers have come about, at least in part, because of two evolving trends in screen printing. The first trend is the demand in retail and fashion markets for the softest pos- sible garments, which includes not only the shirt, but the hand of the print as well. The other trend that printers have had to adapt to is a greater range of delicate and heat-sensitive fabrics, such as 100 percent polyester performance wear, burnout, and nylon mesh. The days of printing only on 100 percent cotton and 50/50 T-shirts have passed. In the earliest days of these trends, it was mostly high-volume shops that had the resources to do the research and development to discover which inks and techniques produced the softest hand and would cure at lower temperatures. Large shops with a bigger capital budget were already using gas ovens for curing, and it turned out that gas was great for curing these types of jobs because of the "softer" heat. Today, these trends are well established and have be- come somewhat of a standard. Consequently, shops of all sizes have had to learn how to use water-base, discharge, and low-temp inks. What hasn't changed is the higher price of a gas dryer which can price-out small to midsize shops. What's more, many shops don't have the space for a larger gas dryer, and others may not be located in an area where they can get gas. This has forced printers to learn how to cure these inks, which tend to be less-for- giving than plastisol with the "harder" heat put out by electric dryers. The good news is that in recent years, manufacturers have responded by making electric dryers with more control to allow printers to successfully cure any kind of ink and make them more versatile than in the past. For example, the latest electric dryers now provide easier, more efficient alternatives for adjusting temperature and belt speed, both of which are needed for drying delicate substrates and water-based inks. Manufacturers have also incorporated a variety of new and improved technologies and approaches in electric dryers. Efforts include: • More fans for increased air flow. • Higher wattage or voltage panels which provide more control over temperatures. In the past, electric dryers had little to no control over heat. Many compact elec- tric dryers had nothing more than an on/off switch, and the only way to control temperatures on larger models was to speed up the belt. • Better motors with greater gear ratio ranges. These have allowed for a wider range of belt speeds than ever before. • An adjustable heating element. The heat element can be moved up or down bringing it closer or fur- ther away depending on the substrate. For instance, you might want to lower it to cure hat bills and move it farther away to cure a woman's burnout top. 2 0 1 5 N O V E M B E R P R I N T W E A R || 79 continued on page 95

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