Learn How To Screen Print With Catspit Productions, LLC
Using A Flash Cure Unit To Do Your Final Cure
When first starting out in screen printing tee shirts for fun or for profit many people shy away from the higher costs of belt dryers in order to keep startup costs down. This is very understandable and sometimes even the space available may affect this decision greatly. Also many people know that a flash cure unit can easily run on standard household electrical outlets meaning there are no extra costs in setting up 220 power for a belt dryer. Therefore the topic of using the flash cure unit for the final cure is a popular topic of discussion among new screen printers. But doing so can make or break you if you do not understand how using the flash cure unit can affect your cure.It is possible to use a flash cure unit to fully cure plastisol inks printed on tee shirts or other garments. But the real issue here is the consistency and the production rates of such a curing process. It is true that any heat source that can raise the temperature of the entire printed plastisol ink layer to around 330 degrees Fahrenheit will cure the ink. The problem with using a small flash cure unit or other small heat generating device is that it is almost impossible to ensure that every part of the printed design will get the same heat for the same duration of time. This problem may be greatly exaggerated when dealing with an order of hundreds of garments.
A common problem encountered when using the flash cure for the final cure is uneven curing especially around the edges. Often times the heating elements in less costly flash cure units do not disperse the heat evenly. This causes parts of the design to be fully cured while other areas are not. The edges of larger designs can be especially difficult to evenly cure with a flash unit. When the garment is washed only certain parts or areas of the design will begin to wash out while other areas may be fine.
With an open heating element such as a flash cure unit, things like drafts, fans or any subtle breezes in the shop may affect the cure. The pallet board itself may reflect different amounts of heat radiation from area to area. You would be surprised at how a little variable in the shop can adversely affect your final cure. Even humidity can be a factor when curing 100% cotton garments. Shirts cured with flash cure units may often have wash out problems in certain areas of the print. I don't mean to make you think you can't do it at all; rather it is impossible to do consistently and efficiently.
It will slow down your production rate drastically. Having to flash cure each shirt individually to finish the final cure is time consuming and takes up more space than you would think when handling the garments. A textile belt oven will solve these issues by providing a consistent curing process while speeding up production. The oven chamber provides for a more stable heating environment and the conveyor belt provides repeatable consistency at an acceptable production rate. I always recommend eliminating any variables in your screen printing process whenever you can.
Using a belt oven will reduce the variables in the curing process to an acceptable minimum. Remember, when working with plastisol inks, the final cure is critical. The last thing you want is a customer to come back to your shop with shirts that are washing out. Even worse, you don't want the customer to be wearing shirts that have washed out partially and telling everyone who printed them. Whenever possible, make sure to get the right tools for the job and it will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Not to mention considerable heartache.