Types of equipment for heat transfer

Heat transfer is a type of printing process that uses heat to apply screen printed or digital heat transfer designs onto garments such as bags, hoodies, t-shirts, and other garments. Heat transfer printing equipment is used to carry out this process. When selecting heat transfer equipment, there are several models, all with different features you have to choose. This choice can be quite overwhelming as each machine can make a difference in your overall productivity. While other factors such as price play an important role, knowing the various models available can help you make the right choice. 

Automatic “Spring Loaded” Release

This model uses a clamshell swing-up platen which doesn’t need an air compressor to power it. It uses a locking spring mechanism which is released automatically when the timer is up. You must, however, use push down on the upper platen to lock it into place; it doesn’t automatically go down. What’s great about this model is the clamshell design takes up less space, making it ideal for small workspaces. 

Pneumatic Auto Close & Release Machine

This model is powered by an air compressor which is located at the back of the machine. You simply load the platen with the fabric or garment you want to print and push the 2 safety buttons on the machine. The device’s platen automatically lowers for the preset time and then automatically raises. What’s great about this machine is it automatically raises and lowers the platen, and so you experience less fatigue while using it. It provides consistent pressure, adapts to buttons, zippers, and heavy fabrics such as fleece.  

Manual Release Heat Transfer Equipment

This is a manual swing-a-way model that allows for easy loading and unloading. You must lock down the upper heat platen, and when the timer runs out, it will make an audible sound so you can raise it. Being an all-manual device, it requires some physical effort to lower and raise the platen. However, it is great for short-run orders, and some models have interchangeable lower platens you can switch out for shoes, bags, etc. 

How to use heat transfer machines

You can use any of these presses to make heat transfers both for wholesale or retail use. To apply plastisol heat transfers, you need a machine that can provide over 50 pounds of pressure at about 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Here’s the application process for several materials.

Cotton – temperature range 375 – 385 degrees Fahrenheit, dwell time 7 – 10 seconds, pressure 45 – 50 PSI; once the timer runs out, peel the transfer off immediately after raising the heat platen.

Polyester athletic material – temperature range 325 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can be lower for tote bags, dwell time 7 – 10 seconds, pressure 45 – 50 PSI, once the timer runs out peel the transfer off immediately after raising the heat platen. 

Aqua color HD transfers – temperature range 285 – 295 degrees Fahrenheit, dwell time 12 seconds, pressure 40 – 45 PSI; once the timer runs out, wait until it’s completely cool before peeling the film away.

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