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What is the best kind of heat press?

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The most important thing to look for in a heat press is its ability to provide consistently even temperatures across the platen. One of the most frequent causes of misapplied transfers is cold spots in the platen. Cold spots occur when there is not enough heating element used in the manufacturing of the platen, or if there is a short or disconnect in the heating element within the platen. The best designs have 180 inches of cal rod heating element placed closely together throughout the platen.
In addition to providing even heat, a heat press must be designed to accurately control the temperature. When you apply transfers, proper application temperature is essential to the success of the finished garment. If you apply a transfer with too little heat, the adhesives needed to hold the graphic to the garment may not be activated. If you apply a transfer with too much heat, the adhesives may be pushed out beyond the edges of the image and cause an undesired outline or smearing. Excessive heat can also cause "strike-through", which reduces the opacity of a graphic. Hotronix® presses measure platen temperature through the use of an RTD or Resistive Temperature Device. This platinum-coated device ensures accuracy by measuring platen temperature 60 times per second. It is technology borrowed from the space industry. Other machines use bi-metallic thermostats, which are not as accurate and have a tendency to overheat, break and need replacement.

The key to even pressure is the way the upper platen is engineered. Look for a press that provides centralized pressure.

You want to make sure that you can easily slide garments on and off your heat press without burning your arms and hands and without damaging the garments on screws or greasy bolts. The clam has a wide 65 degree opening, which is 10% wider than most other clam-style presses available today. This allows for safer, easier positioning of the garment on the lower platen, as well as safer positioning of transfers and other graphics.

Even if you apply just one transfer a day, working with a press that is difficult to open and close is no fun. The more transfers you apply, the more important this feature becomes. The best presses have been engineered with precision machined pivot assemblies to ensure no jerking or jarring when you open the press. It's the smoothest press you'll ever operate. If you've operated a heat press before that "pops" or "jumps" when you open it, you'll really appreciate the smooth operation of a Hotronix®. Many Hotronix® presses are available with an "auto-opening" feature, which means the press opens without the help of an operator once the heat cycle is complete.

Once you determine a time and temperature that works for the transfers and graphics you apply most often, you want to make sure that you are able to replicate the settings exactly, every time you print. If you're using a manual or bell timer, and a dial thermostat, this is not always possible. There is always margin for error with manual timers and temperature dials, which is why Hotronix lets you control both time and temperature with digital precision. You can set the temperature and time to your desired settings time and time again, with the same, consistent results.

When choosing a press, examine your workspace first. For a clamshell model, you will need at least 2 feet of counter space, if you are considering a swing-away model, at least 3 feet. It is a good idea to have room next to the press to layout the garment and to place finished garments.

If you are printing long production runs, you need a press that will maintain consistent heat and accurate temperatures. Some machines don't maintain platen temperature, due to a thin platen that loses heat, poor insulation, or some other design flaw. The best presses have thick platens that retain heat transfer after transfer, and the digital readout accurately reflects the platen temperature, so you can be confident that you'll get consistent results, time after time. High-volume customers have reported using hot tronix presses to print over 1,000 garments without a single ruined garment. Operator fatigue is also kept to a minimum due easy open/easy close design.

Before you purchase a heat press, make sure the warranty offers a lifetime guarantee on the heat platen. The best heat presses have both a lifetime platen warranty and a one-year limited warranty on parts and labor. They also feature corrosion-resistant, anodized aluminum framework, which makes it stronger, and a powder-coated, baked-on finish to keep it looking new.

If for some reason, you should experience a problem with your press, or have a question about a particular application, you want to make sure that qualified service representatives are available to help you. Try blog dot targettransfers dot com
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