Screen Printing Flash Cure Units
A Screen Printing Flash Cure is usually purchased at a certain size in screen printing. Although they should actually already belong in the basic assortment of a print shop.
To print on dark T-shirts or to dry colors in between, the flash cure comes into play. It is usually hung on or attached to a printing station.
The task of the flash cure is to dry (gel) screen printing ink so that the next print color can be printed over or next to it. Without lifting the previous color or to avoid mixing them with each other.
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Flash curing equipment has many functions
Mostly used to dry the under-base color, so that the top colors could print wet on wet. This means they gel the base color so that additional layers of paint can be applied without affecting the first layer,
they prevent subsequent layers from absorbing the previously applied colors they prevent subsequent layers from absorbing the previously applied colors.
Or a Flash Cure device can be used before applying a highlight white to dry the rest of the print before the last color.
Flash cure devices even have a place in certain wet-on-wet applications, since above a certain number of wet-on-wet, the printed image can look unclean, we also dry here from time to time between.
Or in wet-on-wet printing, the final color, black border, for example, dials the last color crisp in.
As well, for screen printing presses that cannot hold the registration or even the frames with poor mesh tension, it helps to dry in between.
What flash cures do we have INFRARED VS. QUARTZ ?
Not all flash curing equipment is the same, and the heating elements used in them can vary significantly. While there are several different options, quartz and infrared heaters (opens in a new tab) are the two main types used in flash curing equipment. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, as well as unique maintenance requirements.
Infrared panels used to be the standard for flash curing before the new technology was developed. However, infrared panels take a while to heat up, so they stay on all day, which uses energy and heats up everything around them. That said, infrared flash cures is cheaper than its quartz counterpart and is often the only option for stores without three-phase power, which is why they are still widely used.
Infrared long-term Units
Cal-Rod style flash cure (some call them IR Panel) device that should be familiar to many screen printing companies. These devices have a heat source that stays hot all the time. They are durable and reliable, although they generally have limited features and controls. Most of the time, you can adjust the temperature by using a temperature control knob, or by changing the distance between the device and the garment. Some flash cures have motorized heads that swing away by a time interval or are controlled by a foot pedal. This reduces the risk of burning a garment and allows the ink to gel more evenly. Cal-Rod devices are the least expensive and usually last for years, so you can get the ROI back quickly.
Quartz units are a newer technology. They use slim quartz tubes as a heat source and can be turned on and off almost instantaneously. their power output and dwell times are also easily controlled. Although they consume no power when off, most quartz units require a three-phase power supply. Single-phase quartz units are also available. Quartz devices can also emit different wavelengths from the lamps, depending on the manufacturer.
Also on the market are flash curing units with sensors that measure the temperature of the substrate and switch off when the desired temperature is reached. The latter feature can be particularly useful when curing delicate synthetic fibers.
For Water Based Inks – Flash Cures
A feature of both types of equipment that is ideal for working with water-based inks is the ability to direct a stream of air over the substrate, which accelerates evaporation and allows for shorter flash-off times. Another option is a technology that allows the unit to swivel or otherwise move away from the plate after curing. Pivoting infrared flash curing units are often controlled by timers or foot pedals. These can increase the overall cost of your flash unit, and it does not heat up your platten too much, as this is an important step by printing water Based Inks.
Most flash units, whether they use infrared or quartz elements, are low maintenance and usually only require cleaning. Depending on the type of unit, this can be done in a variety of ways. For example, if you have a quartz device, you need to make sure that all the quartz tubes are in working order. Depending on how the unit is used, you may need to clean the quartz tubes once or twice a month and replace them as needed.
Fans should also be checked, and all height adjustment mechanisms need to be lubricated. The same lubrication and cleaning requirements apply to infrared flash units. However, caution when cleaning infrared units, as they are more easily damaged and do not respond well to rough handling when hot.
What Screen Printing Flash Cure unit to buy
As with any other major piece of equipment, there are several factors that go into choosing the right flash curing equipment for your store and facility. There are certain qualities you should look for when you’re in the market for a flash curing unit, depending on the heat sources your facility needs.
Check what is your budget and then for automation features like temperature control, instant activation, and timers.” When choosing an infrared unit, look at the wattage of the panel. Units with a lower watt output take longer to flash an average job of plastisol ink than units with a higher output. You also need to consider the type of electrical system you have in your store.
For example, if you want to purchase a quartz unit, a three-phase electrical system will help reduce power consumption. Flash curing units often have the highest power consumption in a shop, so this is ideal to keep your electric bill from skyrocketing. Although at first glance the price tag may make it seem that infrared units are less expensive, but be sure they are turned off for extended periods of time, like lunchtime or….
A lower price for an infrared heater alone doesn’t guarantee that overhead won’t make it as expensive as a quartz unit. In fact, it may prove more expensive over time, depending on how long the units are left on. Although a quartz flashlight unit still costs nearly twice as much or more than a similar-sized infrared unit, they use only 40 percent of the energy that an infrared unit uses annually, based on an eight-hour workday.
Even if you have to replace the bulbs in a quartz unit, a constant power draw makes a difference. Buying a flash unit from a well-known brand also has the advantage that you’ll likely have better access to replacement parts and maintenance than with lesser-known or smaller brands if something goes wrong with your flash unit. Which flash curing unit is best for your facility will depend on the plans you have for your business over the next few years. If your screen printing shop consists primarily of manual presses, an infrared unit is a better fit.
Beyond that, however, quartz units should be considered on automatic printing machines, because the power consumption offsets the initial cost. Flash curing equipment is an essential part of any screen printing shop. Many different factors go into choosing the right unit, so you should make this decision carefully based on your shop’s needs and current setup. That way, it will work seamlessly with the rest of your equipment and hopefully help your business in the long run.
Screen Printing Flash Cure freeze the printing
And did you know that there was once a system that, instead of working with heat, simply froze the printing?
Yes, there was indeed such a system, but in the end it was not successful.