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Baubles, Bangles, and Bolt-Ons

(November 2006) posted on Mon Nov 27, 2006

Review the range of add-ons for automatic garment presses available today and where you can get them.

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By Mike Ukena

The automatic garment press is a serious tool on its own, but many garment screen printers have found that accessorizing a machine with the right add-ons can yield a truly customized production powerhouse that closely fits their needs. The number and type of accessories available for automatic presses is extensive and growing all the time.

Just a few years ago, only a couple of manufacturers dealt in flash-curing units, unique platens, and other add-ons. We now have many different sources. They include companies that manufacture presses (identified as "machine manufacturers" in the following sections), companies that build presses and equipment that will fit other manufacturers' presses ("other manufacturers"), and those that specialize in making add-ons for presses but do not manufacture presses ("aftermarket").

Our focus here will be on the different types of accessories that can improve your automatic press's productivity, expand its capabilities, and enhance efficiency on your production floor. Each category presented in this article will identify the types of manufacturers that produce these devices and discuss the functions and features of the equipment. Let's start with the most common and crucial types of accessories.

Flash-curing units

Sources: machine manufacturers, other manufacturers, aftermarket

I doubt anyone would consider buying an automatic press without at least one flash-curing unit. The types available have increased dramatically in the past few years. There are infrared (IR) on/off flashes, IR thermostat-controlled flashes, and quartz flashes. There are flashes that fit in the head itself (Figure 1) and types that sit on a stand and do not attach to the press. And some flashes can be integrated into the press's control system.

Flash units are almost as important as the printing press itself. And, in my opinion, you should buy the best that you can afford. A cheap flash on a $100,000 press does not make much sense, though I've seen expensive machines with inexpensive manual flashes stuck into a print station. This type of on/off unit requires the printers to remember to rotate the platens out from under the flash every time they stop to avoid burning a shirt or a platen.


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