December '20

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 0 D E C E M B E R G R A P H I C S P R O 7 3 However, a heat press typically requires 30 to 45 seconds to dry the pretreatment, plus an additional 30 to 45 seconds if it is also used to dry the printed image. Both wait times require an operator's attention unless the heat press is equipped with an auto-release. Perhaps the most significant downside of drying printed images using a heat press is the visual result. While flattening of raised fibers benefits the pretreating portion of the DTG process, it also flattens the print- ed image, creating a shiny, too-smooth, ironed-on appearance that fails to repro- duce the depth and vibrancy of the original art. Heat presses may also leave an impres- sion, or halo, around the image that can impair the appearance and salability of the printed garment. As a result, heat presses are generally used for both drying of pretreatment and of the printed image only by beginner DTG print shops with low volumes, budget con- straints, and space limitations that outweigh quality concerns. Conventional DTG printers with low- medium to high capacity requirements also rely on heat presses, but only to quickly flat- ten pretreated fabrics that have previously been dried using a flash cure unit or, more commonly, an infrared conveyor dryer. MACHINES THAT ELIMINATE HEAT PRESS FLATTENING OF FIBERS Unlike stand-alone DTG inkjet printers, high-capacity-type machines both pretreat and print with no drying in between by first spraying the fabric with pretreatment and then passing it under a plastic squeegee that

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