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 5 diation to rapidly raise the temperature of the ink (not the air in the heating cham- ber) to evaporate moisture as the garment is conveyed. Some infrared conveyor dryers, such as the Vastex LittleRed X2D and X3D mod- els, are designed specifically for DTG ap- plications and feature a preheating zone that boosts the ink to its ideal evaporation temperature of approximately 320 F in the first several inches of conveyor travel, maxi- mizing the amount of conveyor travel dur- ing which evaporation occurs at the greatest rate. This allows the highest possible con- veyor belt speeds, maximizing the rate at which garments can be dried before exiting the heating chamber. The efficiency afforded by DTG-specific infrared conveyor dryers can benefit the pretreatment phase of the DTG process by drying pretreated garments faster than using a heat press or flash cure unit. This also relegates the heat press to flattening of raised fibers prior to printing, accomplished in a one second touch per garment. Drying of the DTG-printed image also benefits from the speed and efficiency of a DTG-specific infrared conveyor dryer, which preserves the quality of the printed image while eliminating a capacity bottle- neck that is common in DTG applications. This is the case with Kornit machines that pretreat and print with no drying in be- tween, producing a wet image area requir- ing a correspondingly larger dryer to match the output of the printer. DRYER APPLICATIONS Dryer applications vary by DTG method, volume, budget, and desired quality. For most DTG printing businesses, the produc- tion process involves several steps: spraying pretreatment, drying pretreatment, flatten- ing fibers, inkjet printing of the garment, and drying of the printed garment. The selection of a heat press, flash cure unit or conveyor dryer, alone or in combination, should hinge on your anticipated volume, budget, and desired quality. GP MARK VASILANTONE, president of Vastex Interna- tional Inc., purchased the company in 1999 from his father and Vastex founder, Michael Vasilantone. Mark has since more than quadrupled sales worldwide and continued to revolutionize the design and performance of Vastex equipment. In 2017, he oversaw the completion of the company's purpose-built manufacturing facility and world headquarters in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

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