Start Here November '21

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14 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 1 A s processes such as heat transfer and sublimation have grown in popularity to customize both hard and soft substrates, improvements in the equipment have also increased. When it comes to the heat press itself, changes have been made to size availability, quality, and even substrates that can be pressed. From specialty presses to clamshells and more, heat presses have become a must-have piece of equipment for most graphics businesses. Major Changes It might seem like the heat press is a simple piece of equipment, but when you start looking at features such as temperature control, pressure, platens, and even specialty designs like mug presses, it's clear that these are more than just a heating device. "The major changes in heat presses over the last few years have been in size, quality, and product range," states Aaron Knight, Geo Knight & Company Inc. Knight notes that a lot of factors have come into play when it comes to the changes these machines have seen. "The quality of heat presses over the past few years has actually plummeted, with the advent of a plethora of competing overseas machines competing with each other for the low-end cost range of machines," he believes. "Sub- sequently, an industry reaction to that product market has been to depend far more exclusively on USA-made equipment that has immediate and thorough product support available, and the ability to keep machines up and running for many years of heavy use." "Integrated digital controls are now almost uniformly incorporated in all but the most basic presses," adds Henri Coƫme, HIX. "This has provided the user with better control over temperature, time, and pressure and made it easier to achieve repeatable results." On the size side of the equation, there are also some emerging trends and changes happening. "An explosion of large-format sublimation full-color printing onto textiles and metals has caused large-format heat presses to increase in popu- Heat Press Updates in machines mean more options for decorators By Cassie Green Cassie Green is the former executive editor of GRAPHICS PRO magazine, and previously served as the editor for A&E magazine. HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT When both large quantities and size of substrates are a requirement, only large-format presses can do the job. (Image courtesy HIX) There are a variety of heat presses currently available, including swing- away and clamshell. (Image courtesy Geo Knight & Co. Inc.) Heat Press

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