Though the FireFly is often paired with our Synergy for DTG production, the system was originally designed for screen print applications. At the time the product was developed, the athletic printing world was challenged with an influx of polyester garments that had a high level of bleed issues using standard curing technology. Additionally, water base and discharge printing was on the rise and typical electric ovens did not offer enough air flow to cure these inks effectively. The FireFly offers unheard of solutions to both of these issues.
Ink manufacturers have developed dyno-gray inks to block dye migration in the polyester garments. These are pricey and add one more color to many designs. We have seen one job that appeared to be 2 colors actually be 3, but needed to be printed on an 18 head press to get the best results. The Firefly allowed for the removal of the dyno-gray because the system is in full control and is responsive of garment temperature throughout the curing chamber.
How does the FireFly do this? Thermal imaging cameras monitor the temperature of the ink and the garment with constant feedback to the software. This feedback directs the controls of the quartz heaters to constantly modify their heat to keep the shirt within required parameters. This control keeps the shirt below the dye migration temperature.
Also, the water based inks and discharge inks require large amounts of air for each garment as well as the solid control of garment temperature. Air flow within the chamber is specified to each garment and is separate from the heat directed on the garment. This allows for rapid evacuation of water vapor as well a quick cure of the ink.
Brown is thrilled with the connection of the FireFly in the DTG world. But we are equally pleased with the long term reliability and curing diversity that the unit has provided our screen print customers. Multi-variate printing is the mainstay of this system. And that is the screen print world.