Friday, July 19, 2013

Our engineers do it again!

It is exciting when new technology takes a foothold in our industry.  The garment decorating business has been changed in the last 10 years by the strong emergence of the direct-to-garment digital printing.  This technology is presenting new challenges to the shop floor.  What makes this so exciting is that our engineers are presented with the challenge of creating something new to solve problems.

They don't get to do that very often in the garment decorating business.

So what is so different?

The requirements of the digital printing world are similar to the ones demanded by discharge printing and water-based printing.  These technologies have been around for years but, until recently, they have not been major factors on the production floor.

With the expansion of digital printing as serious production machines, the needs of the high-volume shop have shifted.  This is where the learning begins.  Our engineers have had to file away all of their knowledge of curing plastisol inks and delve into the problems associated with water-based curing.

Problems, you say?  No.  Challenges are a better definition.  Or maybe, in engineer speak, new parameters such as:

  • longer cure times
  • wet garments that are hard to get to temperature
  • scorching issues of 100% cotton
  • shrinking of 100% cotton
  • water vapor evacuation.

This is where engineering gets fun.  At least that is what they tell me.


So the crack engineers at Brown started with the UltraSierra2 X-series ovens and started testing.  First, they added the TRX software for more control.  Very cool.  So we now have TRX curing systems but they did not resolve all the problems for the specialty garment decorator.  

More air was essential. The DragonAir Core Technology was developed. The team added additional air flowing in the unit over the heaters.  This was great.  Better results, more production.  But still not right.
DragonAir Core Technology original
DragonAir Talon

The air was not staying hot enough and it was exiting the chamber with the water vapor.  Not very efficient.  The the Core Technology was enhanced with recirculation air and filters to keep the air clean.
DragonAir Core Technology latest revision

Ok, we were almost there.  But the production rate was still below our expectations.  These units have to cure large volumes of shirts for the discharge and digital people to see any improvement on the production floor.  The shirts were taking too long in the chamber.  Why, you ask?  Because they are so wet when they are placed on the belt that they can't get up to temperature fast enough.  And they cooled the chamber, so the heaters were working too hard.  Answer?  A heat bump.  More Power.

Final result?

Brown Manufacturing Group, Inc. has employed top notch engineers since they began.  Our people are known for producing curing systems that rate as some of the best in the world.  They are reliable, consistent and they do what we say they will do.  And this is no exception.  The DragonAir line of curing systems will cure digitally printed shirts, water-based printed shirts and discharge printed shirts at a serious production rate with solid results.  
DragonAir Griffin

And what else?

After messing around with our new toys, we discovered the other applications that it is a perfect fit for.  Specialty printing of plastisols.  With the ability to recirculation and filter air, cause a rapid bump in the garment temp, and have precise controls using TRX software the DragonAir is the answer to plastisol printing issues.  Think of how these features would apply to polyester garments that have dye migration.  What about foil and reflective inks or high-density and puff?  We see applications for this curing unit throughout the garment decorating business.

So we are excited.

Our engineers are almost giddy with the fun of developing a new product line.  Our sales people are telling anyone and everyone about the DragonAir.  They even created a division just for digital and specialty printing.  BrownDigital.

What size is right for your shop?  Call us.  We will figure out that problem as well.

Check out for more details.