Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Time to reconnect and restart

Are you ready?

Even in Michigan we are beginning to see the world shifting back.  It was with great celebration that our own John Ball Zoo opened to the public and that the local little league signed up for t-ball.  There is more work to do, but now is the time to connect with those customers who limited their ad dollars to survive the past year.  Restaurants, event venues and tourist businesses will be eager to see creative new marketing suggestions to restart in the post-COVID arena.

So what new do you have for them?

The same old-same old will feel comforting.  Yes, we could all use a little pre-vid ease.  However, since EVERYONE will be trying to get attention, what will you bring to the table that is new and interesting?  We have had plenty of time to think about that.
  • Can you offer longer runs at better prices?  An ElectaPrint can help with that.
  • Do you chase the athletic market the is back in full swing?  Screen printed number are less expensive and nicer for the athlete than heat seal.  But you need to be equipped for that.  There are lots of options.  Check out the Slider.
  • Looking for short run customization? DTG is a great source for new work.  The DragonAir Crimson could be just what you need to cure those goods.
  • Do you offer super fast turn around?  The a FastFlash would speed you up.  Is yours hot and ready?

  • Can you reduce your set-up fee because you are making screens quicker?  An LED exposure unit would give you this capability.

Go for the close.  Give them a reason to return.

People talk big, but it is the repeated on-time delivery of quality goods that keeps them coming back.  It is creative thinking of new ideas that generates new revenue.  It is the commitment to internal growth and change with complete follow through that grows businesses.  Doing the same work each day should create a smooth flow of production and a quality product.  However, if you do this for too long it will also cause stagnation.  The end of the pandemic offers each business an opportunity to add something new that will generate a buzz of excitement.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Start your engines. The season is about to begin.

 Are you ready?

The season is about to begin.  It has been a long time coming but it is finally here.  Are you ready?

What exactly does that mean?  Are your machines ready for all the action about to happen?  Let's go over what you should be doing now so you are ready for all the orders that are coming your way.

Check under the hood.

Conveyor ovens

Your curing system is the most important machine in the building.  You can print in any number of ways.  But getting a shirt cured has limited resources.  So keep your conveyor ovens at optimal performance levels.  How do you do that?
  • Clean it.  Yes, it is the most important thing.  Get all the fuzz off of it and out of the control panel and fan systems.  The biggest reason for oven failure is overheating due to lint build up and fan functionality.  So get out the shop vac, open the control panel and clean it out.
  • Replace stuff.  We understand that in low times, the cost of replacement parts can seem prohibitive. However, if you are down during the busy times due to lack of maintenance, the cost to the business is higher.  Cooling fans, old drive motors and dirty or torn conveyor belts are quick to change and will reduce down time during high volume months.
  • Have commons part parts on hand.  Some items are low cost and quick change.  Having these items on hand will lower any downtime. Relays, heater connectors, fans and fuses are small and inexpensive.  These are highly recommended to stock on your shelf.
  • Check out the drive system.  Worn sprockets and chains will cause power spikes that will damage a motor control.  This will double your replacement cost.

Automatic printer

Unless you want to manually pull a squeegee on the long run you have, you should spend a little time making sure that your Electraprint is running well.  There is a reason that it asks every time it turns on, "Have your greased me today".  It is important that all the moving parts on the machine have lithium grease applied and lint removed.  This includes squeegee carriages, head side rails, cheese wheels and lift mechanisms.  There are a few other items on the press to check.
  • Squeegees and floodbars need to be sharp and smooth.  No nicks or dull edges.  
  • Have some extra squeegees because color changes just slow you down.  A squeegee for each color group is a great investment.
  • Platens are clean and the rubber coating doesn't have bubbles or tears.  A great print happens on a flat, smooth surface.  Don't skip on the basics.
  • Chains and motors and sprockets do wear.  These are what drive the print heads.  Check now while you have time for a sprocket change.
  • Clean it up.  Seriously, clean shirts come off clean printers.  And it is the cheapest way to keep a press run smoothly.

What should be in on your parts shelf in case of a pit stop?

Each machine has some essential items that cannot be bypassed.  And many of these are inexpensive so having them immediately available is like having a spare set of tires ready when the car rolls into the pit.


This is all about moving electricity.  Simple parts will keep an oven rolling until bigger items can arrive.  
  • Fuses or panel breakers
  • Power breakers
  • Relays
  • Terminal blocks for older heat chambers

ElectraPrint Automatics

  • Photo eyes -- there are a couple of types, so have one of each
  • Safety switches
  • Flash controls
  • Head cable set

What tools are needed for the pit stops.

It surprises us often that many of our customers own industrial equipment but do not think to have a basic tool box anywhere in their shop.  This does not need to be an extensive set of tools, but some basics are needed to keep a shop rolling through a pit stop.
  • Open end wrench set
  • Socket set 
  • Screwdriver set
  • Nut driver with 1/4" socket
  • Basic multi meter.  Our phone techs can teach you to use one, but they are really handy when working on anything electrical.

So get ready to race.

Order some inks, get your screens stripped and coated and set out your print stations.  There is business in the air and the race to the finish will be a wild one.  Let's not have any crashes into the wall.  We will all get to the finish line.  

Thursday, January 14, 2021

DragonAir Crimson engineered for DTG production

We are SO EXCITED.  The DragonAir Crimson oven is fresh out of design and through production and is into DTG print shops throughout the US as well as globally.  Our engineering team dug deep to get this done and the design is a winner.  It addresses all the technical requirements for curing DTG inks and incorporates them into a machine constructed for low volume, high quality production.

Though small on size, this machine is packed with features that are essential. Direct-to-garment printing uses pretreat solution and ink that requires high volume air flow and stabilized heat.  In a short chamber, the garment needs an additional boost to get the cure needed.  These parameters were used to engineer this machine from the ground up just to meet the needs of DTG low volume production.

Major control features

DragonAir Crimson
The Crimson comes equipped with many features that professional DTG printers know are needed.  Starting at the control systems, this unit includes digital temperature control on the main chamber.  This reads the temperature at belt height and regulates cal-rod style heaters for optimal control.  These heaters are also have indicator lights for quick and easy verification of function.

Additionally, the Crimson includes a heat bump on the front of the heat chamber.  These quartz heaters are controlled separately from the main chamber and are monitored with indicator lights.  This allows rapid response to garment temperature requirements and quick heat build of product for faster production.  

The air requirements of DTG inks are serviced by the variable air speed control.  DragonAir Core Technology circulates hot air around the heaters and onto the belt for rapid evacuation of water.  This air can be quickly adjusted to match a garment's specifications.  Also, the discharge from the garment can be funneled through the heavily insulated air box on the end of the chamber.  This is designed to connect to the exhaust system of a production shop and to contain the water vapor to exit from one location.

Construction features

The heat controls combine with a variable speed belt to give the operator a wide range of curing options.  This speed control is connected to a heavy-duty drive train designed with long lasting durability.  Crowned rollers making belt tracking simple and adjustable baffles are used to shield internal temperature from external influences.  All of this is packaged nicely on an industrial frame which requires minimal space.

The DragonAir Crimson is engineered specifically for DTG low volume production.  This small unit is the perfect  addition to any small digital facility who is ready to move on from using a transfer press for curing and is looking for a true DTG production machine.