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.