Can Shirts be Cured Without Using a Conveyor Dryer?

Screen Printing | Feb 24, 2012

Curing Shirts: Do you have to use a conveyor dryer?

Whether or not you can fully cure a shirt without a dryer really depends on two different factors. The first being your flash unit's heating element. We use a ceramic panel, which has extremely even heat distribution, which eliminates the possibility of hot and cold spots, which is typically what causes all the problems in the first place. So if you have an wire-coil flash unit (which most of them are), it can be next to impossible to get all the ink up to temp, without scorching some areas of the shirt. The easiest way around this is a laser temp gun (also called a laser thermometer). If you don't have one, get one. It's absolutely essential in screen printing. It'll show you the ink temp all over the shirt, and once the lowest temp reads 330F, you're good to go.

The other problem is the dwell, or the amount of time that the shirt has to stay under the flash. It typically takes twice as long under a flash to cure the shirt as in a dryer, just due to the lack of insulation, and the resulting heat loss. This means that the platen underneath is taking A LOT of heat, and typically not discharging it as fast as it needs to. This means people start cutting dry time, which means shirts that don't keep their ink after a couple washes.

My best advice would be get a laser temp gun, use it a lot, remember that lighter colors need more time (due to the reflective nature of whites and light colors), and wash the first, 50th and 100th shirt from every order, twice, just to make sure.