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Why didn't my ink cure?

Why didn't my ink cure?

There is something wrong with the batch of ink I got, it isn't curing!!!

Well we all know how frustrating that is, and costly, but don't be quick to blame someone else.  It is hardly ever the ink manufacturer made a bad batch of ink. Does it happen? Yes, but it is a rare occurrence from our experience. The large majority of the time the ink isn't getting to proper curing temperature, for long enough. Just some of the examples of why the ink isn't curing:

  • Dead zones in your heating elements on your dryer
  • The thermocoupler in your dryer may be shot, and you are getting to the temperature your dryer is saying it is at
  • Moisture of your tshirts or hoodies is much more than normal, and you haven't changed the temp on your dryer to make up for it.
  • The flanges on the in and out feed are too high and you are letting cool air in from the shop change the temperature in the dryer tunnel
  • Belt speed is just too fast, and you aren't allowing for proper curing time.
  • You are overloading the dryer and the moisture of the garments is changing the temp in the tunnel.

And we could give you a dozen more examples, but let's discuss how you can ensure accurate temperature and time for the curing process.

Many of us have used a laser temperature gun and you can pick them up quite inexpensively online or at your local hardware store. Although these laser guns are extremely helpful for testing pallet temps, flash and spot checking the garments coming out of the end of the dryer these are not the best tool for ensuring proper ink curing. You aren't able to use the laser gun on the inside of the dryer, and this is where the important action is taking place.

Every screen printing shop that is doing a substantial amount of production should make the investment in a Atkins Screen Printing Thermometer Kit 93916K. The thermocoupler donut probe allows you to lay the "donut" on a garment and run it through different zones of your dryer, giving you accurate temperature reads throughout the chamber of your dryer. This will show you if you have any major temperature variations within the chamber.  Once you get to curing temperature in the chamber also time how long it is at or above that temperature to ensure your garments are at the "curing" temperature long enough.  Run the donut probe down numerous times through the chamber to make sure the temperature is consistent through out the chamber. You should be checking your dryer temperature at least once a week if not daily to make sure that everything you print is curing properly. 

Don't wait until you have a whole order come back because people are complaining that the image is washing out, get yourself a thermometer kit.  They are easy to use and you can always check the recommended temperature and time of the curing of both water-based and plastisol ink from the manufacturers specification sheets.

Do you want to really make sure things are going out properly cured? Get  yourself a washer and dryer in your shop and do wash tests of your sample runs. So before you start pointing your finger at the manufacturers, make sure that all your processes are accurate and you are monitoring them.  Save yourself the frustration and invest in an Atkins Screen Printing Thermometer Kit 93916K

Now if you find out you need a new dryer - well we can help you with that one too!
Dryer Sale

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