The Performance Screen Supply Network:  Screen Printing Supplies  |  Film Positive Software  | Automatic T-Shirt Printers | Manual T-Shirt Printers

Drying Product Guide

Drying or curing the ink on printed garments is the critical final step. Too little time and heat result in an under-cured design that washes out while too much time and heat may result in scorched garments. A dryer capable of handling larger orders can be the key to growing your business, and a dryer that is too small will result in a production bottleneck, keeping you from producing efficiently and on schedule. It’s ultimately less expensive to buy a dryer that you can grow into rather than buying a larger dryer in years to come.

Plastisol inks typically cure at 320 degrees F (160 degrees C), and the faster you can get both the garment and entire thickness of the ink to that temperature without scorching, the faster you can produce. The heavier the garment or thicker the ink deposit, the more energy it takes to reach this critical temperature. Infrared heat transmits quickly but is very sensitive to time and distance making it very unforgiving for bulky three dimensional items such as sweatshirts or jackets. Moving air converts IR heat to slower and more forgiving convection heat. In terms of balancing speed and flexibility, it is best to have both IR heat for speed and convection heat for flexibility.

Ease of Loading Garments

How quickly and easily to you want to load garments onto your dryer? The wider the dryer’s belt, the less you have to fold the garment and the faster you can load them.

  • Good: At 20 in. (51 cm), the Mercury Compact dryer’s belt is narrow, yet wider than other compact dryers.
  • Better: At 26 in. (66 cm) for the Powerhouse PQ2608/PC2608 and 30 in (76 cm) for the PQ3011, these dryers offer easy loading.
  • Best: At 40 in. (102 cm) for the Powerhouse PQ4013 and 52 in. (132 cm) PQ5217, these dryers offer fast, fold-free loading.

Curing Capacity

How many garments do you want to produce five years from now? Curing capacity is determined by a dryer’s belt width, oven length and wattage. Wider belt widths equal faster loading. Longer ovens equal faster belt speeds. Higher wattages equal achieving curing temperature more quickly. Maximum production efficiency is achieved with all three: wide belt width, long oven and high wattage.

  • Good: At 72 pieces per hour, Mercury Compact dryer is ideal for a part time business with limited space.
  • Better: At 200-300 pieces/hr, Powerhouse PQ2608/PC2608 are our most popular dryers for start-up shops planning to grow. At 400-500 pieces/hr, PQ3011 is a great match for shops running multiple manual presses or a small automatic press.
  • Best: At 600-800 pieces/hr for the Powerhouse PQ4013 and 1000+ pieces/hr for the PQ5217, these dryers are great for larger shops needing higher production.

Curing Control

Drying for too little a time or at too low a temperature may result in under-cured, washed-out prints. Drying for too long a time or too high a temperature may result in scorched garments.

  • Good: Mercury Compact dryer is primarily an IR dryer, but has a simple exhaust system. Proper curing is controlled with an adjustable belt speed.
  • Best: Powerhouse dryers feature adjustable belt speed, digital temperature control and recirculation forced air. Combined with IR heat, Powerhouse’s Convection heat offers extremely fast and flexible curing.

Get Help

At Performance Screen Supply, we are printers. Let us help you find the right exposure system for you. Call Bob at 800-659-8337.