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Real Talk: Ecosystem

Real Talk: Ecosystem
May 12 2018
Ever since the introduction of our low temperature inks (ELT Series), I have been working on ways to bring the temperature down for all apparel decoration.  Whether you are direct screen printing, transfer printing, or using heat press material, I wanted a world where you could protect the fabric and remain color consistent in all methods.  This was a tall order.

Our low temperature inks alone were very much game changing.  The low flash and cure temperature (as low as 250ºF) protects delicate fabrics from shrinking, scorching, fabric discoloration, dye migration, ghosting, and probably things we haven’t even heard of yet.  This ink can be printed onto any fabric.  The lower dryer temperature substantially reduces energy usage and cost.  The lower flash cure temperature prolongs the life of your platen adhesive, reducing misprints.

How could we keep this train rolling down the tracks?  Enter Chemica heat press material.  Their new Hotmark Revolution has been really impressive.  Most fabrics are heat pressed at 285ºF for only 5 seconds.  Seriously, only 5 seconds to press and peel hot. This is excellent for both time savings and to prevent many of the same problems our ELT inks aimed to solve.  When decorating 100% polyester, the "glossy square” you often see is no longer a problem.  Simply keep your pressure down and the Hotmark Revolution will do the rest.

What about ink transfers?  This is where the situation gets sticky.  We created ELT Zip Transfers.  This was a great solution for heat pressing at a low temperature.  Our instructions are 280ºF for 10 seconds, peel hot.  This is good.  It isn’t great.  It isn’t as impressive as the Hotmark Revolution.  Not to mention, the ELT Zip Transfers had to be cured to the paper at 320ºF.  If one of our low temperature ink printers wanted to print these transfers, they would have to change the dryer temperature.  If one of our Hotmark Revolution users wanted to press these transfers, they would have to change their heat press temperature.  No good.  I want one dryer temperature.  I want one heat press time/temperature.

X Transfers mark the spot!  Thanks to this new process, not only can you leave your dryers at the same temperature whether you are printing transfers or direct printing, you can use the same ink.  Let’s take a step back and understand this fully.  If you are an ELT user currently, order X90 paper, ELT Zip Fashion Powder, and reverse your art work.  You are now a transfer printer!  That was easy!  Guess what?  Whether you are direct printing or transfer printing, your ink colors will match.  It’s the same ink!  

Of course it gets better.  Leave that heat press dial alone.  X Transfers are heat pressed at the same time and temperature as Chemica Hotmark Revolution. 285ºF for 5 seconds, peel hot.  Your dryers stay at the same temperature.  Your heat presses stay at the same temperature.  You are using all the same low temperature inks as any ELT/ELT-S/ELT-X ink will work.  You can have all of the same colors as we have inks to match all Hotmark Revolution colors.

This is our low temperature ecosystem.  This is affordable.  This is achievable.  This is how it is supposed to be.  Can anyone else do this?

fin.

Robb Mears
Director of Product Development

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