It is very important to know how to cure properly while working on prints using any type of inks while printing on any textile. However, when it comes to curing plastisol ink, it is essential to keep in mind a few things, failing which the print tends to come off after the first wash itself, the color starts fading and the ink begins to crack. There are a few governing factors which decide if the ink curing process is properly done and maintaining the air temperature and humidity are two of those. The ink should be dried in a safe and controlled environment to ensure a rich print which is expected on the garment. Want to know more about screen print? Also, check out HamblyScreenPrints website, they have an amazing article on this topic
Here are five pointer to keep in mind while using Plastisol Ink and curing it :
What temperature do you need? :
It is necessary that not just the garment but also the ink reaches 320 º F to 350 º F in the temperature scale for it to get cured. Complete bonding can only be obtained if once the garment curing temperature is slightly higher than ink curing temperature.
Is there any particular equipment to be used? :
There is need for choosing the correct mechanical equipment for the curing to be efficiently done. Investing in a good conveyor dryer keeps the production rate on the higher side while maintaining good quality. If budget is a constraint then flash dryers or heat guns should be better options.
How to understand if the temperature is right? :
It is important to understand the temperature of the Plastisol ink during its curing process. In order to do this, a heat gun with laser pointers or Thermolabels can be used. Thermolabels are very efficiently designed to react within a few seconds as soon as the marked temperature is reached and change their temperature distinctly. How does a heat gun help, if at all? : A heat gun or a non-contact pyrometer can be used by pointing towards the print and noting the reading. You may not get the reading which tell if a garment is completely cured, but you get to measure dryer temperature and get assured that the textile material is being cured properly.
The importance and ways of testing :
There are two good ways to make sure that the curing is being done properly. Performing a ‘wash test’ by taking a sample of a test garment and washing it with general clothing and later observing if any flaking or cracking or ink is seen will tell you if it’s been done properly. A ‘ stretch test’ comprises of taking a sample of the garment and pulling it between your finger, if the ink gets stretched and doesn’t flake, the curing process has been effective.