Stitches

Heat-Transfer Equipment

Two-Station Heat-Transfer Press

Anatol Equipment Manufacturing Co; Lake Bluff, IL; (847)-367-9760; www.anatol.com

Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.

What it is: This high-speed machine with twin loading stations can handle most heat-applied transfer requirements. It features consistent force and uniform temperature distribution. The machine automatically applies preset pressure when the upper plate is lowered. It also opens automatically at the end of the preset time.

What’s new:

  • Digital variable temperature control and timer (1 – 99 seconds) with clear display
  • Floating upper platen for even pressure and even heat distribution

Key feature: Automatic release systems and multiple program storage

DK20SP

Dalco Athletic; Dallas; (972) 494-1455; www.dalcoathletic.com

Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.

What it is: The DK20SP is an air-operated, automatic digital swing-away heat-transfer press that has fully digital temperature and time controls and a PSI pressure-control gauge. The machine offers a 16” x 20” printing area; 70 programmable presets; and a ¾”-thick Teflon-coated heat platen. A solid-steel welded framework and supercoil-micro-winding heater technology ensures consistent heat every time

Key features:

  • User-selectable end-of-cycle alarms; records number of cycles done
  • Temperature readout has an accuracy of  +/- 2°F
  • Accommodates materials up to 1” thick

Buyer’s note: The DK20SP is for demanding press runs and is designed to meet requirements that go beyond what a manual transfer press and operator can handle. It’s an industrial-grade midrange solution between heavy-duty manual heat presses and high-production factory shuttle press machines.

Maxi∙Press Air-Op Automatic Large-Format Press

Geo Knight & Co. Inc.; Brockton, MA; (800) 525-6766; www.heatpress.com

Cost: Contact vendor for pricing.

What it is: The large-format heat press is available in 32” x 42” and 44” x 64” sizes.

Key features: Available with optional bottom heat, allowing for double-sided printing of finished garments; decorators can now print bulky, finished garments on both sides simultaneously for a full-bleed, full-color sublimated result.

Hotronix Air Fusion

Hotronix; Carmichaels, PA; (800) 727-8520; www.hotronix.com

Cost: Contact manufacturer for price.

What it is: This auto-open, auto swing-away heat press with innovative touchscreen controls is powered by an air compressor. Its auto-open swing-away upper platen provides heat-free workspace and user-safe two-hand operation; the press also offers height adjustability.

What’s new:

  • Fully threadable lower platen allows for decoration on front, back or side without removing item from the platen
  • Patented Auto Adjust Pressure has up to four programmable pressure and time settings, allowing the user to select the appropriate application for each garment
  • Optional Heat Press Caddie Shelves attach to the pedestal, keeping heat transfer products and blanks within reach

Key feature: Programmable settings for multi-step applications, preset programs, energy-saving sleep mode and production cycle counter

User review: Scott Marino, owner of Panda Apparel Group in Springfield, NJ, offers screen printing, embroidery and custom dye for custom garments. “In a week, we heat-press between 1,000 and 1,500 garments,” he says. “We used to have a clamshell, but we switched to the Air Fusion.” Marino says there have been several obvious benefits to using the Air Fusion, including reduced operator fatigue; better adhesion of materials due to the quick change between the settings and the higher, more consistent pressure; and the ability to thread garments instead of using pillows.

Model 228 

Insta Graphic Systems; Cerritos, CA; (800) 421-6971; www.instagraph.com

Cost: $1,895

What it is: The Model 228 features a 15” x 20” swing-away upper platen, giving the user complete access to the lower platen while loading garments and placing transfers. Made of cast metal, it features a pressure source strategically placed over the center of its upper platen and uses struts to drive that pressure out to all corners for even, heavy-duty distribution of pressure.

What’s new:

  • Interchangeable lower platens: Simple pin system allows user to easily change out lower platen and drop in smaller accessory platens for printing on pockets, sleeves, pant legs, yokes and more
  • Sleep mode and auto off: Energy-saving feature allows machine to go into sleep mode after specified time has elapsed or automatically shut off after two hours of non-use

Key features:

  • Cast-in tubular heating element is cast into aluminum upper platen, heating metal from within, and coiled throughout the upper platen to provide even heat circulation
  • Digital controller for regulating time and temperature
  • Sliding pressure scale for adjusting pressure settings
  • Lower cut-away base for ease of loading and unloading
  • UL-, CuL- and CE-approved; RoHS/WEEE compliant
  • Lifetime warranty on upper heating element

Model 158

Insta Graphic Systems; Cerritos, CA; (800) 421-6971; www.instagraph.com

Cost: $1,695

What it is: This digital manual clamshell heat-press machine can be used to apply traditional heat transfers as well as cure digital prints. It offers a compact design and sleek profile, as well as 60° opening for easy placement and garment removal and digital time and temperature controls.

What’s new:

  • Interchangeable lower platens: A simple pin system allows user to change out lower platen and drop in smaller accessory platens for printing on pockets, sleeves, pant legs, back neck and more
  • Energy-saving auto-off feature shuts machine off after two hours of non-use

Key features:

  • Auto open: Using an electromagnet, upper platen automatically releases at the end of the time cycle, without an air compressor
  • Over-the-center pressure distribution: Pressure source is strategically placed over the center of its upper platen and uses struts to drive pressure out to all corners
  • Tubular heating element cast into aluminum upper platen, heating metal from within
  • UL-, CuL- and CE-approved; RoHS/WEEE compliant

Buyer’s note: This machine was developed to meet the demands of the expanding digital marketplace. It offers one of the major benefits of an automatic machine, the auto-open feature, in the lightweight, lower-cost, ergonomic design of a manual clamshell heat press.

Stahls’ Hotronix Hover

Stahls’ ID Direct (asi/88984); St. Clair Shores, MI; (800) 478-2457; www.stahlsid.com

Cost: $1,600

What it is: This press was designed for curing digital inks and can be used for traditional heat-applied graphics. It features an upper platen that hovers above the garment, flash-curing the ink and eliminating smearing. In the second mode, the upper heat platen is lowered and comes into direct contact with the garment to completely cure the ink.

What’s new: Pair with new Heat Press Caddie or Counter Caddie (sold separately) for even more versatility; caddies allow users to add threadability and cut production time up to 40%.

Key features:

  • Two modes, one for contact and one for pressure
  • Digital time, temperature and pressure settings
  • Auto-open feature and a space-saving clamshell design
  • Twin timer for programming two independent time settings
  • Quick-change lower platen design
  • Premium warranty

User review: “This machine was the best fit for us,” says Hugo Tovar, owner of Aztec Graphix in Fort Pierce, FL. “The Hover feature makes all the difference when it comes to curing.” Aztec Graphix specializes in embroidery, screen printing, signs, printing, trophies and plaques, and promotional items. “We’re very happy with the press – it’s built very solidly and has kept up with our daily demands,” Tovar says. “For almost a year, we’ve owned another two heat presses, but this one has become the go-to. From pressing numbers to curing, it does it all.”