Recently we’ve been contacted by multiple customers who said they were having issues with the application of their custom heat transfers. Either the transfers were not fully bonded to the garment when the carrier was removed, or the transfer survived only a few wash cycles once applied to the garment.
Once contacted by the customers, we tested transfers from their production runs at our facility and found no issues. We also verified their heat press machine settings were consistent with the transfer recommendations. We then asked the customers to use a digital thermometer (i.e. calibrated thermocouple thermometer) to get a reading for the platen’s center and corner temperatures and compare these with the machine’s digital read out. Bingo!! In each instance with different customers using different brands and styles of machines, there were wide temperature variations on their platens when compared to the digital read outs. Consistent and accurate platen temperature is just one of the critical factors to consider when applying heat transfers.
Purchasing a low-cost heat press machine to save on the initial investment does not always save in the long run. Low cost generally equals low quality. These customers with their low cost machines experienced excessive garment and transfer waste, lost production time they will not recoup, missed delivery commitments, and their reputation with their customers was tarnished.
If you have already purchased a low cost heat press machine, we recommend using a digital thermometer at least once a week to confirm your machine’s platen temperatures. If you are considering the purchase of a new heat press machine, we recommend purchasing a professional-grade machine that will provide consistent heat and even pressure across the platen. The price paid for a heat press machine is only one factor to consider when making a purchase. You should also consider the additional costs of working with inferior equipment producing inconsistent, less than favorable results.