Since most digital printers operate using water based inks you will need to cure your t-shirts to achieve the best quality look on a printed garment. ‘Curing’ involves heating the t-shirt at a prescribed temperature so that any residual water left by the digital printing process evaporates. Currently the two curing methods available are heat presses and conveyor dryers.
Assuming you are not a major producer or distributor one machine will be enough to meet your needs. Most t-shirts will need between 30-90 seconds to be cured; for an exact guide and a recommended temperature be sure to consult the requirements for the ink you are planning to use provided by the manufacturer.
Though not incredibly expensive (a basic heat press starts at approximately £350) it is recommended that you don’t immediately purchase the cheapest model available. As with any new machine to be incorporated into your business you should thoroughly research the options available to you and seek out previous customers of the prospective company you are to be dealing with, after all you may need technical support. It is probably best to look at a fully digital heat press that will automatically raise itself once the pre-set time has expired to ensure against scorching the shirts. The Geo-Knight and Company‘s digital heat presses (such as the DK20S, below) are usually a popular choice in this market for precisely the reasons outlined above.
The chances are that if you are a screen-printer and are moving into digital printing that you already own a conveyor dryer, and this will work fine, albeit slower than a heat press. But be aware that you will have to slow your dryer belt down from its settings to allow for a full cure. A full guide to price a specifications to the most popular models of heat press can be found elsewhere on our website Here.