The joy of acquiring a gadget isn’t as important as seeing it function optimally and effectively each time you put it to use.
Just like every other gadget, a heat press machine, which is the life wire of garment printing designers and crafters businesses, is also susceptible to depreciation as a result of wears and tears, passage of time, etc.
Structured routine maintenance is key to avoid preventable faults, ensure the longevity and maximum performance of your heat press machine and pave the way for a good turnover on the cost of acquisition.
In this post, we are going to intimate you with some heat press maintenance tips as well as the basic steps to follow in carrying out the maintenance of your heat press machine.
Maintenance Tips For Heat Press Machines
1 – Study the Product Manual
Every brand-new heat press comes with a manual in a paper form. This manual equips you with necessary information such as how to set up and use the heat press, the recommended voltage, and outlet permissible for that specific heat-press, basic guidelines, as well as precautions to be followed in overhauling it. Strict adherence to this will help increase its lifespan.
2 – Protect the Upper Platen
The upper platen of the heat press is where the heating element lies. This is where the needed heat to transfer designs on the substrate comes from.
An upper platen devoid of ink, adhesive debris, dust, and in good condition will ensure that the heat and pressure needed to transfer your designs to your garments are distributed evenly.
Nonetheless, having some residues such as inks and adhesive particles on the heating element after each production is inevitable.
So, cleaning off these residues becomes indispensable too, and this could be done either way:
First, unplug your machine from the wall socket or power outlet, reach out for a piece of soft fabric and use it to clean off the adhesive and ink while the heating element (upper platen) is still hot.
Cleaning the platen at that hot temperature makes it easier and less fatigue to get rid of the residue. However, you need to safeguard yourself from getting burnt.
Secondly, unplug the machine and allow it to cool off. Then apply some mineral spirit or household solvent to a piece of soft fabric and gently use it to clean the upper platen of your machine.
Ensure that the platen has totally cooled down before you apply it. That is because, applying the solvent or spirit when the upper platen is still hot, can lead to a spark due to the high flammability of the mineral or solvent regardless of the degree of the hotness.
3 – Safeguard the Teflon On the Upper Platen
To further protect the upper platen from avoidable damages, a Teflon coating should be used to cover the surface of the platen. This is to prevent residue from permanently sticking to it.
Also, you should avoid any sharp object or rough material coming in contact with this layer in order to keep having evenly distributed heat and pressure on the substrate.
4 – Take Care of The Lower Platen
Another common part of every brand and model of heat press is the lower platen. This area is distinguished with a flat rubber pad.
The essence of the rubber pad is to ensure that the heat generated is evenly distributed on the substrate.
The lower platen, (also known as the silicon pad or board) damaging process begins when punctured by sharp objects on the garment to be printed on.
Apart from that, the singular act of putting and removing the garment from the machine does the damages to the edges (front, sides, and back) of the rubber pad subtly, and this can negatively affect the quality of the outcome (your job).
A simple and not far-fetched solution is the use of a Teflon cover/ layer. You can use the Teflon layer to cover the lower platen to serves as a shield for the rubber pad and protect it from any form of puncture directly on the surface or edges of the pad.
5 – Lubricate the Heat Press
As a mechanical device, heat press machines come with pivots and joints. These parts tend to become stiffer as a result of regular use, which can lead to some levels of friction and making it not easily operable.
To avoid this unpalatable experience, apply lubricants such as grease or light engine oil to the joints and pivots regularly but when necessary.
That will help to make these parts smooth and slippery and prevent rusting since the rusting process can be initiated when you allow these parts to dry out completely.
However, you need to exercise caution by cleaning excess grease or oil that might flow to other parts of the heat press. Failure to observe this will end up creating a stain on the garments you want to print on or decorate.
6 – Replace Faulty Parts as Soon as You Can
Consistent use of the heat press will cause a break down in one or more parts of the machine. It is considered best to replace the faulty parts with a new one on time.
That is because managing and procrastinating the replacement of such parts can make the fault spill over to other parts of the machine, thereby causing the whole heat press to break down completely.
7 – Have A Clean Air System
This is only applicable to automatic heat press machines. Automatic heat press machines are mechanically designed to generate air from the surrounding of the machine with the help of a compressor.
The compressor garners air and forwards it into the machine through its air system which usually comes with an air filter. The job of the air filter is to prevent dirt and particles from accompanying the air into the air system.
There is a need to clean or replace this air filter from time to time to avoid dirt congestion in the air passage of the heat press.
8 – Keep Your Workstation Clean Always
Dust is not friends with anything mechanical or electrical gadgets. Hence, the optimal performance of your heat press and the quality of its outcomes largely dependent on how clean your workstation is.
It is expedient that you perform a pre-cleaning and post-cleaning operation daily to prevent any debris from the previous production from sticking to your garment or other substrates during the transfer process.
With the aid of an air duster, you can make your heat press machine dust and debris free.
Heat press machines are the soul of the modern-day garment printing business. To keep this ‘soul’ active and functioning as it should, a regular check-up through proper use and maintenance should be carried out from time to time at little or no cost.
A routine check-up and maintenance of your heat press will save you the stress and expensive cost of repairs. It will also save you the extra cost of getting a new one if the old one is unrepairable unless you want to get a machine with a higher spec.
Remember, you don’t have to be a technician or an electrician before you can maintain your heat press machine, as all heat press come with similar elements irrespective of the brand or model.
So, what are you waiting for?
Arm yourself with the maintenance tips provided above and start taking care of your heat press today to ensure quality products and maximum profit or turnover on every single project you handle.