Dryer Equipment Tech
Since 1963, HIX has been the leader in curing screen printing inks and solvents on garments with our dryers. Our expertise with this process has put HIX years ahead of the competition and made us the only real choice when it comes to effectively curing water-based inks in an electric drying system. HIX electric dryers combine the right mix of infrared energy and forced hot convection air to evaporate water and cure ink from water-based screen-print and ink jet inks. Cure direct-to-garment inks with our heat press, Verticure drawer, or conveyor ovens.
The HIX Made in the U.S.A. Manufacturing Process
Every HIX oven is totally designed, engineered, and manufactured at our Midwestern factory. Many manufacturers build dryers, even standard models, on a very limited schedule. Each dryer in effect becomes a custom unit. HIX has attacked manufacturing costs in every way possible while maintaining rigid standards of dryer quality and utility, which will not be compromised. Batch production, combined with well-documented assembly line techniques, enable HIX to standardize the manufacturing of our dryers. Basic technology is shared by all models. Applied expertise ensures that each dryer off the line is, in essence, precision built by our experts.
HIX Premier Dryers carry the ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratory) seal of conformance. The ETL, recognized throughout the world, requires safety and electrical standards and regular unannounced “in plant” inspections even more rigorous than UL. European Premier Dryers also carry the “CE” mark required for export into most European countries. Interior walls of the oven are fabricated from corrosion-resistant galvanized steel to resist attack from fumes, solvent vapor, and moisture released from substrates and ink. HIX manufactures eleven different standard size infrared heat panels. We build the correct size and wattage element for each size dryer we make. Other manufacturers must compromise dryer size to match the limited selection on infrared panels from outside sources. All heater element lead wire is “A” nickel with MGT (Mica, Glass, Teflon) insulation rated at 1000°F (538°C) for safe, long, trouble-free service. The exclusive HIX dual thermocouple temperature sensors on each temperature control (on Premier oven lengths 5 feet and longer) minimize temperature fluctuations caused by incoming and outgoing belt loads. All HIX dryers are well-insulated for maximum energy efficiency. This extra cost is paid for month after month in lower energy consumption. Finally, all NP Micro Dryers are equipped with Chemfab premium TCN Fiberglass conveyor belts for long life.
Color Blind: Long infrared wave lengths (3 – 5 micron) that cure plastisol inks without generating too much heat in dark garments.
Conduction: The transfer of heat through a solid or liquid material. (Example: an electric cooking stove. Heat is conducted through the burner to the pot or pan.)
Convection: Air is first heated, then heat is transferred to objects by contact with heated air. (Example: a forced air furnace.)
Cross-link: Chemical reaction caused by heat in plastisol ink that causes the ink to cure.
Cure: The state at which maximum cross-linking is obtained and wash fastness and durability occur.
Dry: Point at which all volatiles are driven out of the ink.
Flash cure: A plastisol curing process step generally used between ink laydowns. Not designed to completely cure the ink film, but instead to “gel” the ink, allowing subsequent ink layers to superimpose without mixing.
Infra-air: A drying system using infrared generating elements in combination with recirculating heated air.
Infrared: Radiation (heat energy) located in the electro-magnetic spectrum between radio waves and visible light.
Micron: A unit of length equal to one millionth of a meter.
PID: Proportional Integral Derivative. Important advance over percentage times or proportional-only type temperature controls. PID monitors rates of change in each zone and compensates to maintain uniform and consistent heat regulation.
Percentage timer: Basic method for controlling infrared elements.
Plenum chamber: Area of heated recirculated air above the infrared panels. Air is pressurized by the blower motor, which in turn feeds air nozzles creating the air knife effect.
Radiation: Heat is generated in an object by directly transferring (absorbing) infrared radiation through space.
Thermocouple: Thermoelectric device used to measure temperature differences. It creates a small electrical current proportional to temperature that is then fed to the temperature controller.
Tracking: Ability of the conveyor belt to stay centered on the rollers and through the oven chamber.
Vapor boundary or barrier: A super saturated layer of air just above a substrate caused by the release of volatiles from drying ink.
Volatiles: Materials (solvents) that evaporate from ink or substrate upon application of heat.
Wavelength: A measuring unit to determine hue, color, or position in the spectrum of the infrared energy being emitted by the I.R. element.