Printing Multi-Tech Plastisol Color Charts

Screen Printing Plastisol Color ChartsThis week’s Photo-Friday image is of Glen printing a 64-color job on a Lawson Trooper automatic screen printing press. It’s a time-consuming and arduous task, but the end result is a wonderful Multi-Tech Plastisol Standard Color Chart to send to our customers in order to help them decide the perfect ink colors for their next screen printing job.

Don’t want to prep, coat and expose a separate screen for each and every one of your colors? Glen’s got a trick for that! Here he is utilizing only one screen for up to four colors by adding hand-made channel-spacers in between each color on the screen to keep them separate. He’s then using a custom-cut V-squeegee to stroke in each channel simultaneously. This technique is called “split screening.”

Do you have a job that requires that one special technique you haven’t quite mastered yet? Are you looking for ways to improve your shop’s quality and productivity? Keep an eye on Lawson’s Technical Support Articles section on our website or you can always feel free to give us a call at 314.382.9300 for support!

Infrared Panels vs. Quartz Tubes in Dryer Design

Ceramic Infrared Heater PanelWhen we are competing against a dryer that utilizes Glass Tubes as the heat source (these tubes are actually an infrared coil inside a heat-resistant quartz glass tube) vs. our Color-Blind Ceramic Panel technology, I have the following comments:

Let me explain why almost all industrial dryer manufacturers choose I.R. Panel Technology over I.R. Glass Tubes (sometimes referred to as quartz bulbs, although they technically are not, although the sheathing is).

  1. Ceramic panels evenly distribute the heat over a surface, typically 12” to 48” (or whatever the panel size is). This provides the benefit of a larger and continuous heating surface. Instead, tubes radiate thin lines/strips of heat because of the bulb design itself.
  2. Lawson uses a 3” thick ceramic coating, with the infrared wire embedded near the bottom surface of the ceramic material. This means that you essentially have nearly three inches of high temperature insulation that is “pushing” the heat downward towards the dryer belt.In contrast, Tubes radiate all the way around their entire surface – this means the heat goes upward as much as downward, and this is terribly inefficient from an energy perspective. Furthermore, Glass Tubes dissipate their heat immediately (i.e. there is essentially zero storage of energy) when the unit is cycled on and off for temperature control purposes. As a result, your dryer has “cold spots” everywhere there is no Tube, and even worse, your ability to maintain an even and consistent temperature is nearly impossible. As a result, wild temperature fluctuations occur inside the heat chamber.
  3. Ceramic Panels are, by nature, “color blind” because they do not “glow and reflect” their heat like I.R. Glass Tubes. Instead, I.R. Panels gently emit infrared through the ceramic material downward towards the garment, independent of ink color or garment color.
  4. Temperature consistency and regulation is far superior utilizing I.R. Panels vs. Tubes because of four primary reasons:
    1. Temperature sensing is more accurate because the thermocouple is in contact with the ceramic panel itself;
    2. The ceramic material provides even heat distribution across the entire surface of the element (12” x 48”) vs. strips of ¾” Tubes;
    3. There are minimal cold spots in the heat chamber, because of greater I.R. surface area – i.e. the surface area of the infrared panels are substantially greater than the small diameter glass I.R. tubes;
    4. I.R. heat loss from cycling a panel on and off is minimal vs. a bulb/tube because bulbs instantly loose all of their heat when cycled off (there is basically zero retention) – this means the thermocouple cannot regulate the inside of your heat chamber accurately. The only way to improve tubes to be somewhat comparable to I.R. panel technology is to us SCR controls and regulate the voltage to the bulb itself (which no one does because of the extra cost involved).
  5. Please note that no one other than Workhorse uses Tubes in their conveyor dryers. M & R, Lawson, Vastex, Brown, the old American, Precision, Sias, Svecia, Atlas, Elexon, etc… And for all of the above reasons and more!

Furthermore, quartz tubes must be heated to around 2500 degrees Fahrenheit to work , as opposed to a ceramic heat panel that heats to around 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, it is likely the use of quartz bulbs may increase your utility bill, but will not increase your production.

Here are some other facts: Since quartz bulbs have a filament in them, they are sensitive to vibration. It is not uncommon for the filaments to break if the dryer is bumped or if the bulbs are mishandled. These bulbs require a reflector to direct the heat. You will be cleaning these reflectors frequently when lint bulbs up and is carbonized by the high operating temperatures of the bulb. The quartz bulb manufacturers state an average 1000 hours of use before replacement. This means you will be replacing these bulbs, minimally twice a year with one standard shift. If you run 2 or more shifts, expect to be servicing these bulbs more often. If a bulb goes out in the dryer , it will create a dead spot and not properly cure your ink. How will you know when a bulb is not working?

I.R. heats objects – quartz tubes do not, they simply radiate heat.

3” of ceramic material insulation, allows I.R. to radiate throughout the surface of the ceramic panel.

Bulbs are simply “hot strips/rods” and do not offer even distribution.

With quartz tubes/bulbs there are many cold spots in the heat chamber.

I.R. wavelength is in the proper spectrum for rapid ink/object curing.

Directed Energy is generated from our I.R. panel technology.

Panels are “Color Blind”…bulbs are not because of the “reflection-bounce.”

Reflectors get dirty (customers often don’t clean them and this leads to even greater energy loss)

Taking these facts into consideration, including our standard warranty on ceramic heating panels of 3 years with the option to extend them for 10 years, why would anyone consider a quartz conveyor dryer?

Hit Promotional Products Wins Lawson Print Quality Award: Uses Lawson Automatic Presses & Dryers

Lawson Equipment at Hit Promotional

Pictured above: Jake Gaines and Mel Hyman

Lawson is pleased to have Hit Promotional Products featured here, as they won the 2013 Quality Print Award by Lawson. Hit is one of the largest ASI suppliers in North America and offers a wide range of screen printed items including: bags, sport bottles, glassware, pens, umbrellas, folding chairs, eyeglasses, key chains, backpacks, notebooks and much more.

Hit has been a valued customer-partner for over 20 years. Click here for their web site: Hit Promotional Products

Even snow can’t keep Lawson away from the new Epson F2000 DTG printer!

Snow tried to keep Lawson away from the Epson F2000Lawson recently received an Epson SureColor F2000 DTG printer from Epson for some in-house testing and training. We’ve been busy since, and there is still so much to be done. With the excitement of getting to play with this advanced direct-to-garment imaging machine, not even extreme winter conditions such as heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures could keep our techs away! In the images above, Ben, David and Hank are busy shoveling the snow away to find their way into the main Lawson warehouse in St. Louis. In some areas, the snowdrift reached up to four feet high against the side of the building.

With the first customer shipments of the Epson F2000 DTG Printers not shipping out until the end of this month at the earliest, we completely understand if you are unable to contain your excitement as well. Give us a call at 314.382.9300 if you’d like any more information. Or if you’d like to come take a closer look and see the Epson F2000 Direct-to-Garment printer in action for yourself, come on by. Have no fear, we’ve cleared a spot in the parking lot for you!

Winter Weather Around Lawson

Snow around LawsonThis year has started off with a few inches of snowfall on New Year’s Day, and much more snow and cold weather is on its way this weekend. Even though the cold is not the most enjoyable thing, the snow gives St. Louis a visually appealing winter landscape.

Be sure to keep the winter temperatures in mind when ordering screen printing supplies! Some supplies (such as screen printing emulsion, some stencil removers and other products) are freezable items. This means that these items could freeze in transit while they are being shipped and could be ruined. If you’re not sure, give us a call and we will let you know what items are freezable, and which days will be alright to ship. If you’re in the St. Louis area, you’re always welcome to come visit us to pick up your orders. Better yet, give us a call about our free shipping offers for select orders!

Stay warm, be safe, and be sure to have a wonderful year!

Lawson Announced as a Distributor for the Epson SureColor F2000 Direct-To-Garment Printer

Epson SureColor F2000, Distributed by LawsonLawson Screen & Digital Products, Inc. has been announced as a distributor for the Epson SureColor F2000 Direct-To-Garment inkjet printer series. Often, it is cost-prohibitive to print one-of-a-kind designs on t-shirts and other garments. Starting at $19,995.00, the addition of the Epson SureColor F2000 direct-to-garment machine can create a whole new segment of customers looking for one-of-a-kind t-shirts or small run prints.

This new DTG machine utilizes the high performance Epson MicroPiezo® TFP® print heads to offer reliability, reduced nozzle clogging, and highly accurate dot shape and placement. These print heads are optimized specifically for Epson’s specialized direct-to-garment inks to significantly improve the print head life. Epson’s exclusive direct-to-garment inks, the UltraChrome® DG series, is a water-based ink technology able to deliver reliable performance and excellent image quality. In addition to all of these technological advancements, the SureColor F2000 also boasts quiet operation, interchangeable platens, easy maintenance and a one-year warranty.

The SureColor F2000 comes in two configurations, the White and Standard versions. Each version utilizes the same number of print heads in two different configurations. The Standard version (with cartridge configuration C C M M Y K) is configured for printing on light colored garments only. Being that twice as many nozzles in the print head are dedicated to color on the Standard version, it will print on light colored garments much faster than the White version. The White version (with cartridge configuration C M Y K W W) dedicates some of the nozzle on the print head to white ink, allowing it to print on light or dark colored garments with a white underbase.

Expected shipping is early 2014; pre-order one of these amazing machines today by visiting http://www.golawson.com/EpsonDTG or give us a call at (314)382-9300.

Fall Colors Around Lawson

Fall Colors Around LawsonAutumn has officially fallen upon St. Louis, causing the trees and weather to change. All around, leaves have started turning vibrant fall colors and have started blowing out of their homes on the branches they sprouted from earlier this spring.

Temperatures are starting to drop and the cold wind and rain are producing a change in attire. People are starting to tuck their t-shirts and shorts into the backs of their closets and are pulling out their cold weather clothes: jackets, sweaters, scarfs…many of these people are now wandering around wishing they had awesome artwork printed onto all of those layers. I’m sure you screen printers out there already have your squeegees printing in full force to accommodate them.

In some areas, temperatures are starting to drop below freezing. For screen printers this means that you need to stock up on emulsion for the winter to avoid the possibility of it freezing during transit. Once emulsion is frozen, it is highly probable that it will be unusable!

If you happen to need supplies for all of your printing needs, or if you just need a bit of technical advice while you’re printing, give Lawson a call at 314-382-9300.  Or, better yet, stop by and pay us a visit to see the beautiful fall colors for yourself!

St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS

St Louis Cardinals in the NLCSTonight is the first game of the National League Championship Series between the St Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Here at Lawson everyone is decked out in their red shirts and Cardinal’s jerseys and everyone is excited for the game.  We even had a mini “ballpark food” celebration here in the office with hot dogs, nachos and all of the fixings to get in the mood!

On top of that, our ink creators across the street at Multi-Tech have been busy mixing up vast quantities of our Rojo Red plastisol ink.  The local St Louis screen printing companies have been ordering this color like crazy!

All in all, it’s a very exciting time here all around the city.  Let’s hope that the  St Louis Cardinals can take it all the way for our city for another year.  Go Cards!

PANTONE Road Trip

PANTONE Roat Trip
This past weekend provided the perfect weather to set out for a road trip to explore the Midwest countryside. Small puffy white clouds dotted the bright blue sky while a sea of green and yellow farmland and trees flowed outward from the gray cement as far as the eye could see.

Summer is over, but the colors of fall have not fully hit here in the St Louis area. It will be exciting to take another adventure once this happens, and I will have to find a whole new PANTONE palette to describe it. What colors would you use to describe your past adventure?

Are you looking for the perfect PANTONE color for your next screen printing project? Lawson can help you out! When the standard plastisol colors won’t cut it, Lawson can get you set up with a custom textile plastisol ink formulated to match the exact PANTONE number you have in mind. Give us a call! 800-325-8317