Expert tips on how to get the best results from your textile drying and curing equipment

Glen Carliss, national sales manager for the eastern US, M&R

Correct dryer belt tracking

Most dryer belt problems are related to tracking – getting the belt to stay put near the centre of the rollers. First, adjust the tension: Most of the time this will be done at the opposite end of the dryer from where the conveyor drive motor is located. On each end of the roller there will be tension adjusters. To increase the tension, make equal clockwise turns on both ends of the roller, keeping both sides of the belt tensioned evenly. The belt is tight enough when it just stops slipping on the roller. At that point, load some shirts on the belt: If it starts slipping, tighten it evenly on both sides just enough to make sure it stops slipping.

Make your initial adjustments and then wait until the dryer heats up and reaches the set point temperature. Check the tension again. If the belt starts to wander off to one side, loosen the tension on the opposite side by making small . turns anti-clockwise. Keep this process up until the belt stays near the centre of the roller. The belt doesn’t have to ride exactly in the centre of the roller: It is more important that it rides near the centre without wandering.

Dave Roper, managing director, Dave Roper

Maintenance tips

Always use heat-resistant grease for motors and fans. Standard grease will melt at high temperatures.

When exhausting a dryer, try to keep the pipe to the outside as straight as possible with no 90 degree turns as these will cause back pressure and affect the exhaust motor.

John Potter, managing director, MHM Direct GB

Lifting the hood

One of the most important maintenance procedures is to lift the hoods and fully clean inside. This helps reduce contamination inside the dryer, but more importantly allows the lint to be removed, avoiding a potential fire hazard. Lint is extremely combustible so easy access to the inside of the oven chamber via lifting the hoods is of paramount importance.

Mark Smith, sales director, Adelco Screen Process

Maintaining high airflow and efficient exhaust

Follow these tips to maintain your dryer and for curing efficiency.

1) Clean the internal dryer airflow chamber at least once a year (alter cleaning periods appropriately for multi-shift operations). This should be shown in the dryer supplier’s maintenance manual. A good dryer will have an internal lint filter system, but over time, lint build-up is still possible inside the dryer. This should be cleaned out to avoid any negative effect on airflow and heat distribution.

2) Clean the main fan impeller blades every two to three years. A build-up of contaminants on the impeller blades will reduce airflow and therefore reduce curing efficiency.

3) Read the supplier’s maintenance manual and undertake the periodic tasks shown including greasing of bearings, cleaning of motor intake guards etc.

Jim Nicol, managing director, TheMagicTouch

How to choose a heat press

Here are the key issues to consider when upgrading or purchasing a new press:

Even temperature This is probably the most important feature in a heat press.

The best option is to have a heat platen with a cast-in tubular heating element that runs from edge to edge and is evenly spaced throughout the entire platen; this means the coiled heating element is actually cast into the upper platen instead of sitting on top, so it heats the metal from within.

Even pressure This is also very important. By using a swing head press, the pressure comes down from the centre of the platen and is dispersed evenly from the centre towards all four corners, giving you an even application. When using a clam-style press, the pressure comes from the back, resulting in higher pressure towards the rear of the platen and less to the front.

Manual vs. pneumatic When moving into high volume production – anything more than 100 garments/products per day – I strongly recommend going automatic. A pneumatic press combined with a silent compressor offers easy use, consistent production speed and reduced fatigue for the operator throughout the working day.