Flashing and Curing Questions
Customer Service Questions
What does BBC stand for?
Black Body Corporation. The company was founded in 1967 and copyrighted the name Black Body®.
A blackbody is an engineering term representing a perfect emitter and absorber of heat.
Since we strive for the 'perfect emitter', we like this name.
What is infrared heat?
Infrared is electromagnetic energy that emits from a hot source.
The energy emitting from the source goes through air to hit the first object it "sees"; transferring the energy to the object and heating it up.
The sun is a good example, but every object emits some infrared energy. There are a variety of ways to generate heat to serve as a catalyst
in commercial processes. Resistance heat is one of the most common where resistance wire is energized with electricity and heat is thereby
emitted in wavelengths from 1.0 to 4.0 m.
How does infra-red differ from ultra-violet?
Ultraviolet(UV) is a shorter wavelength right next to infrared wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum. UV energy is visible to the eye
(but do not look at it or your will damage your retina!) and has many commercial applications but not yet for garment decoration. For UV energy
to be absorbed there must be unique photo-initiators in the object/coating to absorb the UV energy. Infrared does not require the presence of
Will infrared energy hurt people or pets?
As you would expect a very hot object can burn the skin if touched. However, the infrared energy emitted from a BBC heater will not cause an
indirect health problem such as interference with a heart pacemaker, or negative effects from 'radiation'.
What is the purpose of flashing screen printed t-shirts?
Partially heating an initial layer of ink is essential to provide an under base for the next color (same or different) to give the resulting
impression more brilliance. Without flashing the color impression would be duller or changed by the color of the garment underneath. And
flashing a color impression allows for another color to be applied directly adjoining the flashed color without smearing. A proper flash is typically attained when plastisol ink reaches 160 degrees F. This flashed state is detected without a temperature
gauge when the ink is tacky to the touch. A garment that is over-flashed will not allow the next application to bind properly to the under base and
thus the impression will fade later upon washing.
What is the difference between an infrared heater and a quartz heater?
Actually, they are both infrared heaters, except quartz heaters emit higher temperatures with resistance wire inside a quartz tube.
A quartz heater can reach the temperature for which it is designed in less that a second, however this time and temperature can be hard to control.
A quartz heater can flash an ink impression in 1 to 3 seconds and be instantly off. Quartz heaters are most often used in automatic presses.
An infrared panel heater is constantly on at somewhat lower temperatures, but can still flash plastisol in 4-8 seconds. Infrared panel heaters are
used in both manual and automatic presses.
How close should an infrared panel heater be to the shirt board (aka platen)?
The hot face should be about 2" from the garment. This is a very rough rule of thumb. To get a faster flash you can move the panel hot face closer.
To reduce the heat on the garment to prevent over-flashing or to prevent over-heating the shirt board, move the heater back away from the shirt board.
It is common to require less heat to flash when the shirt board temperature increases with production. You may want to consider a temperature control
for the flash heater to avoid having to raise and lower the heater during production.
Can I full cure with an infrared panel heater?
Yes, but this method requires from 30 to 40 seconds to accomplish a full cure of about 320 degrees F, and will reduce your output as you wait for the
infrared panel heater to cure the impression. It is more efficient to use a conveyor oven where you pull the garment with the final impression off of
the shirt board, set it on the conveyor belt, and return to the printing press to decorate the next garment. The first garment is being cured while you
do the next one. Production can easily double with a conveyor oven.
Can I use an infrared heater to flash water-based inks?
Yes, but it will take twice as long. The water in the inks must be evaporated for a flash or full-cure. The moisture laden air absorbs the IR energy
and this slows down the ink drying. The solution is to have a combination IR and convective air heater unit. Consider our AIR FLASH heater.
What if I scorch a garment
after flashing or curing?
If the scorch color is just barely noticeable or a very light tan then it will disappear upon first washing. However, this makes a poor first impression
to the customer, so you will want to adjust your settings.
How can I avoid over-heating my shirt board/platen?
Tests indicate that the shirt board will increase to about 140 degrees F after an hour of typical use. This is a benefit as it will decrease your flash
time. However, take this increase into account when flashing by checking the ink for tackiness on a regular basis. Adjust the heater away from the shirt
board if you notice the garment is getting too hot too quick. Also consider the Flash-A-Matic, an automatic device to swing the heater away from the shirt
board after a time delay. This will reduce the guesswork of the flash time and avoid unnecessary heat being applied.
How long does it take for my dryer to heat up?
To be safe, give your flash or conveyor dryer 10 minutes to reach its operating temperature.
Why is my dryer not getting hot?
99% percent of the time there is a problem with the power supply you are connecting to. You are plugging the flash dryer into an outlet with insufficient
voltage or amperage