What is a Conveyor Dryer?
A conveyor dryer is used to cure ink onto a product using direct heat from heating elements within the chamber of the dryer. Conveyor dryers are fairly simple pieces of equipment that take up a large amount of space, and thus can look overwhelming to the naked eye. However, at its core, a conveyor dryer is made up of a rotating belt with the ability to set its speed, as well as a chamber (the top part of the dryer) which contains several heating elements whose temperature can be set on the control panel of the equipment. So, essentially a belt driven by a small motor, chamber full of heating elements, and a control panel that sometimes has its own built in computers. Because of how simple most conveyor dryers are, they last decades and can easily be worked on if necessary. To the average person, a conveyor dryer looks like a big pizza oven.
Why Buy a Higher Quality/More Expensive Conveyor Dryer
Conveyor dryers are used to “cure” ink onto a product, so it is extremely important that the temperature inside the chamber be exactly what is shown on the control panel. It is very important that the dryer be able to deliver accurate temperature, and it must also be large enough to handle the potential volume from the presses that will be feeding the equipment. So when choosing a dryer always think about the primary press that will be used with it and make sure that each equipment’s capacity is inline with one another. When it comes to the size of the conveyor dryer there are two factors to think about: the width of the belt and the length of the chamber. The wider the belt is the more products can be laid across and sent down the dryer. The larger the chamber the longer amount of time the ink will be under a heating element. The other factor that comes into play is the speed of the belt itself. If the dryer has a larger chamber the products typically take less time to cure, and thus can be ran through at a higher belt speed. Vice-versa, a conveyor dryer with a smaller chamber typically means the product must be ran down the belt at a slower speed. Conveyor dryers put off a lot of heat that you want to exhaust out of your shop if possible during the summer and use during the winter to heat your building.
How to Choose the Right Conveyor Dryer
Choosing the right conveyor dryer for your shop comes down to several factors, with the first being the capacity of the printing equipment feeding the dryer. If you have an automatic press that can print 650 shirts an hour, then you need a dryer that can cure 700 shirts an hour. The capacity of the dryer will come down to the belt width and chamber length and most of the time it is a better idea to purchase equipment that can be grown into, instead of out of, quickly. Another factor to think about when selecting a dryer is the type of ink that will be printed and sent down the dryer. Some screen print inks like waterbased and discharge require dryers with forced air to properly cure the ink. The last factor to consider when purchasing a conveyor dryer is how it will be powered which is either done through a big plug that often must be wired directly into an electrical panel or by natural gas. Natural gas dryers are typically less expensive to run than electricity supplied dryers, but not every shop has access to natural gas as easily as traditional electricity. A gas dryer will typically create more dry heat than an electrical dryer.