By Chris Gallagher
Do you keep hearing the words “cold spot” or “heating element” – are they important?
Yes, just like when it’s that time of the year when the weather starts getting colder and we want to huddle inside to stay warm, your heat press should also stay nice and warm – HOT – so the decorating technique you use is successful. Whether it’s a screen printed transfer, a heat transfer vinyl, or a twill heat seal, they all use heat activated adhesives to adhere to the garment or item. If the adhesive isn’t heated up correctly, things fall off. The internal heating element is the key to this temperature game and Hotronix® heat presses with their fully embedded heating elements have the best in the business.
What is a “cold spot” anyway?
A cold spot happens when there is a section in the upper platen where there is no heating element. This lack of heat from above will cause the application on the garment below to fail.
How can I tell if I have a cold spot?
You can tell you have cold spots if you are heat applying a large name and number on a sports jersey, for example, and everything is adhering except maybe a left-hand corner, or across the middle but the top and the bottom are fine.
Can I reseal my garment hoping that hitting it over and over with more heat will work?
No. This is the wrong way to fix this issue. Continual over-applying will burn off remaining adhesive.
If I shouldn’t keep reapplying, what do I do to eliminate the cold spots?
If your press is imported or not a Hotronix®, it probably has a heating element that either travels around the upper platen in a “U” shape, or it zig-zags like a “Z” shape. There is no fix for this except a new Hotronix® press.
Hotronix® heat presses are manufactured so there is a continual loop of heating element running through the upper platen, with no gaps more than ½-inch from the heating element. Combining several patterns and loops in the upper platen eliminates cold spots and the adhesive is activated properly each time.
What if I have a Hotronix® heat press and I’m now thinking that it might be developing cold spots?
Like any machinery, Hotronix® presses are workhorses and parts can wear out over time. We stand by our products, and most machines have a lifetime warranty on the heating element. Just give us a call.
If you want to do some testing first, you can order a heat seal test kit to test the machine.
Can I use a screen print heat gun to test my heat press? No. This device is meant to test machines that apply heat differently. We would recommend the test kit strips so you can test the heat coming off the actual upper platen.