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Help with printing! Shirts Slipping in Press

3286 Views 24 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  threadworker
Hello All

I need some major help with a problem

I took my shirts to my printer this week to have a run done. This is the first time we have used this printer and they have come across a problem that has halted our production.

When the shirts are loaded on the printing plate to be printed, the adhesive is not holding the shirt in place and its slips during the print, messing up the design.

Our selected printer has been in business for 20 years and says he has not seen this problem before.

They tried 4 different kinds of adhesives with no luck. They also increased the plate size to stretch the shirt but the problem isnt it moving from side to side, its scrunching up from top to bottom like a wave.

The shirts that seen to be having the most problems are black in color, we are using Alternative Apparel T's.

Any help or advice would be appreciated if any of you printers have run into this. We have carefully selected our shirt supplier and will not change to another brand.

Please help us!!

Sincerely
Jason - Original Sin Apparel
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The different factors that I can think of are:
1. Adhesive
2. Off contact
3. Squeegee hardness
4. Squeegee tip
5. Print pressure
6. Print angle

Are they printing them manually or on an automatic press? They will probably just have to adjust these variables to find the correct print settings for this shirt.

edit: I wouldn't use a platen that stretches the shirt. It will distort the image when the shirt shrinks back to normal size. It will make the image look long and skinny.
Are the the shirts sheer ? Try making sure the shirt has no spring in it when loading and then try flashing the shirt first. See if that helps.
I gotta say that i would be a little concerned about the printer i was choosin to do business with if he couldnt figure out and trouble shoot such a minor problem as that after being in the business for 20 years. Try throwing some pallet peel on the pallets and instead of using mist adhesive, may wanna try web spray adhesive.. the shirts scrunch up like that when the pallets are too big for the shirt. Take notice, the shirt is probably so distorted that the prints will look distorted as well.. Good luck
I've never heard of a shirt not sticking.........doesn't matter if its alternative apparel, dry fit, american apparel, gildan.....

I would also be concerned about a printer who cannot figure such a simple thing out.
The shirts are being printed with an automatic press.

They are not sheer, they are a basic tshirt (softer material than lets say a Gildan or AA shirt)

they are saying that the adhesive isnt holding it down, as a matter of fact they are saying that they tried to see if masking tape would stick to it and it wouldnt.

I called Alternative Apparel, the company I bought the shirts from and they have said that they have never heard of this issue.

If its a 1 or 2 color print it seems to be ok, but if its a 5 color print on the black basic T, it seems to be slipping, as in the adhesive isnt holding it down.

Out of 20 they tried to print, 12 worked but 8 slipped during the print and were ruined, I am not wealthy enough to take a chance on 50/50 being perfect.

I will recommend what you have all suggested to my printer and see if any of this helps.

Smokestack, I have done my homework and researched alot of printers, and this one has the best reputation in Vancouver British Columbia. I would like to stay locale as I can drop off and pick up and save a little money. I am a little concerned to say the least, but they are my best option in my area.

If you can recommend anyone that you know in this area, it would be greatly appreciated!!

So things I am going to recommend are

1. Try Pallet Peel instead of mist adhesive
2. Webspray Adhesive
3.Make sure shirt has no spring in it when loading, and then flashing the shirt
4.See if automatic press setting can be adjusted to better settings
5.Anything else????

Thank you sooo much all for the replies and suggestions so far, if anyone else has further input it would be appreciated!!

Sincerely
Jason - Original Sin Apparel
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I've never heard of a shirt not sticking.........doesn't matter if its alternative apparel, dry fit, american apparel, gildan.....

I would also be concerned about a printer who cannot figure such a simple thing out.

So, if you ever did run into a shirt not staying put while printing, what would be the first thing you would think to do or try different?

Appreciate any input that can be thrown my way :)
So, if you ever did run into a shirt not staying put while printing, what would be the first thing you would think to do or try different?

Appreciate any input that can be thrown my way :)
lol the obvious, the adhesive.

We use spray mist adhesive for more aggresive tack, we also use waterbased adhesive for basic jobs. I know you said you want to save money to drop off and pick up your shirts, but it sounds like you'll be spending a lot more just by having them misprint 40% of them! Perhaps they are using adhesive that is greatly diluted if they aren't using a spray type.
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TShirtGuru

Thank you so much for the quick reply.

I asked the printer about the adhesive and he said they tried 4 different kinds of spray adhesive, and they did not work. In his words, "We sprayed enough adhesive down for 50 shirts and the shirt still isnt staying put"

Is there a brand of adhesive you can recommend and a certain kind that will be a little stronger?

I will not have anything else printed until I have a definative resolution for this problem you can bet on that, I cant afford a 40% fail rate. Thats why I am here asking the experts!!

Look forward to the replies, and thank you for the terrific input so far

Jason - Original Sin Apparel
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I have noticed that our platen adhesives are not holding as many shirts as before. We have to respray more often than say.....a year ago. Could the shirts you are using have a stain resistance to them, not allowing the adhesive to stick? Could it be a change in the weather? Colder shop.....colder platens. Try warming the platens with the flash unit.

RW
The shirts do not have a stainresistance in them, I was told theat they do have an enzyme that helps the shirt take ink better.

But it is only the black shirts slipping, so if all the shirts have the enzyme, and that was what is causing the slippage, wouldn't all colors be doing it, so strange.

Anyone else out there run into this? What was your solution?

Thanks
Jason - Original Sin Apparel
There are a few more things to take notice of before trying to completely identify the problem.. If it is only happening on the black shirts, and if there is a flash unit involved... Do the shirts stick to the pallet when initially put on? Or do they lose their stick after the first color is printed? or after the first color and the flash? After exactly which step is the problem happening.. Also.. if the problem is only with the black shirts, is that the only color shirt a flash is being used with? the white shirts being printed with 2 colors and no flash? As a production manager, before i stepped in to solve the problems my guys were having.. I always made sure they had all the facts and at exactly which point the problem occurs. There are still a number of things that can cause your problem. If its happening on multi color prints on black shirts, it is possible that the flash hasnt dried the ink enough and when the other colors are printed on top of that, the shirt sticks to the screen and when the pallet moves down after a print, a slight sticking to the screen will move the shirt...
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each one of these issues can be addressed but need to know exactly step by step what happens..
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According to the printer, it is happening only on multi color prints ( 5 colors to be exact ) I dont know if this makes a difference but we are using water based inks.

The shirts moving seem to be after the 3rd or 4th color goes down, so your idea that the ink may not be dry enough yet might definately have some merrit to it.

I am being told that the shirt just doesnt seem to be sticking to the adhesive on the plate even before the print starts, where as all other shirts have no problem sticking to the adhesive and plate.

I will run the ink not being dry enough yet by the printer. If the above info gives any further ideas, keep them coming. The more info I can present my printer on Monday morning, the better chance we have of continuing printing.

Sincerely
Jason
I think what is happening is that by the time the shirt has been flashed three or four times, the pallets have heated up to the point that the adhesion of the tack is breaking down. From personal experience, if the pallets get too hot the tack starts to stick less. Cheaper spray tacks do this for sure, but even the pricier "hot flash" tacks can only take so much heat before they break down into goo.

If possible the operator can either turn the flash temp down or shorten the flash time so that the ink just barely cures. Another good fix that i use from time to time is to roll a fan up to the cool down head and let it blow on the shirts as they rotate past the flash and on to the next color.

Another alternative would be to use a special "hold-down" pallet that keeps the shirt in place without using tack. They would probably charge something extra for this because it is a lot slower process.

Good luck!

oh yeah it makes sense that it is happening on the black shirts because they retain more heat
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The fact that you are using water based inks can make a difference.. I have minimal knowledge of water based inks as i have had no need or want for them in my years. Any element of the printing process can create its own unique problems.. Now that you mention water based inks, the first thing that comes to mind is that maybe the colors that get printed, on each next screen, the images start building up underneath the screens and start breaking down the emulsion. This sometimes happens and leaves the print side of the screens a bit tacky to the touch.. Could account for the shirts moving. You did mention that larger pallets were being used in hopes to keep the shirts kinda snug on the pallets.. Honestly, i would go back to the normal pallet sizes normally used for those shirts, and consider the fact that if there arent too many shirts in your orders, that maybe this project should be printed on a manual press.. Just to get the job done with a little more control over the "elements" until the shop owner can figure out HIS problem.. This shouldnt be a burden that lands on your shoulders. My suggestion at this point would be that.. maybe, if you have more of these same shirts in stock, try using a different shirt from a different batch.. At this point, a quick check like that is worth trying. Try using that Web spray adhesive.. Not the mist spray.. In the past when i have had stubborn items like that, web spray always did the trick..
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I dont know if this makes a difference but we are using water based inks.
Does the printer have much experience with waterbased inks? They do behave differently to plastisol, and I'm guessing the problem is something to do with the flash and the waterbased inks (for example, the platen is heating up and back-flashing the waterbased inks as they're printing, making them gummy, making them not clear the screen properly, making the shirt stick to the screen more strongly than it's sticking to the platen).
Does the printer have much experience with waterbased inks? They do behave differently to plastisol, and I'm guessing the problem is something to do with the flash and the waterbased inks (for example, the platen is heating up and back-flashing the waterbased inks as they're printing, making them gummy, making them not clear the screen properly, making the shirt stick to the screen more strongly than it's sticking to the platen).

What would be your resolution to this problem? Do you think the webspray will be enough to do the trick? As well as have a fan pointing on the shirts to hopefully cool the platen down inbetween the colors? Any further advice would be appreciated.

Sincerely
Jason
Just talked to the printer again and got some clarification. He says the shirts are not sticking to the platen before the printing even gets started.

So I recommended the webspray as was suggested on the forums, and the printer says he tried that. Can someone recommend a good strong brand of webspray that I can refer to the printer??

Also if any of you are in Canada and would like to see if you can try to get the shirts to stick with your adhesive, I would love to send one to you and get a second opinion if these shirts really are that much trouble.

Thanks
Jason
try throwing a couple of your black shirts through the washer and dryer.. then give it a shot.. Honestly i think the amount of time being spent on this problem has been way too much.. The print shop that you deal with should be the ones to figure this all out. I by no means am telling you what to do or not to do.. If i was in this situation, as of right now, i would do this.... Since this problem only seems to be happening with the black shirts......

1) Wash a dozen of those black shirts in the laundry... then re test on the press. If that doesnt work.....

2) call the shirt supplier and get a dozen more shirts but none black.. Get a couple of different dark color shirts.. 3 navy, 3 dark or forest green, 3 dark gray, and any other dark color..

3) take one of each of those new colors and try printing them on your guy's press.. See if they adhere to the adhesive on the press..

4) If unsuccesful with those new color garments, and it still works with white shirts, you now have identified that its the colored garments themselves
a) try a different style shirt
b) try a different supplier
c) tell your customers who want these shirts that it aint flyin on dark colored garments and to choose a different style shirt

5) go to a different print shop and see if their results are any different.. shouldnt be too difficult to get a different printer to just throw one of those garments on a pallet with some adhesive to see if the shirts stick

Consider the amount of time and effort spent on this.. So far it seems to me you are losing money here.

Hopefully u can figure out a resolution.. Good luck
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