Images Magazine Digital Edition May 2018 44 images MAY 2018 BRAND PROFILE Construction, reliability and support Let’s start with the press’s construction. Odette explains that low-price presses are constructed to, well, a low price; this can limit the quality of the materials used, which tend to be lighter weight and less durable. By contrast, “A high-value press uses heavy gauge metals and welds for the construction of the main body. This is to ensure that it won’t flex (in any direction) irrespective of the amount of pressure it’s exerting or how hard it’s worked. Just 0.5mm of flex across the platens is sufficient to affect the quality and/or longevity of a transfer print. “A well-made press, precisely constructed from heavy duty materials to tight tolerances is likely to last longer – some Lotus presses are still operating perfectly after 30 years of regular commercial use. You may pay more upfront, but that cost will be offset by the profit from the many more successfully printed items over the press’s lifetime.” Perhaps even more importantly, according to Odette, the higher quality materials and construction make high- value presses more reliable and less prone to breaking down. “Downtime leads to M aybe you’re launching a new garment decoration business, or branching out into vinyl and heat transfer printing or DTG, or perhaps you’re expanding your existing production facilities or replacing worn out kit. Whatever the reason, you’re in the market for a new heat press. A quick web search reveals countless imported presses on eBay, which seem to offer an attractive, low-cost solution, especially for start-ups and those on a tight budget. For a few hundred pounds (or even less) you could be up and running and profiting from your business. Before you click that ‘buy’ button, however, you might want to pause a moment. “With heat presses, like most things in life, ‘you get what you pay for’,” advises Odette De Pasquali, managing director of Italian heat transfer manufacturer, Lotus Heat Transfer Solutions. She points out that there is a world of difference between price and value and nowhere is this more so than with heat press equipment. We asked Odette to outline the key differences between low-price and high- value presses and why buying the former could turn out to be a false economy. Odette De Pasquali, MD of Lotus Transfer Press Solutions, explains why you should choose your next heat press based on value rather than price Hot topic: Choosing the right heat press missed orders, unhappy customers and can compromise your business’s image,” she points out. “Plus, you’re only ever making money while you’re printing, so an unreliable press can significantly impact your business’s revenues.” That leads onto the question of support and back-up. “What happens if something does go wrong with your press; what support will you receive? Does the budget supplier provide local support in the UK, do they hold a stock of spare parts? Can you speak to the factory that made the press for additional technical support? Lotus and its UK distributor, Dae Ha UK, offer total customer back-up, support and advice.” Heat, pressure and print quality Perhaps the most critical part of any press is the heating element (or elements in the case of Lotus presses). Odette advises that budget versions tend to use a coil that snakes around the platen (see figure 1), providing relatively uneven heat distribution, especially towards the edges and corners of the platen. High- value presses use a more sophisticated heating system (Lotus uses state-of- the-art Mikanit heating technology for [Above] The Lotus exhibition stand at the Fespa Expo. (Right) The Lotus LTS138 – the company’s all-rounder press