How to Press T-Shirts Faster

Here on the blog, we often talk about how to use a heat press or how to choose one, but it occurred to us that don’t often talk about how to press t-shirts faster. As you progress with your apparel business – or get that giant order – it’s important to learn how to speed up your production process.

Most heat press set-ups have two flaws that slow the process down:

  1. Shirts cannot be threaded.
  2. The lower platen doesn’t have a lot of slip.

While this doesn’t sound like a big deal, it can slow you down quite a bit, especially over the course of an entire run of shirts.

We had the same employee press a 2-sided shirt on an ordinary heat press setup and then repeat the process on a press equipped with a quick slip protector and a heat press caddie.

These two simple and inexpensive accessories sped up the production time. With the regular set-up, he completed the shirt in 2 minutes and 24 seconds. With the accessories, the same shirt only took 1 minute 40 seconds.


Why did the heat press accessory set-up take less time?

  1. Without the caddie, he has to take time to smooth out the t-shirt before pre-pressing. With the caddie, the t-shirt is threadable – meaning the two sides of the shirt are separated by the platen.
  2. The caddie also allows him to flip the shirt from front to back without ever having to remove the shirt from the platen.
  3. The slippery surface of the protector decreased the amount of friction between the platen of the shirt, making the flip happen very quickly.
  4. Last, but not least, the combination of these gains causes him to use less motion. Manufacturers recognize this as one of the big places where production can slow down. In this blog post, we discuss the 7 Wastes of Manufacturing and how you can use that knowledge to speed up your process.

While a 44 second difference doesn’t seem like much, on a 500 piece order, that’s a gain of over six hours! Over the course of the year, that can add up.

When you can press t-shirts faster, that allows more time for selling and other aspects of the business.

The Quick Slip Pad Protector not only protects the lower platen of your heat press, it provides a slippery surface. That slip allows the shirt to reverse sides without any friction or fuss. It’s available in 6 different sizes.

The second part of the equation is a heat press caddie. When used on a Hotronix® Auto Open Clam or MAXX® Clam heat press, the stand allows for t-shirts to be threaded over the lower platen. the Heat Press Caddie is available in a counter top version or a standalone version with casters.

It’s important to always speak to your tax adviser, but generally speaking, purchases like this are able to be deducted from your business taxes.

It’s not often that we talk about accessories or additional products here, but we feel pretty strongly about these 2 particular items and how much efficiency can be gained from them. In fact, if you come to the Transfer Express building (we’d love to see you!), you’ll notice that the heat presses we use daily are equipped with both accessories.



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