In 1991, after the sale of their larger corporation, Cliff and Judy Hix needed something to do. So they picked a niche and started up a little company specializing in custom and stock heat transfers.
Very shortly, after they began to print transfers, Cliff realized that the worst job in the shop was cleaning plastisol ink out of screens. To meet his goal of reducing manual labor (much of it his) and creating an environmentally safe screen print facility, Cliff invented and manufactured an automatic ink removal system called the “IRS.” It completely eliminates the dirty pit screen cleaner position which is traditionally part of the screen print process. This single invention is the key element in FE’s waste management. Consequently, the State of Kansas has inspected and verified that FE is both a 100 percent recycler in general and specifically, a 100 percent hazardous waste recycler.
In 1998, to maximize output and minimize labor, Cliff invented April II, a fully automatic, 7 color, transfer printer which is one-of-a-kind in the world. Its sibling, April III, came on line in December of 2014. The April Series Transfer Printers are available only at First Edition. They eliminate manual labor, lower heat related emissions, are extremely energy efficient and single-handedly provide FE with its fast turn transfer service. It is worth a trip to FE just to see April in Action.
In 2005, Cliff engineered a new kind of Heat Transfer Machine, “The Splitter™.” Cliff’s HTM was cantilevered to allow a shirt to be split over the lower platen and printed. This was a revolution in the way heat transfers were applied to garments, yet Cliff refused to paint this prototype, “Splitter™”, because he didn’t intend to sell it. By 2009, customers who visited the plant were creating a demand for “The Splitter™” and he began manufacturing two versions… one manual and one air-operated.
In 2011 Cliff was induced to add quick-change, interchangeable lower platens to his HTMs. Again, this facilitated the printing of standard size, oversize, sleeve and bag size transfers easily and productively. FE HTMs are backed with a 3 year warranty, the best in the industry.
In 2013, we embarked upon a new way for FE to do business via the Internet. We want it to be positive, simple, interactive and productive. Let us hear what you think because we feed off your feedback!
Currently, FE is still be researching better, easier, and more cost-effective ways to produce the products you need in your business. We will continue to improve service to make that happen. We will still be tweaking the website. We will still be working hard so that we can honestly tell you, “It’s what we do and we’re very good at it!!!”