INTRODUCTION TO HEAT TRANSFER PRINTING
The process of transferring images to a large variety of products
without messy inks by-products or screens is possible with Heat
Transfer Technology. The process is fast, it lasts and it is profitable.
In the early days, Heat transfer printing were principally used
in the printing of novelty items, such as polyester tops and t-shirts.
Today heat transfer printing has gained significant importance
and favor in several industries - especially in the apparel industry
as an alternative for printing fabric in an agile manufacturing
Heat transfer printing is clean and environmentally safe, which
makes it appealing in today's health and safety conscience work
environments. There are no suspect liquid by-products. The only
by product is paper. Heat Transfer printing is the primary element
in apparel manufacturing operations utilizing the increasingly
popular agile manufacturing. It is the perfect medium for the
demands of today's marketplace - short run and sample production.
This use in agile manufacturing has been made possible through
development and refinement of dye-sublimation
printing. With the help of specially formulated dye-sublimation
inks and advances in graphics and RIP
software packages, operators now have greater control and flexibility
which results in a better quality end product. Now short runs of
fabrics or even individual cut parts can be printed efficiently,
quickly, and cost-effectively in response to real market demand.
HEAT TRANSFER PRODUCT APPLICATIONS
- Point of purchase banners, signage, displays, skirting, carpeting,
- Advertising specialties - mouse pads, wrist pads, beverage
insulators, clip boards, etc.
- Ceramic tiles, wall murals and interior design
- Snow skis, snow boards, cycling helmets, in-line skates, water
- Gaming tables , chips
- Lettering, Rhinestones/crystals
- Uni-sub wood, clipboards, plaques, signage, vending machines
message boards, table tops, counter tops, flooring, etc.
- Microfiber based sports apparel, T-shirts, caps, swimsuits,
jackets, tote bags, cut apparel parts, large format textiles,
HEAT TRANSFER PRINTING MACHINERY
Heat Transfer machinery is of two types:
A. Platen Type Transfer Presses i.e. Astex
model #162/354, 1550PA #1350, 1600 etc.
B. Rotary Drum Transfer Presses #7500,
#7616, 7900T, 7300IJ, etc
Platen presses are often used for printing on individual pieces
such as cut apparel parts, T-shirts, sports apparel, tote bags,
etc. Platen presses are also used to print on rigid substrates
such as wood, metals and ceramic tiles.
ROTARY DRUM MACHINES
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This video demonstrates heat transfer printing using the roll to roll method
These machines are often used to print fabric continuously (roll
to roll) and to print large fabric parts such as signs and banners
which may be too large for a standard platen press. Drum machines
can also be used to print sports apparel and other cut apparel
parts. Drum machines are more productive than platen machines for sublimation
printing on cut apparel parts and are therefore used when production
volume is high. Drum machines are not used however to print onto
rigid substrates such as wood, metal or ceramic tile.
CHOOSING A MACHINE
The right machine depends on the type of product to be printed,
the print size and the production requirements. If you wish to
print full coverage on 60" wide goods, you would need to use
a Rotary Drum machine. T-shirts, mugs, wood or tile are best printed
on a platen machine. Cut apparel parts can be printed on either
a platen press or a rotary drum machine. Production requirements
often dictate which type of machine is used. Banners and soft signage
are often printed on a rotary drum machine.
Our exclusive heat transfer press
finder will help you find a heat transfer press to
suit your needs. Simply choose the type of heat transfer machine
and enter your printing size requirements and the finder will
return a list of best fit heat presses.
Let us know your application and we will be happy to recommend
the right machine for your particular needs.
SOURCES AND TYPES OF TRANSFERS
There are many different types and sources of transfers. Generally
speaking a transfer is made up of a carrier paper and inks. When
heat and pressure are applied to this paper the inks are transferred
to the substrate you wish to print onto. Some transfers are topical.
The image is applied to the surface of the substrate. Other transfers
are absorbed into the fibers of the material. The types of transfers,
which permeate the material, are called sublimation
transfers. Jesse J. Heap & Son offers a full dye-sublimation
package in partnership with some of the leading vendors in
this field - Sawgrass, AIT & Wasatch.
Heat transfers can also be printed onto mugs, ceramic tile, mouspads,
metals, glass and wood (sublimation process). The above substrates
must have a polyester coating so that the transfer will adhere.
These substrates can be purchased with the coating from a supplier.
Check our sublimation FAQ for
The three most common types of image transfers produced are: Computer
transfers, Color Copier transfers and what are referred
to as "Supplier" transfers.
"Supplier" transfers can
be purchased from commercial suppliers. These transfers are screen
printed onto carrier paper or on offset presses using sublimation
inks. Their designs are shown in catalogues or can be special
ordered. The plastisol/hot peal transfers from these companies
are generally opaque and therefore good for heat transferring
onto dark items.
Computer Transfers are transfers
that can be created in-house using a computer graphics package,
which is integrated with an ink-jet or electrostatic printer. Contact
us and we can advise you about an in-house paper printing system.
Color copier transfers are
produced using a special color copier transfer paper. The image
is copied onto the special paper and then heat pressed on the material.
Other types of transfers include embroidered appliques, die cut
lettering and flock transfers. Embroidered appliques come as an
embroidered patch with heat activated adhesive on the underside.
Dye cut lettering is a vinyl or other type of material that is
pre cut in various numbers, letters and custom shapes. The user
lays the letters and numbers down on the garment and heat-seals
them on. Sports apparel is printed with numbers and letters in
IN-HOUSE OR OUT-SOURCE??
The decision to make transfers in-house or to out source them
from a supplier depends on your target market and your production
requirements. If you plan to do small runs of special designs it
would be cost effective to set up an in-house system to generate
paper. Large bulk jobs would be best served by purchasing sublimation
paper or other transfers from a commercial supplier.
The three main ingredients in Heat Transfer Technology are the
heat press, the transfer and the substrate to be printed. Information
on the Astex line of Heat Transfer Printing Equipment can be found
in our AIT/Astex Heat
Transfer Section. Please feel free to email us or fill out
the catalogue request form. You
may also call or fax us at the numbers listed.