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What is thermal transfer

1. Introduction of thermal transfer printing

Thermal transfer printing is a new method of printing patterns on goods of various materials, especially suitable for making small and diverse personalized and customized goods, and printing patterns containing full-color images or photos. The principle is to pre-print the color pattern on the heat-resistant substrate film (by release treatment), and then cooperate with special transfer equipment to accurately transfer the pattern to the surface of the product by hot stamping at high temperature and pressure. Product printing. It can print one-time multi-color and any complex color on any relatively flat materials such as leather, textile fabrics, plexiglass, metal, plastic, crystal, wood products, and coated paper.

The thermal transfer printing process has reliable quality, stable technology, good material formula and close cooperation with equipment. The characteristics of the thermal transfer printing process: simple operation, few production processes, high efficiency, no pollution, small footprint, and low investment. After printing, it has good adhesion, high gloss, clear pictures and texts, accurate color registration, bright colors, safe and non-toxic, and after hot stamping, it can be processed by oil spray sandblasting, secondary injection molding, bending, punching and shearing.

2. Classification of thermal transfer process

thermal transfer printing method is divided into transfer film printing and transfer processing : 

(1) The transfer film printing adopts dot printing (resolution up to 300dpi), and the pattern is pre-printed on the surface of the film, and the printed pattern is rich in layers and bright in color. , ever-changing, small chromatic aberration, good reproducibility, can meet the requirements of the designer, and is suitable for mass production; 

(2) Transfer processing is processed by a thermal transfer machine (heating and pressing) once to transfer the transfer film. The pattern is transferred on the surface of the product, and the ink layer is integrated with the surface of the product after molding, which is realistic and beautiful, and greatly improves the grade of the product.

3. The principle of thermal transfer process 

The color pattern is printed on the heat-resistant substrate film in advance (by release treatment), and then with the special transfer equipment, it is transferred to the surface of the product by hot stamping. The thermal transfer process Reliable quality, stable technology, good material formula and close coordination of equipment.

4. Advantages of thermal transfer printing process:

Simple printing, no damage, accurate location, professional use, multiple printing

Thermal transfer printing is a dry production process, the process is single, and the entire work can be completed without adhesives

Thermal transfer prints excellently on the edges of parts, boards, and even trim finishes

Thermal transfer printing can not only make the product look and feel, but also have a real wood feel

The performance of thermal transfer coating exceeds that of general finishing

The bonding between the decorative layer and the substrate is seamless, and the gap is almost invisible to the naked eye

After thermal transfer, the parts can be immediately transferred to the next process for processing

Can be ironed on the thermal transfer layer

5. Types of thermal transfer printing:

Thermal Separation 

Thermal separation is again considered a "thermal peel" transfer. is one of the most popular transfers. Because when used on shirts, it has the same soft texture as direct screen printing. The reason why it is called "hot peeling" is that when the transfer product is used for 10 seconds after the hot pressing machine is applied, the paper is quickly peeled off while it is hot, and the ink will be divided into two. Some of the ink will transfer to the shirt, while the other will remain on the paper. This gives the transfer a soft texture.


cold-peel transfers are also still popular and are mainly used for sportswear printing, as well as for foil printing on shirts. In fact, if you do it right, transfer printing can be done with either thermal separation or cold peel. There is no difference in the effect and operation of thermal separation and cold stripping. The real difference is the paper used and the application of the press. When you use cold peel, let the transfer paper cool for about 30 seconds before you peel off the paper. Doing so leaves the ink completely on the garment and gives the transferred pattern a very rubber-like elastic texture. Cold peel prints are generally not suitable when printing larger graphics on t-shirts, as they are hot on the body and can affect the breathability of the shirt. They are also not washable because the top rubber layer of the ink will crack. Then, cold peel made a comeback as a "vintage" type of print that is being used again.

Inkjet Transfer Inkjet 

is commonly used in direct printing shirts and in making transfers. Conversion inkjet is a special ink that is automatically ejected under high temperature and pressure.

6. Thermal transfer printing method

There are two types, one is thermal sublimation transfer printing and the other is thermal solidification transfer printing.


disperse dyes is printed into printing paper by screen or gravure, the pattern on the printing paper is transferred to the desired medium.


, also known as hot melt adhesive, is used to transfer the pattern on the printing paper to products such as cultural shirts and clothing after screen printing it into printing paper. 

The difference between the two methods is that: the 

sublimation transfer method is mainly used on chemical fiber fabrics and hard materials coated with thermal transfer coating, while the thermal set transfer method is mainly used on pure cotton products; 

the texture produced by the two methods is There are also differences. After the sublimation pattern is transferred, the original texture of the material is not changed, and the hand feel and look and feel are good. After the thermosetting pattern is transferred, a layer of glue is formed on the surface of the attachment, which has a poor hand feel and is airtight. The two printing methods have their own advantages and disadvantages in production and production.

7. Thermal transfer printing process application industry

The thermal transfer printing process is mainly used in cosmetics, toys, plastics, food packaging, electrical appliances, stationery and other industries, as well as various wood, metal and other product surfaces.

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