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difference between IML process, water transfer process, and thermal transfer process
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difference between IML process, water transfer process, and thermal transfer process

Author:Site Editor     Publish Time: 2021-09-30      Origin:Site

From three aspects, what is the difference between IML process, water transfer process, and thermal transfer process?

1. Material aspect:

a: The base material of the IML printing pattern: PET sheet, usually 0.125mm and 0.188mm high-stretch PET sheet;

b: Substrate for water transfer printing: special stickers for water transfer printing;

c: Thermal transfer substrate: PET sheet;

 

2. How does the printed pattern attach to the surface of the product

a: In the IML printing process, we have mentioned in the previous article that the pattern ink is printed on the PET sheet, and then through the subsequent series of pattern curing, adhesives, and bottom coating operations, the PET sheet is finally put into the plastic The inside of the mold is injected with the plastic material, and the pattern ink layer is on the middle layer of the base material layer on the PET and the base material layer under the plastic material. That is, the ink is not on the surface of the product, and the natural product pattern will not be scratched or faded.

 

b. Water transfer is used to soften the pattern printed on the water sticker by the treated liquid water, and then cover the surface of the product substrate by hand using the water sticker, and then scrape the image to leave the pattern on the product surface and peel off the water sticker substrate. Then the surface of the product is treated again and sprayed with rubber oil or UV transparent bright oil to protect the pattern on the surface of the product. However, since the product pattern is attached to the surface of the product, the edges and corners of the product will appear pattern wear and fall off.

 

c.Thermal transfer, the pattern is printed on the PET sheet by a printer or a printing machine, and then the PET sheet is fixed to the product mold through the positioning hole, and then placed in a vacuum box to vacuum and heat, so that the product pattern is in the mold Wrap and transfer to the surface of the product with the aid of the product, and then peel off the PET printing substrate. Then the surface is sprayed with rubber oil and UV oil again. At present, due to the advancement of IML technology, the range of products used in China for thermal transfer technology is gradually shrinking.

 

3.Advantages and disadvantages:

a.IML, advantages: most of the production steps are completed by molds, fast speed, high precision, product pattern position can ensure that all products are the same, the surface is not easy to fade, scratch, and the production stability is relatively strong.

Disadvantages: The cost of the mold is relatively high. Generally, three sets of molds are required: PET sheet forming mold, PET sheet punching mold, plastic and PET sheet injection mold, and the holes and corners of the product cannot be completely wrapped.

 

b. Water transfer printing: Advantages: It can realize the full wrapping of the edges and corners of the product surface and the edge of the hole.

Disadvantages: Manually process the pattern transfer, which cannot ensure 100% consistency of the pattern positions of all products, which consumes labor, and the corners of the product surface are easy to wear.

 

C:Thermal transfer: Advantages: It can achieve full wrapping of the edges and corners of the product surface and the edge of the hole. Mold production is of high standard.

Disadvantages: Because it needs to be put into a vacuum cabinet to vacuum, different auxiliary fixtures need to be developed according to different products, and the early development cost is high.



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