Heat transfer or sublimation printing is not a new process. However, not until recently has the technigue grown rapidly. Today, heat transfer printing is used to print fabrics.
Have you ever used a pressing iron to print a novelty design on your T-shirt? If so, you have used heat transfer printing.
Modem heat transfer printing starts with a special ink and, in some cases, special paper. The design or pattem is printed on the paper usually by a gravure process. The paper can be a special themoprinting type, film coated paper, or a ground wood, clay coated type. Use either sheet or roll stock.
The dried image is placed over the cloth and heat is applied. At about 199℃ the ink goes from a solid to vapor (sublimates). This causes the dyes to go into the fibers of the cloth and color them.
The modem heat transfer printing machine is capable of printing 1000 meters of cloth per hor. A skilled operator is needed to supervise and adjust the machine.