The matching of sublimation transfer paper and printers

In the light of  sublimation transfer paper, printings on polyester fibers is achieved completely in terms of printing without water mark,  which is green digital printing and dyeing in every sense. At present, thermal sublimation transfer on polyester textiles is very common and mature. In this process, the quality and performance of thermal sublimation transfer paper has also changed a lot, and its development is in accordance with the development of printer hardware. Different types of printers also have different requirements for thermal sublimation transfer paper.This article here mainly discusses the different thermal sublimation transferpaper’s demand on the different printers off the market.

1. Thermal sublimation transfer process

The process of thermal sublimation transfer processis described as follows:

Computer files (pictures, word documents or others)---printed by printers (mirror printing) ---thermal sublimation transfer printing(under 180—220 degree) ---getting final products.

In order to realize the normal operation of theabove process, there are three core prerequisites: ink, paper and printers, besides the requirement of hardware like transfer printing machines. This article mainly explains the paper demands of different printers, and inks will not be discussed here.

1.1  The physical structure ofthermal sublimation transfer paper

As the core consumables of heat sublimation transfer process, thermal sublimation transfer paper mainly consists of three layers : the printing surface is divided into below from top down: the ink bearing layer, the raw paper layer and the back coating layer. High quality thermal sublimation transfer paper could work out a better balance on the three layers,achieving the stable performances.

1.2  Physical index of thermalsublimation transfer paper

1) Transfer rate: the ratio of inkexisting in the paper before and after printing; the lower amount of ink left in paper, the higher transfer rate is achieved. The importance of this index is decreasing with the growing production level and reducing cost of ink manufacturing. Country where pays more attention to manufacturing cost likeTurkey, is used to using the combination of European high concentration ink without coating and with common offset paper. This way smooth, quick drying andlow cost could be obtained in the same time.

2) Drying time: the speed of drying without stickiness after ink is printed on paper surface. Due to the increasing demand for productivity, the speed of printing machines is increasing rapid, so that this index becomes more and more important.

3) Flatness: placing paper in anenvironment of high temperature and low humidity to see if the paper can remain flat. This index is very important, as the paper is prone to curling dislocation after pressing under the heat pressing machines; and paper roll is easy to break down if paper is not flat when doing volume printing at high speed andheat transferring.

4) Wet deformation: This is the phenomenon that paper lengthens horizontally with moisture absorption after printing ink on the surface of it. It is easily seen after printing on the paper of high wet deformation, and the paper would touch printing heads as it get arched. This index has a great influence on the pattern of high ink-jetprinting with large amounts of inks.

5) Conduction band dissection: this index is only applicable for conductional printers.The paper is attachedto printer conduction band in the printing process, which requires to be peeledoff from its surface after printing. For this type of printer, if the materialon the paper back is too strong on stickiness, then you will have to cleaningband frequently.; On the other hand, if it is too week, then it would break offthe lead easily , and will cause accidental touching of printing heads.

2.The demand on thermalsublimation transfer paper for different printers.

As one of the coreprerequisites,  printers of thermalsublimation process is currently the can be categorized into three sections:low speed, medium speed and high speed machines.

Actually there are noclear-cut on low-speed and medium-speed machines; generally when the printingspeed is less than 1m/min, it is classified as a low-speed machine; forprinting speed between 1 and 10m/min, it is classified as a medium-speedmachine, and for printing speed higher than 10m/min, a high-speed machine.

2.1  Thermal sublimation transferpaper’s demand for low-speed scanning printers

Low-speed printers suchas mimaki jv33, muton 1604, ivitto, etc. have a high degree of printingprecision, and the structure of the printer usually consists of the compactionwheel. In case of high ink-jet printing, paper will be deformed after absorbingink due to the fact that the paper has been in the heads movement area forlonger time. Also due to the pressure of paper wheel of paper, the deformationof the paper will generate the obvious prismatic arch, which would touch theheads easily and destroy the printed patterns. Therefore, for this type ofprinter, the paper should to have a small wet deformation quality and strongertransfer paper coating to bear ink.

Note: printer: IVITTO:INK-JET AMOUNT: 300% printing environment humidity: 60%RH

As can be seen from the above picture, when printing in the same amount of ink, paper arches more underhigh wet deformation, the risk of touching heads is obviously higher than paperwith low wet deformation.

2.2 Thermal sublimation transferpaper’s demand for medium-speed printers

Medium-speed printers, e.g. Italy MS-JP4, MS-JP7,MICOLOR 5816, are developing rapidly at recent years in the domestic market. Such machines, comparing to low-speed printers, as their printing speed increases several times, generally do not set pressure roller structures.They are operating entirely relying on the roller tension to adjust the paper. Printing speed is increased sigificantly. Though the drying interval becomes longer,  while comparing to the speed of ascension, it is not enough. Thus medium-speed printer has higher requirements on the paper’sdrying speed.


2.3  thermal sublimation transferpaper’s demand for high-speed printers

High-speed printers mainly refer to the single channel printers, also known as one-pass printers or single-pass printers. One of the most significant characteristics of this kind of printer is its multiple fixed nozzles. Printer heads don’t move when printing, and printing is done by paper movement. So the printing speed is very fast, which can reach to 50-150 metersper minute, and the paper dryer path generally is over 10 meters. In addition,paper is pasted on the surface of the conduction band on the printing channel.The main requirements for such printers are as follows:

1) Good evenness: most coatedpaper will like to warp after backing under high temperature, which is commonlyknown as “bad anti-bending” in sublimation transfer paper industry. The dryerpath of high-speed printer is longer, and paper baking time in the oven underthe high temperature is relatively longer also. So the paper has to have goodsmoothness after baking under the high temperature.

2) Fast drying speed: although high-speed’s dryer path is extended, due to faster paper running speed, limited heat sources, and limits on factory environment, the paper dryer path couldn’tbe too long either, which still requires the paper to be fast drying.

3) Paper’s back coating exfoliationshould be appropriate.

Thinner paper: thinner paper accommodates better forlarge volume printing and high-speed heat transfer printing , and is also morecost effective.



The requirements on thermal sublimation transfer paper are quite different due to the different structuresand printing speed of different printers. The following table is summarized basedon our experience.

  NC machine is the short name of numerically controlled(NC) machines. And its control and supervision are all implemented in thenumerical control unit. Numerical controlled unit is the core of digital controlled lathe, in the sense of human brain. NC machine can also be upgraded with different modules, thus is able to have programming function over itsparts,etc. NC machine is widely used in industrial production.

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     SUNLEY NOVA MATERIAL (QU ZHOU) CO., LTD was founded in green industry gathering area (national Hi-Tech parks) of Quzhou city, Zhejiang province in Feb, 2017. SUNLEY specializes in the development, production and sales of digital transfer paper for green printing technology.

    SUNLEY is market-oriented, with green technology R&D being the driving force of innovation. Adopting the high-speed automatic equipments of self-owned intellectual property to produce transfer paper, SUNLEY has built up modern enterprise management system and is accumulating in core competences. We are committing to create values for our customers and society.

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