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Comparison of Heat Transfer Printing Machines and Heat Press Machines

Posted on 05-21-2024 by Administrator

Heat transfer printing machines and heat press machines are commonly used in garment and fabric printing. Due to their similarities in usage, many companies find it difficult to choose between the two. Recently, experts provided a brief introduction to the features, advantages, and disadvantages of these two machines for screen printing companies to reference when making their choice.

Heat Transfer Printing Machine

The heat transfer printing machine, also known as thermal transfer printing, is a new printing process introduced to China from abroad just over ten years ago. The printing method involves first printing the pigment onto paper to create transfer printing paper, and then transferring the color to the fabric through high temperature (heating and pressing on the back of the paper). It is generally used for synthetic fiber fabrics and is characterized by bright colors, delicate layers, realistic patterns, and strong artistic appeal. The transfer printing process is simple, requires a small investment, and allows for flexible production, making it quite popular in the market. Compared to other types of printing, thermal transfer printing is more expensive but is considered high-grade, especially for synthetic fiber fabrics which require this method.

Advantages: Simple printing steps, accurate positioning, natural transition of different colors.

Disadvantages: Colors may bleed if there are too many, and issues like blue and red spots can occur during printing. Compared to traditional screen printing technology, the cost is higher for large-scale printing.

Heat Press Machine

The heat press machine is a type of heat transfer printing machine that can transfer various heat press designs onto cotton, linen, synthetic fiber, and other fabrics. It can also perform heat treatment for screen printing, glue, and puff printing processes, making it suitable for producing cultural shirts, which are economical and practical with exquisite patterns. It is replacing traditional embroidery and screen printing while offering significantly lower costs and better results than general embroidery and multicolor screen printing. There are two types of heat press machines related to the garment industry: flat heat press machines used mainly for fabric and curved heat press machines for hats. They can be operated manually, pneumatically, or hydraulically.

The heat press machine operates on three main principles: pressure, temperature, and time. Its working mechanism involves using a heated plate to apply a certain pressure, specific temperature, and time to bond the transfer paper layer to the substrate or to penetrate the material. The core component of a heat press machine is the heating plate, which should be the main focus when selecting a machine. The upper and lower plates should be made of aluminum, with the heating tube cast inside the aluminum plate. If the upper plate is slotted and the heating tube is attached to the surface, it will result in unnecessary energy loss, slow heating, and large temperature variations. If the lower plate is made of iron or other materials, it will easily deform and age under high temperature and pressure. The upper and lower plates have weight standards based on the heating plate area, and heavier, thicker plates ensure more reliable performance. After the upper plate is pressed down, it should be parallel to the lower plate. To test if the plates are flush, place a hard paper or other flexible material at each corner, press the handle down, and if the paper can be pulled out smoothly, the machine is qualified.

Advantages: No need for plate-making, can print a single item; realistic images that can closely resemble photographs.

Disadvantages: Slightly stiff texture; light-colored prints are highly breathable, but dark-colored prints are not breathable.

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