Easy to use, soft handle, great durability and cost effective – all of these things would not have been associated with heat transfer papers in the past. This month Peter Wright, managing director of Amaya Sales UK, runs through the advancements in this garment decoration technology.
As laser printer technology has become more advanced over the years, it has allowed a new breed of transfer papers which break the mould of those earlier papers.
It all started with printing on to white, light and pale garments, although there was some early transfer papers available for dark garments, it was hit and miss for many companies. Then, out of nowhere and it felt like almost overnight, Oki introduced the white toner printer range of LED laser printers and it changed the industry. Today the Oki Pro7411WT and Oki Pro 8432WT are the must haves for any size of business in the garment decoration sector of the market.
These printers allowed the explosion of the no weed, no cut full colour logos onto light and dark garments. As it says, gone were the days of having to weed out, manually cut or trim your transfer paper and then heat press it to a garment. This meant that the speed of producing full colour transfers is now much quicker and more accurate, so order quantities could be higher, and it would still be cost effective for the end user. Less time weeding also meant that many man hours were saved in production, so everyone won all round – operator and customer.
It was simple. Print your image onto you’re a foil paper, heat apply the adhesive/opaque backing and you were ready. No lining up issues, no small detail issues just ready to use full colour transfers.
The no weed, no cut had now, indirectly introduced no limits to its title along with a flurry of similar products in the range with the use of the white toner printer. This technology was also used to create a single colour transfer that didn’t need the expense of the white toner printer. Using a standard CMYK or black laser printer with Flex soft transfer papers you can produce intricate designs in metallics, neons and standard colours. And again with no weed, no cut advantages.
Using these lower cost printers allows a lower entry cost into the T shirt printing industry. Many new businesses have started at this level and upgraded to the Oki white toner printer to produce full colour on to dark products later.
Another big advantage was that these transfer papers have a wider spectrum of heat press times and temperatures. You can now use a variety of different heat presses and not forced to use one type of press. If you have a good heat press – clam, swing or pneumatic and they have good heat distribution then you could use the products successfully.
You can now use the same transfer to adhere to white, black or anything between in colour, cotton, polyester, poly/cotton, nylon, lycra and more by just altering your pressing technique according to the garment being pressed onto. Depending on what printer you have, means that you could utilise one or all of the full colour, single colour, neon or metallic finishes – in gloss or matt!
Finally, with the wide range of RIPs that are available the ink usage could be both tracked and controlled.
As well as the garment laser heat transfer papers there is also a range for hard surfaces, allowing you to print on ceramics, slate, wood, leather, etc in full colour, single colour, white and metallic finishes.
If you have stayed away from this process in the past – now would be a good time to take another look into the laser heat transfer systems, I am confident you will be pleasantly surprised.