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Custom Stainless Steel Drink Bottle Manufacturing: Sublimation Transfer Printing Technology

Consumers are often attracted by the gorgeous patterns on the surface of S’well and Chilly’s water bottles. They want to know how KingStar can produce such beautiful patterns, and they want to know whether they can DIY custom patterns they want. There are also many buyers of custom water bottles who want to print their own design patterns on stainless steel water cups, making the products more unique and attractive. Every week we receive many emails and get calls asking how the lifelike patterns are printed on the surface of the thermos cup? The detailed description will be given below.

The process of a substance that does not go through a liquid state, but directly changes from a solid state to a gas state is called sublimation. Sublimation transfer printing, also known as “air dye printing”, is to use dye-based inks with sublimation conditions. Use lithography, screen printing, gravure printing and other printing methods to print portraits, landscapes, texts and other images that need to be printed on the paper in a mirror-reversed manner, and then put the paper with the images on the stainless steel vacuum flask , The ink on the sublimation transfer paper is transformed into a gaseous state by heating (usually about 200°C), so that the graphics and text are transferred to the stainless steel insulated cups. In this process, the paper used for transfer is called “sublimation transfer paper”, and the sublimation transfer ink is mainly composed of sublimation dyes and binders.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Sublimation Transfer Printing

Sublimation transfer technology is mainly used to decorate products with irregular shapes and various materials, such as penholders, mirror frames, vases, water cups, etc. It not only increases the artistic effect of the product, but also improves the grade of the product. Its main advantages are simple printing, fine and vivid graphics and good color fastness. It can truly transfer pictures and texts on fabrics, and the printed fabrics have strong air permeability. The color is gorgeous. in addition. The graphics and texts transferred to hard materials are also very clear and realistic. It is different from ordinary printing methods. Sublimation transfer is to make the transfer ink sublime into the object under high temperature and high pressure conditions, and then form a bright image after sublimation, so the product obtained by sublimation transfer is durable, and the image will not fall off, crack or fade. Sublimation transfer can be successfully transferred once, without consuming a large amount of ink, which can save time and money. When performing sublimation transfer, transfer to the fabric, and let the substrate withstand a high temperature of 200°C on the transfer machine. The transfer can be completed within 10 to 30 seconds. During this process, the dye changes directly from a solid to a gas, and then back to a solid.

Although sublimation transfer has many advantages, it also has certain limitations. The biggest disadvantage is that the choice of color is limited and it is difficult to match the Pantone color standard.

custom pattern personalize graphic vacuum flask

Technical Essentials of Sublimation Transfer

In the process of sublimation transfer, you must use sublimation transfer ink. This kind of ink made of disperse dyes will sublime and dye the substrate when it reaches the transfer temperature. The temperature of thermal transfer should be controlled within the range of 180~230℃, and the time should be about 10~30 seconds. Except for temperature and time. The pressure during sublimation transfer is also a very important process parameter. Taking the substrate as a fabric as an example, if the pressure is too low, the gap between the thermos cup and the transfer paper will be large, resulting in poor printing effect. At the same time, the sublimation ink will easily bleed, the lines will be thick and the pattern will be blurred; if the pressure is increased, the thermos cup The space between it and the transfer paper is small and the transfer coloring effect is good, the pattern is clear, and the lines are smooth and fine. Therefore, KingStar should make a small sample before the formal batch transfer to determine the best process parameters.

The pre-press work of the production of sublimation transfer paper is very important, because the color of the dye ink used in the production of sublimation transfer paper is very different before transfer (the pattern on the sublimation transfer paper without heat and pressure) and after transfer. Before the sublimation transfer ink transfer, the four colors of C.M and Y.K look dark and dull (there is no white ink in the sublimation transfer ink). It relies on the high temperature of about 200 ℃ to restore the true color, so it brings difficulties to the production of transfer paper color correction and printing. KingStar will make small batch samples before production, and then make adjustments according to the proofing results and combined with customer requirements, and then proceed to mass production after customer confirmation.

In the heat transfer, the heat pressing surface, the transfer paper and the surface of the stainless steel water cup must be close to each other. There must be no gaps, otherwise the transfer image and text may be blurred.

Sublimation Transfer Printing Process

  1. Make the printing plate
  2. Print patterns on sublimation transfer paper using the plate
  3. Take the qualified stainless steel drink bottles and clean the surface
  4. Spray painting a layer of single-color on the surface of stainless steel drink bottles
  5. Wrap the stainless steel bottles with sublimation transfer paper
  6. Put the stainless steel drink bottles into the vacuum machine and vacuum, so that the sublimation transfer paper sticks to the surface of the stainless steel drink bottles
  7. Raise the temperature to be 200 degrees Celsius, so that the ink on the sublimation transfer paper is sublimated to the surface of stainless steel bottle tumblers
  8. Take out the stainless steel bottles out and peel off the transfer papers

Because the sublimation printing process involves our company’s technical secrets, we are not sharing the corresponding video with this article. If you want to know more about the air dye printing process, welcome to visit KingStar, the top stainless steel drink bottle manufacturer supplier in China.

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