Surface treatment is a crucial process for Everichhydro wholesale insulated water bottle custom service. Our stainless steel water bottles are achieved by 5 major processes, including thermal transfer, water transfer, air transfer, water decal, 3D, and 5D print. This article will give you detailed process steps and advantages. Take a reference about your insulated water bottle business. If you are investing in water bottles, you want to know the surface treatment, and which of these processes will give products to meet your different requirements.
I. Heat transfer printing
Heat transfer printing was introduced by John Sadler and Guy Green as early as the 1750s. The technique was first applied to decorate ceramics, mainly pottery. The technique was widely accepted and quickly spread to other parts of Europe. In the late 1940s, heat transfer printing (a technique more commonly used today) was invented by SATO company based in the USA.
Heat transfer printing is completed by a heat transfer machine, heated and pressurized, to transfer the beautiful patterns on the transfer film onto the wholesale insulated water bottle products surface, leaving a blank film. The whole process is divided into two major parts: transfer film printing and transfer processing. Transfer film printing uses dot printing (resolution up to 300 dpi) to pre-print patterns on the film surface. The printed patterns are colorful and varied, with little color differences and good reproducibility, which can achieve the pattern effect required by the designer, and are suitable for mass production.
Advantages of heat transfer printing
Allow for different customization wholesale insulated water bottle products, e.g. logo custom;
Shorter lead times for smaller quantity orders;
Cost-effectiveness of small quantity orders;
Ability to generate high-quality and complex patterns with unlimited options.
II. Water Transfer
As people’s requirements for product packaging and decoration increase, the use of water transfer is becoming more and more widespread. The principle of indirect printing and the perfect printing effect have solved the decorating problem of many products’ surfaces, mainly for the transfer of graphics on the surface of various products with complex shapes. Water transfer uses water as a dissolving medium to transfer colored transfer paper or transfer film with a color pattern. Its biggest technical advantage is that it does not require special equipment, is not limited by the medium, not requiring special consumables for high-temperature heating. As long as you have image input tools (scanner or digital camera), drawing tools (computer), image output tools (inkjet printer), and adding water transfer ink and paper, you can print any image on any solid object or any surface you like. Small investment, quick to start, easy to operate, and suitable for all areas.
Take out the product, after cleaning and drying, like irregular products, or uneven products, can be completed on stone, plastic, or ceramic surfaces. The whole process is done under the tension of water. So the patterns with poor precision will also have deformation, like wood grain, marble grain, and camouflage grain.
Water transfer film material
Water transfer film: it is printed on a water-soluble film made of polyvinyl alcohol, printed with a pattern by intaglio printing, and the printed patterned film paper is placed flat on the water surface.
Activator: it is an aromatic hydrocarbon-based activator to accelerate the melting of the film. This activator can destroy the polyvinyl alcohol film, but it does not affect the pattern. The film melts after the pattern becomes the ink state, floating on the surface of the water, prepared workpiece needs to have de-oiled sanding and primer treatment. Take the workpiece slowly into the water, under the action of water pressure and tension.
The ink pattern will adhere to the surface of the product and will need to be shaken considerably when picked up so that the remaining ink on the surface of the water can spread out in all directions to avoid sticking to the product again.
III. Air Transfer
Air transfer is also called heat sublimation. It is a type of printing process in which the pigment molecules are brought into the medium by heating. Heat sublimation is achieved by heat sublimation paper printing machines, heat sublimation transfer paper, and heat transfer ink. It mainly uses dispersed dyes. The special dyes are printed on heat sublimation transfer paper by using a gravure printing machine. Then the pattern of the transfer paper is transferred to the object, and the characteristics of dispersive dye sublimation at high temperature are used to diffuse the dye into the inside of the object in a high-temperature environment.
Features of Air Transfer
In the process of heat sublimation, the dye is directly soaked into the coating. Heat sublimation could express patterns with distinct color layers, gorgeous color, environmentally friendly and no pollution, no need for washing and reducing sewage discharge, and lower cost.
IV. Water Decal
The water decal process is one of the silk printing. It needs a four-color offset printing press machine. The advantage is that the pattern color can be controlled according to the Pantone color provided by customers. Proofing color could be consistent with the bulk color, without a color difference. Water decal is widely used in flat, three-dimensional, metal, hot stamping, and laser logos.
The drawing paper used in the water decal is completed by printing. In the process of printing drawing paper, some pattern areas could be printed repeatedly to achieve the three-dimensional effect, so the color is more gorgeous. Because the wholesale water bottle is artificial processing, in the manufacturing process the decal error or other bad problems can be timely repeated many times. Therefore, the rate of defective products is relatively lower.
Most of the water decal process is achieved by manual processing, which is slow and difficult to complete, so the cost of water decal is high. What are the advantages of water decals? The water decal process can realize the printing of all and partial patterns on the surface of the water bottle. Even if the surface of some stainless steel water bottles is strangely shaped, the printing effect can be realized through the water decal process.
Water Decal Steps
First, peel off the release paper and cut out the desired pattern.
Soak in room temperature water until the pattern slides over the surface of the paper.
Remove the pattern and apply it to the object by dragging it over the surface, using a soft cloth or paper towel to remove any air bubbles and moisture.
Allow to air dry, or bake in the oven.
If you spray the surface with a varnish, any effect will be greatly enhanced. It is possible to leave it unsprayed but it will not adhere as well.
V. 3D/5D Print
3D/5D print characteristics: design patterns without specific requirements, it can achieve figurative, abstract, and imitation leather patterns. The output pattern accuracy and color accuracy of the design is directly read by software. No standard pattern color code is required.
Color defects: it can not complete hot stamping and hot silver effect.
Difference between 3D and 5D print: 3D is two coats of ink; the first is the base color, and the second is the file pattern. 5D has an extra glossy varnish, just a little bumpier.
Advantages of 3D and 5D Print
No plate-making costs.
Short processing time and fast sample effect reduce proofing time, just 1 day.
No manual processing costs, automated software operation to reduce processing time, and traditional baking procedures.
Highly accurate design reproduction and bright colors.
The above is the main surface treatment process of stainless steel water bottles. Customize your brand logo at our drinkware manufacturer. Pick up a processing technique and wait for the final water bottle products to benefit your business. Different surface treatments will produce different functions and properties. Everichhydro is a reliable insulated water bottle supplier with over 20 years of experience. Welcome to contact us if you have any questions.