Comparison with other decorating techniques - SIMTON Technology Co., LTD
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Comparison with other decorating techniques

As In-Mold Decorating / Labeling is a decorating process employed during the molding cycle, it may be of some use to review alternative post-mold decorating techniques such as:

Pad Printing 
It is a printing process that can transfer a 2-D image onto a 3-D object. This is accomplished using an indirect offset (gravure) printing process that involves an image being transferred from the printing plate (cliché) via a silicone pad onto a substrate (surface to be printed). Pad printing is used for printing on otherwise impossible products in many industries including medical, automotive, promotional, apparel, electronics, appliances, sports equipment and toys.
 
Screen Printing 
It is a wet process where ink is squeezed through a fine mesh material onto the part to be decorated. 

Water Transfer 
Printing starts with pre-printed high-definition patterns on a water-soluble transfer film. 

Appliqué 
It is a process where a printed, self adhesive label is applied to the finished molded part. This method typically relies on the screen-printing process and typically used in the appliance and automotive industries. It is inexpensive and very easy to use but the label can be peeled off very easily. Additionally, the applied label will not look like part of the molded product and will exhibit “witness” lines where the label ends and the molded part begins.

Laser Etching 
It is most often used in conjunction with spray painting to etch graphics on plastic or elastomers. The laser etching process can be used to mark a variety of materials that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, to mark mechanically. It is ideal for products requiring intricate decorative work however, it is a slow process and not recommended for high volume applications.

Hot Stamping 
It is a dry printing process. In hot stamping, metallic or color pigmented hot stamping foil is applied to the part by trapping the material between a heated die and the part. Heat and pressure is applied and the foil is released from the carrier and is permanently bonded to the part. Hot stamping machines are specific to certain types of applications. Flat hot stamping machines are designed to be used exclusively on flat parts or flat areas of a part. Roll hot stamping machines are designed to rotate a round or oval part under the die to print on these types of surfaces allowing for 360 degree printing on round cylindrical shapes and front or back printing on oval shapes.

Heat Transfer 
It is a dry printing process like hot stamping where a preprinted graphic image is trapped between a heated plate and the part. Heat and pressure is applied to the part and the graphic is then permanently bonded to the part.