Visual Distinctions

The largest visual distinction between hot stamp and heat transfer decoration is in the number of colors used.

Multi-Color Decoration – Heat Transfer
Hot stamp typically involves using a single color foil whereas heat transfer decoration uses  film pre-printed with multi-color images (heat transfer labels).

Premium Metallic Decoration – Hot Stamp
Hot stamp is superior at delivering quality decoration in metallic colors.

Process Distinctions

While hot stamp and heat transfer decoration processes are very similar, a difference can be seen in the dies used. The molds for hot stamp dies carry the image to be used. They are more complex than the molds used for heat transfer decoration where no graphic image is carried on the die (the image comes from heat transfer label itself).

Hot Stamp

Benefits and Considerations

Benefits
Hot Stamp Benefits
Benefit Description
Pigment, metallic, matte, and glossy colors Foil is better than ink processes at delivering shiny or mirror effect finishes.

  • Pigment and matte metallic colors can be achieved with both hot stamp and heat transfer.
  • Bright metallic can only be accomplished with hot stamp. This is because the plating method used in the manufacture of hot stamp foils is not achievable with the inks used in the production of heat transfer labels.
Dry process Unlike pad printing, hot stamping doesn’t use any wet ink or solvents. It is a dry decoration process using foil. There are no storage problems with flammable materials, strong odors, ink mixing, or messy clean-up; the decorated part is ready to be handled or packaged after stamping.
Instantaneous curing No post-curing allows immediate handling and packaging
Minimal setup time Artwork changeover on the same part requires a simple Die and/or Foil Roll change if transitioning from one color to the next.  No clean-up of inks and tools required.  Various tools available (including United Silicone’s magnetic die mounting system) to achieve ‘quick change’ transitions.
On-demand decorating Unlike In-Mold Labeling (IML) that requires decoration at the same time parts are formed, hot stamp decoration can be accomplished either inline with molding machines or offline utilizing parts from inventory. This provides greater flexibility for users. It is not necessary to have complete artwork at the time the part is made.
Semi-skilled operators When working with a dry process the equipment controls the process. Of course there are variables, but not as many as with other processes.
Opacity Foils have superior opacity in one hit/application.. Pigment foils provide solid colors in flat or gloss finish, equivalent to a thick layer of opaque ink.
Considerations
Object shape considerations

Flat or round objects are best suited for hot stamp or heat transfer, whereas objects with compound curves are not well-suited.

Object surface considerations

Objects with smooth surfaces are best suited for hot stamp or heat transfer, whereas objects with textured surfaces are not.

 

 

Changing artwork requires changing dies

Graphic images are achieved with Silicone or Metal Dies. A new Die is required with each change in artwork. United Silicone can schedule Die lead times to meet production requirements.

Speed of application

Dwell time requirements vary from instant contact to up to 3 to 4 seconds in order to have a complete transfer of a large image to the part.

Heat Transfer Decoration

Benefits and Considerations

Wide Range of Heat Transfer Decoration Options Screen printed, digitally printed, gravure, wax release and Polyfuze
Heat Transfer Decoration Benefits
Benefit Description
Brilliant, multicolor graphics
  • High Quality Print
  • Photographic Resolution Possible With Wax Release Transfers
  • Metallic Like Colors Achievable With Non-Digitally Printed Transfers
  • Vignettes & Tones
  • Permanent, Safe decoration
  • Moisture & Chemical Resistant
  • Durable
Sustainable Technology
(benefits dependent on particular heat transfer type selected)
  • Dry Process (No Wet Inks/Screens)
  • Comply With CONEG Regulations
  • Approved With Oral Toxicity Test
  • Environmentally Sustainable
  • Labels Can Remain on Plastic Containers During Recycling & Regrind
  • Only Applies Ink & Lacquer on Containers (no heavy metals used)
  • Wax Release Liner is Biodegradable
Minimal setup time
  • Labels in roll format
  • Roll-to-roll label splicing
  • Simple label changeovers
  • Changing the image on the same part only requires a roll change resulting in a reduction in the set-up time between jobs.
On-demand decorating
  • Various container sizes/shapes can be run
  • All of the colors are transferred in one step reducing the number of hits or passes required to apply a multi-color graphic.
  • Multiple SKU’s on same bottle style
  • Stretch graphics – Allows label to be “fit” to a container.
  • Label can be stretched to accommodate inconsistent container dimensions or changes
Custom colors and formulations
  • Heat transfer labels are engineered to meet specific customer requirements and specifications.  Formulas specific to the individual product include chemical and abrasion resistance, UV stability, adhesion specifications, and other requirements depending on the product being decorated.
  • Heat transfer labels are versatile and can be used on a wide range of plastics in production today as well as glass, metal, wood, painted surfaces, paper, and fabrics.
Semi-skilled operators
  • When working with a dry process the equipment controls the process. Of course there are variables, but not as many as with other processes.
Dry process The Heat Transfer process utilizes a pre-printed/pre-manufactured graphic image on a film/carrier that is then applied with heat and pressure.  No inks or solvents required at application stage thus simplifying set-up and significantly reducing change over and clean up time.
Instantaneous curing As a dry process (no inks and solvents), Heat Transfer applications produce finished parts that are immediately ready to be handled and packaged without fear for damage.  No post-cure or drying required.
Opacity
Because Heat Transfer Labels are manufactured in layers (multiple ink passes/layers), image opacity is achieved in a single pass. This is in contrast to processes like Pad Printing where multiple hits may be required due to the thin lay down of ink.
Considerations
Object shape considerations

Flat or round objects are best suited for heat transfer, whereas objects with compound curves are not well-suited for heat transfer.

Object surface considerations

Objects with smooth surfaces are best suited for heat transfer, whereas objects with textured surfaces are not.

Changing artwork may require changing Dies

Graphic images are achieved utilizing pre-printed Heat Transfer Labels.  A new Die may be required with an artwork change dependent upon graphic shape, die design, and heat or witness mark tolerance.

Quantities required per image

Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) may be required..  The digital process provides variable print from label-to-label with no MOQ or set-up fee.

Heat transfer labels provided by a vendor

Leadtimes and MOQs for Heat Transfer Labels vary dependent upon manufacturing type – Digital, Screen Printed, Gravure, Polyfuze, Flexo, etc

Speed of application

Dwell time requirements vary from instant contact to up to 3 to 4 seconds in order to have a complete transfer of a large image to the part.

Pre-Treatment & Post-Treatment may be required (Wax Transfers Only)

Whereas the elimination of pre- and post- treatments is a considerable advantage of hot stamp and heat transfer, wax transfers are the exception to this rule and may require treatment.

Post-treat: used to “gloss-up” label graphics; delivers outstanding image quality