This labeling technique is sophisticated and generally requires large run quantities. Heat transfer is the attachment to the container of a decal-like label. When this label has been applied to the container, the finished bottle appears to have actually been printed rather than having a label affixed. For multiple colors (up to 5) or labels with half-tones, heat transfer labels can be used which will provide color quality, registration and competitive pricing. At this time there are two major types of heat transfer labels.
- Thermiage / Heat Transfer
This process uses rotogravure printing to decorate 3 dimensional plastic containers in full color process, halftone or line copy. Label copies are printed in up to 5 colors (plus one lacquer coat for adhesion) on a paper web. Using heat and pressure a Thermiage TM machine transfers the film-thin decorations from the paper web and applies them to the container in a permanent scuff resistant bond at speeds up to 100 per minute. Most resins in commercial use today can be handled by Thermiage decorating equipment.
Round containers decorated with one label can be printed to a maximum circumference of 20-3/8 inches. Oval, oblong or other shaped containers requiring a front and separate back label must be processed through the equipment separately for each label. This may be done in tandem. Concave surfaced containers offer special problems in that they must be inflated to change the side walls to a convex.
This system is virtually identical to Thermiage except the copy is screen printed rather than the rotogravure process.. This process provides labels with as many as 6 colors utilizing halftones or line copy.
360 degree Wrap-around coverage is not possible with this process.
In both the heat transfer processes, color cylinders to print the label and application tooling are required. Often, when volumes to be run are substantial costs can be recovered very quickly.