Hot Foil printing is the process of using heat and pressure to apply coloured foils to materials such as paper, vinyl, polyprop & polyester etc. Adhesive backed rolls of material are fed through a printing press & follow a sequence of operations – Print is applied using an upward/downward print ram with the heat releasing the colours on to the label stock – Material is then over laminated (if required) to create a durable finish totally over protecting the whole label from rubbing, cleaning & solvents – The label then passes through an upward/downward cut ram where the label is cut to size – The waste is then stripped from round the label with the finished labels wound on to rolls.
Material is fed into the press from a large roll. The image is printed on the substrate as it is pulled through a series of stations, or print units. Each station prints a single ink colour. The various tones and shading are achieved by overlaying the 4 basic shades of ink – Magenta, Cyan, Yellow and Black.
Thermal transfer printing is a digital printing process in which an image/text/barcode is applied to paper, vinyl & polyester etc by melting a coating of ribbon that stays glued to the material on which the print is applied. This process allows a label to contain variable data such as sequential barcode/Asset No.
It contrasts with direct thermal printing where no ribbon is present.