What Are Heat Transfer Labels? What Alternatives Are There?

Noelle Daigle

Sep, 30 September, 2022

Do you use Heat Transfers for decorating your Olefin products?  Have you ever given thought to the real cost of that decorating method and how it can adversely affect your production capacity and profits?

There are so many variables that can go into processing your injection molded products and many of them can’t directly be controlled to impact your bottom line. However, variables such as scrap rates, molding time and additional material costs can erode the bottom line.

So how can you do this? Let’s take a look at the video about the real cost of heat transfers and how it compares to the latest labeling technology for LSE plastics.

What Are Heat Transfer Labels?

Using a heat transfer label, the design image of the label is first printed onto synthetic material such as film and then onto transfer paper. The substrate then has a coating which is called the “release” layer. This is so called because the image is in reverse on this side and releases onto the garment or material.

This has been a popular method of transferring a design onto a garment or onto other materials for a long time due to the fact that it can be done on smaller scales and that it blends to create a pretty reliable design on top of the image.

A lot of brands take the initial design and a material that they wish to print onto, and then they combine the two using the transfer labels.

How Do They Work?

The system of transferring the design uses a heat press, hence the name of a heat transfer label. This requires a few different things to work properly, including a specific level of pressure, a temperature that is controlled, and a level of time for the image to properly transfer.

There are multiple designs of heat presses, so different manufacturing facilities may have their own different methods.

There is a textile substrate used which must be laid on the heat press, before the transfer itself is placed on top, in contact with the garment or material you wish to print on. The press is then set to the timing and moved at the required pressure to clamp shut. There is often a form of timer that can tell the operator when it should be ready.

Different fibers and materials may require slightly different settings, and there can be quite a high rate of waste with this.

Comparison with Polymer Fusion

A simple comparison based on annual volume is used in the video above, and this bases it on a 35 cents per part cost for both heat transfer and polymer fusion.

If the annual usage was 100,000 units per year, and these were the prices, most people would assume that the production cost was virtually identical, but this is not the case.

With heat transfers, the standard scrap rate is around 10%, but a polymer fusion method is around one percent. So instantly, using these calculations, a facility producing 100,000 units annually could save around $47,000 on parts, as well as parts that have to be remade.

The staff time lost, extra resin and materials, and the reduced production capacity that are required if you use a product label or printing method that has a higher waste rate means that the actual cost to the business is often far higher than people realize.

Polymer fusion hugely reduces the scrap rate, and can also help to hugely increase the production time, this allows facilities that are using these are able to use this extra time effectively and even generate more profits as a result. Who wouldn’t want a faster production time?

If you actually look at your bottom line, you will see that even a product with the exact same price on paper does not represent this same price in real terms, once you actually do some digging and start to understand the pricing that lays beneath this, such as the scrappage.

Advantages of Polymer Fusion

The advantages of polymer fusion can partially be established by the above. When directly comparing to the heat transfer label system you will see that it can save you money as well as increase efficiency. Though garments are an example used on this post in many places, this is due to the fact that heat transfer labels are often used on garments, but they can also be used on a variety of products and materials that makes them a direct competitor for polymer fusion.

The Polyfuze system also means you have a lifetime warranty, which is something that is extremely rare to find when it comes to other forms of printing and labeling. When it comes to heat transfer labels you will not find there to be many physical heat presses and products that will give you a long warranty.

Some heat transfers last well, but they are certainly not permanent. One of the best things about polymer fusion is the fact that it does provide you with a permanent printing method that is designed not to fade over time.

Polyfuze systems are also compatible with Polyolefins, something that not many of the label systems can boast. On top of all this, the environmental benefits are also clear. The polymer fusion method uses recyclable materials, making it more eco-friendly and responsible.

Compare Labeling Systems For Polyolefin Plastics

Heat TransferPolyfuze
Fusion Labeling
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling
Equipment NecessaryHeat Transfer: Hot Stamp
Machine
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
VersaFlex
Machine
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
VersaFlex
Machine
How AppliedHeat Transfer: Hot Melt AdhesivePolyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
Fusion Technology
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
Fusion Technology
Permanence to PolyolefinsHeat Transfer: Not
Permanent
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
Guaranteed Permanent
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
Guaranteed Permanent
Application PressureHeat Transfer: Not
Permanent
Polyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
Guaranteed Permanent
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
Guaranteed Permanent
Application TemperatureHeat Transfer: HIGH Pressure 400-500psiPolyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
LOW Pressure 75psi
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
LOW Pressure 25psi
Construction LayersHeat Transfer: 350°-400°FPolyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
450°F
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
450°F
Compatibility to PolyolefinsHeat Transfer: †IncompatiblePolyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
†Fully
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
†Fully
RecyclabilityHeat Transfer: ContaminantPolyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
Fully Recyclable
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
Fully Recyclable
Pre-treatment for Bond SiteHeat Transfer: YesPolyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
No
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
No
Expected Outdoor LifeHeat Transfer: *< 1 YearPolyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
Product Life
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
Product Life
WarrantyHeat Transfer: NonePolyfuze
Fusion Labeling:
Lifetime
Polyfuze VF
Fusion Labeling:
Lifetime

Incompatible label construction is directly to adhesion, bonding & permanency olefinic thermoplastics. Only fully compatible Polyfuze labels become durable as as the base polyolefin plastic for longevity and permanency.

*

Polyolefin Thermoplastics are like Teflon (non-polar, low surface energy, expand/contract, outgas) which simultaneously and continuously oppose bonding and adhesion from incompatible label’sources. When exposed, to harsh mechanical, chemical & environmental inputs, labels delaminate completely or show signs of deterioration and/or failure within a short period of time. Fully compatible Polyfuze labels assume the same durable characteristics as the base same exposures for a products life use.

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Easy To Apply - Polyfuze Labeling Using the VERSAFLEX System

Easy To Apply Polyfuze Labels - Using Standard Hot Stamp / Heat Transfer Equipment

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