Frequently Asked Questions


Q: AT WHAT SPEED DOES THE PROCESS WORK?

Q: WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM/MINIMUM WIDTH OF FABRIC?

Q: HOW ACCURATE IS THE PRINTING?

Q: CAN I RUN MORE THAN ONE PIECE OF FABRIC AT A TIME?

Q: WHAT PRODUCTION QUANTITIES CAN I EXPECT?

Q: DOES THE PROCESS NEED ANYTHING ELSE?

Q: WHAT OTHER MATERIALS WILL BE REQUIRED?

Q: WHAT POWER DOES THE PROCESS USE?

Q: WHAT MAINTENANCE IS REQUIRED?

Q: HOW LONG WILL THE PRINT BLANKET LAST?

Q: WHAT IMAGES CAN I PRODUCE?

Q: WHAT MEDIA IS REQUIRED TO PRODUCE AN IMAGE?

Q: WHAT IS THE METHOD OF PRODUCTION?

Q: WHAT ARE THE PRINT SPECIFICATIONS?

Q: WHAT ARE THE COLOUR SPECIFICATIONS?

Q: HOW ARE THE DESIGNS REPRODUCED?

Q: DO I NEED TO TREAT MY FABRIC PRIOR TO USING A HEAT TRANSFER?

Q: WILL THE PROCESS WORK ON ELASTICATED FABRIC?

Q: CAN BOTH SIDES OF A FABRIC BE PRINTED AT THE SAME TIME?

Q: IS TEMPERATURE CRITICAL?

Q: WILL THE PROCESS WORK ON COTTON?

Q: WHAT OTHER EQUIPMENT WILL BE NEEDED?

Q: HOW IS ACCURATE COLOUR ACHIEVED?

Q: HOW LARGE A WORKING AREA WILL I NEED?



Q: AT WHAT SPEED DOES THE PROCESS WORK?

A: To generalise across the range of machines currently available, the process runs at a speed of 2-4 metres per minute. The dyestuffs used react to heat and need exposure to a heat source for 20-25 seconds to get the desired effect.

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Q: WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM/MINIMUM WIDTH OF FABRIC?

A: In general we do not produce decorative images for widths less than 10 mm as it is so difficult for the user to maintain registration. If you want to apply a plain colour (uni-paper) it is possible to go down to widths of 5-6 mm. We do not usually print fabrics wider than 100 mm (the emphasis being on "narrow").

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Q: HOW ACCURATE IS THE PRINTING?

A: As with most processes, experience is the key to the end result. An allowance should be made for the position of the print on the fabric. On rigid fabrics ± 0.5 mm is a guide for accuracy. Make sure you test your fabric consistently, changes in batches of yarn can change the colour that can be achieved as well as the actual structure of the web and the manner in which it prints. We will be pleased to make tests for you.

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Q: CAN I RUN MORE THAN ONE PIECE OF FABRIC AT A TIME?

A: Depending on the skill of the operator it is possible to run several ends at one time. Some machines can only run one end. We will be pleased to advise on the most suitable machine for your purposes.

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Q: WHAT PRODUCTION QUANTITIES CAN I EXPECT?

A: Using a speed of 3 metres per minute the following is a reasonable guide to production.


1 end: 180 metres per hour 6 ends: 1080 metres per hour
2 ends: 360 metres per hour 7 ends: 1260 metres per hour
3 ends: 540 metres per hour 8 ends: 1440 metres per hour
4 ends: 720 metres per hour 9 ends: 1620 metres per hour
5 ends: 900 metres per hour 10 ends: 2800 metres per hour

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Q: DOES THE PROCESS NEED ANYTHING ELSE?

A: Most machines use compressed air to maintain the pressure between the blanket and the drum, this holds the fabric in place. Backing paper is also required to absorb the excess dye.

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Q: WHAT OTHER MATERIAL WILL BE REQUIRED?

A: We recommend the use of backing (blotting paper) which is run constantly through the process. The backing paper absorbs any spare dye in the process. It is essential when printing with transfer paper that the backing paper is wider than the fabric so it will absorb the surplus dye.

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Q: WHAT POWER DOES THE PROCESS USE?

A: Most machinery uses 3 phase electric.

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Q: WHAT MAINTENANCE IS REQUIRED?

A: Regular maintenance will include the heat setting of the blanket, oiling the bearings, cleaning lint and dust from the machine - full details will be supplied by the machine manufacturers.

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Q: HOW LONG WILL THE BLANKET LAST?

A: With good use and regular maintenance a blanket should last 12-18 months in daily use. The heavier the fabric being printed, the more rutted the blanket will become and the faster it will become worn.

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Q: WHAT IMAGES CAN I PRODUCE?

A: Our process can produce 1-4 spot colours and 4 colour process. The images produced can range from text to graphics or a combination of both.

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Q: WHAT MEDIA IS REQUIRED TO PRODUCE AN IMAGE?

A: We work from black & white colour separations, bromides and other high definition hard copy. We have a studion to re-draw and make 'print ready' customers' own drawn or painted designs. We can also work from computer generated images in Freehand/Illustrator/Corel format from PC or MAC. ISDN and Internet data transfer are also available.

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Q: WHAT IS THE METHOD OF PRODUCTION?

A: It is a 4 colour flexographic process onto lightweight paper.

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Q: WHAT ARE THE PRINT SPECIFICATIONS?

A: Our production is made on rotary flexographic printing machinery, which means that we have fixed repeat lengths (design lengths). The specifications are:-


Maximum image length 1/2/3/4 colour work
1/2 colour work
410 mm (16.25 inches)
540 mm (21.25 inches)
Maximum image width 1/2/3/4 colour work
1 colour work
160 mm (6.3 inches)
250 mm (10 inches)
Minimum design width   10 mm

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Q: WHAT ARE THE COLOUR SPECIFICATIONS?

A: Up to 4 individual print colours +tones +superimposition or 4 colour process. All designs are PANTONE© colour matched from a white base onto customers' own fabrics (n.b. colour matching to very dark dyed fabrics may not be possible)

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Q: HOW ARE THE DESIGNS REPRODUCED?

A: Flexographic plates are used for spot colour. Laser engraved rollers are used for continuous solids and very fine line work.

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Q: DO I NEED TO TREAT MY FABRIC PRIOR TO USING A HEAT TRANSFER?

A: Many fabrics will need heat setting prior to transfer application. This will enable the printed image to be sharp on the fabric.

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Q: WILL THE PROCESS WORK ON ELASTICATED FABRIC?

A: Yes, transfer prints work well on elastic and move with the fabric. Elastic will normally require heat setting to remove all shrinkage prior to printing.

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Q: CAN BOTH SIDES OF A FABRIC BE PRINTED AT THE SAME TIME?

A: Generally, no. There will be a colour difference as one side will be further away from the bowl (the heat source). For certain applications this may not be critical, but where specific colours have to be achieved it is recommended that each side be printed separately.

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Q: IS TEMPERATURE CRITICAL?

A: Yes, the process relies on a consistent temperature being applied to the transfer paper in order for the transfer dyes to be released. To achieve consistently coloured fabrics there must be continual balanced temperature.

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Q: WILL THE PROCESS WORK ON COTTON?

A: No. There is another process for cotton fabrics called 'hot melt'. The colouring is suspended in a carrier which, when exposed to heat, melts and releases the colouring. The image is similar to a screen print - on fabric.

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Q: WHAT OTHER EQUIPMENT WILL BE NEEDED?

A: To check colour you will need a light box equipped with standards such as TL84 and artificial Daylight.

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Q: HOW IS ACCURATE COLOUR ACHIEVED?

A: Generally we will Pantone colour match designs onto our customer's fabric. We hold stocks of this material allowing us to monitor colour control throughout our production process.

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Q: HOW LARGE A WORKING AREA WILL I NEED?

A: The more the better. Behind the machine you will need enough space to take the individual ends of fabric from reels/cartons and feed them into the machine. Depending on the route of the fabric into the machine this will be 10-15 feet.

When the material comes out of the machine it is extremely hot (about 200°C). It will need to cool before being re-wound, boxed etc. Many users have a staged take off system fitted to the machine so that ends of fabric fall into cartons ready for packing and despatch. Ask your machine supplier what systems they offer.

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If you have any questions we have not covered, please click here to contact us and we will answer them.