The Process

Design Studio

Design Studio The production process starts with our studio where we create designs and receive artwork from our customers which we turn into production printing rollers for our printing machinery.

Atlas operates the very latest computerised machinery (both MAC and PC), allowing us to offer customers unique designs, unique colourways of existing designs and the facility to manipulate whatever artwork is sent to us.

From our studio we send the designs to our plate makers and laser roller manufacturers. Atlas works with the leading UK manufacturer of laser engraved rollers who operates high specification engraving equipment to give us fine tonal work and continuous solids for our designs.


laser engraving machine laser engraved roller

This integration of high technology engraving means that we can continue to develop the image quality of our products way beyond what was both possible and acceptable even five years ago.

plate


Production

In conjunction with these 'state of the art' laser engravings Atlas uses precision Swiss printing machines to ensure the best possible printed image. The production process is monitored by experienced operators to ensure colour and image continuity throughout the print run. These machines fall into two categories - decorative (up to 160 mm web width) and uni-paper (up to 250 mm web width).

Into these machines we fit the printing rollers and plates needed to produce the design. We mix the required shade of ink from raw dyestuffs and Pantone colour match the inks onto our customer's fabric.

Once the colours are established and the design running correctly, we run the production batches of papers required by our customers. We colour test throughout the production run creating continuity test cards for our production records.

Colour references are held for all designs and all colourways so that when customers re-order designs we have all the colour formulas and technical information at hand.

We generally supply all our papers in 500 metre rolls as these fit into our standard packaging. If customers require different lengths then we need to be informed when ordering.


Application

Application Process Our transfer designs are applied to fabrics with a simple inexpensive heat calendar machine. This rotary machinery ensures that highly accurate and consistent application conditions are maintained.

Application calendars provide a balanced consistent heat across a heated drum (of varying widths) around which the fabric and transfer paper passes under pressure. The machinery has 'feeding' mechanisms at one end and 'take off' bars at the other. This allows our transfer dyes to become a vapour, penetrate the fabric and upon cooling become a permanent part of the fabric. The structure of the fabric determines at what speed the process operates and how many pieces can be printed at the same time. For example, customers will be able to achieve much higher print yields on a thin ribbon fabric than they would on a thick seat belt webbing.

Transfer printing operates easily and simply at speeds of 3 - 5 metres per width per minute for synthetic fabrics with many 'ends' being printed at one time.

This produces from 180 metres per hour for one end up to 2800 metres per hour running 10 ends through the machine. Obviously the end output is critical when specifying which machine will be the most suitable. Atlas work with a number of machine manufacturers around the world, many of whom are featured in our machinery section. We can advise on machinery or provide a complete turnkey operation to customers around the world.