Picture this. It’s springtime and you’re looking at a field resplendent with colorful flowers outside your kitchen window—or more precisely—on the window frame itself, in daisy or tulip patterns.
Or how about that cool metal cabinet in your office? Why not trade in its cold glare for a warm cherrywood grain? All this may sound like some weird rage of the future, but it isn’t, thanks to thermosublimation printing technology. Whether shrill designs or floral or geometric patterns, this printing technology is charting new territory in designs for metal or temperature-stable materials.
To be able to apply the decorative print, you first need to have a highly crosslinked, hard, ultra-smooth surface, one that is ideally semi-matt, too. Powder coatings are especially suited for surfaces of this kind and are produced with polyurethane crosslinkers from the Crosslinkers Business Line. If the powder coatings incorporate a uretdione hardener such as VESTAGON® EP-BF 1321, they will display all their talents, which range from absolute evenness or excellent weatherability and luxurious appearance all the way to distinction of image (DOI). The quality characteristic is an indication of the brilliance of a surface.
In thermosublimation printing, powder coatings act as a so-called primer. That is, they form the base on aluminum profiles, thus making the design hold. At about 200°C, the paper or the foil with the design to be transferred is pressed onto the profile under high pressure or vacuum, allowing the printing colors to migrate into the pores of the primer and create a reverse image.