What Is It?
Transfers are familiar to every child – a painless way of applying images to paper, to products, and even to yourself. The image is printed on a thin, water-soluble film; when floated on water, the image floats free and can be transferred to the product to which it sticks. Cubic printing uses the same principle, scaled-up and made commercially viable. The film and its image are floated on the surface of a water tank. The product is immersed in the tank, where the pressure of the water presses the image onto the surface of the component.
Color, reflectivity, texture.
Cubic printing is very versatile; complex, curved shapes can be printed and the image can be multi-colored. Registration is difficult, so the image is usually applied in a single operation, and designed so that precise registry is not necessary.
The pattern or design is printed on a water-soluble film. The film, specially treated to activate the inks, is floated onto the water, where it dissolves, leaving the decoration inks on the water surface. The component to be decorated is pressed down into the water to effect the transfer. The inks flow on the surface of the object, decorating it in three dimensions. A transparent topcoat is applied to protect the printed surface. Polymer, ceramic, glass, metal, and wood products can all be printed. Printing on three-dimensional and irregular shapes is possible.
Capital and tooling costs are low. The component must be dried and given a finishing coat, making it relatively slow.
Automotive: dash panels, console, steering wheel, shift knobs, spoilers, bumpers, visor.
Sports equipment: tennis racket, fishing reels, gun stocks, helmets, golf clubs, sunglasses, bikes.
Computer products: monitor panel, keyboards, mice, pc note books, digital cameras, printers.
Appliances: tv, refrigerators, washer-dryer, coffee maker, microwave, stereo equipment.
Kitchen Products: canisters, silverware, glass stems, bowls, pitchers, salt and pepper shakers.
Furniture: end tables, coffee tables, door knobs, picture frames, tissue holders, clocks.
Cubic printing presents no significant environmental problems.