Transfer Coating - Production Process Overview.

General

Transfer coated products are commonly called vinyls, or artificial leathers, the most common uses being in the furniture industry, general upholstery, and automotive interior trims.

The different qualities are measured and differentiated by their mass per square meter, measured in grams per square meter (gsm). Another differentiating factor in many transfer coated products is the thickness of the product, measured in microns.

The Process

Transfer coated products are manufactured by means of a transfer coating process. This process starts off with an embossed release paper (containing the leather pattern that appears on the final product). A layer of paste called the skin layer is then applied to the paper, the skin paste takes on the emboss of the paper.
A number of different layers of PVC with different properties are applied on top of the skin paste depending on the characteristics required, and finally the backer is laminated onto the last layer of paste. This combination then runs through the oven where the PVC gels and becomes solid, the paper is then pulled off the PVC, and the process is complete.
Many transfer coated products are printed by means of a printing roller in a post-production process, where a print design is applied onto the product for visual effects.
Lacquering these products is also common, the lacquer acts as a protective barrier in between the PVC and the harmful elements these products are typically exposed to.

Backers

There are a wide variety of backers that can be used on transfer coated products, these different backers result in very different properties of the end product. For more details on the backers and their properties, please refer to the Transfer Coated customising section on this page.

Embosses

There are also a wide variety of different embosses that can be used on transfer coated products. The emboss comes from either a release paper process as described above, or from an embossing roller. In cases where the final emboss is achieved from an embossing roller, the initial production of the product is done on a smooth release paper, the product is then embossed by means of the embossing roller in an extra post production process, where the smooth product is heated up and pressed with the relevant embossing roller, the product then takes on the pattern of the embossing roller.

Lacquers

A lacquer can be applied to transfer coated products that are embossed by means of an embossing roller. The lacquer is an acrylic based lacquer which is applied as a thin layer on top of the PVC layer.
The lacquer extends the products lifespan by protecting the PVC against elements that may be harmful to it, as well as improves the cleanability of the end product .

Customising your transfer coated product:

We are able to design a product that is better suited for a special requirement. This can be done by changing one or more of the following components:

Emboss

Any one of our in stock embosses can be used when designing your special product. To see which embosses are available, please see the Embosses section on this page.
If volumes permit, we may be able to specially source a special embossing paper or embossing roller for you if none of our in stock embosses are suitable for your application.

Backer

We have a variety of different backers with different qualities that can be used to give the product different properties. Our standard backers that we use on standard products, which we keep in stock are:
Needled polyester backer - used most commonly on the furniture upholstery material, has a fair amount of stretch and is relatively cost effective for the qualities it has.
Jersey Knitted Polyester backer - most commonly used on the more heavy duty upholstery materials, it is quite durable and has good stretch and recovery after stretch properties.
Point bonded non-woven backer - a very thin backer that does not stretch. This is more commonly used in shoe liners and materials used to manufacture small leather look goods like wallets and binders.

Paste

The paste can be reformulated in a number of different ways to give different properties, these include:
Colour – We are usually able to change the colour of the PVC itself to match a specific sample or Pantone reference as requested.
Thickness - The thickness can be adjusted by either applying a thicker layer of normal paste, or inserting a foam like blown layer that contains air bubbles. The blown layer can also be modified to give different thickness, cell structures (air bubble) and stiffness properties.
Stiffness - The product can be softened or hardened by using different paste formulations.
UV stabilisers - UV Stabilisers can be added to enhance the material's lifespan when exposed to high levels of sunlight
Flame retardant - We can add chemicals that prevent the material from catching alight when exposed to fire.

Prints

We have a range of printing rollers available, and can apply one or two tone prints to any transfer coated product.

Lacquers

We have a range of acrylic as well as PU lacquers that can be used to protect the print of printed products, as well as to adjust the sheen of the transfer coated product.

Please note:

This site contains actual photos and scans of coated fabrics. Every effort has been made to take the photos in neutral light, however these images must be used as a guide only. The colour you are seeing will also be dependent on the quality of the device you are viewing on.

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