Transfer Coating - Production Process Overview.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .