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Dokumentenidentifikation EP1264704 17.03.2005
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001264704
Titel Verfahren zur Herstellung eines dekorativen wärmeempfindlichen Übertragungsblattes auf einem flexiblen Trägerstreifen
Anmelder Veneta Decalcogomme S.r.l., Bastia di Rovolon, (Padova), IT
Erfinder Ferro, Mario, 35030 Bastia di Rovolon, IT
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 60202903
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, CH, CY, DE, DK, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, SE, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 05.06.2002
EP-Aktenzeichen 020125712
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 11.12.2002
EP date of grant 09.02.2005
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 17.03.2005
IPC-Hauptklasse B41M 3/12
IPC-Nebenklasse B44C 1/17   

Beschreibung[en]

The present invention relates to improvements in methods of thermally transferring decorative films onto objects of various types.

As is known, decorations, images, and texts can be applied to objects of various types from an appropriately printed flexible strip by means of thermal transfer methods, which provide for applying to a wide range of articles of different materials (rubber, plastic, leather, metal, etc.) graphics which serve both as decoration and as a "label" indicating the product or maker.

The images and/or texts in the graphic to be applied to the objects are screen printed on a backing strip, typically made of polyester; and each frame used carries a given number of graphics, which are transferred to the backing strip to obtain, on the strip, a succession of identical (or at least periodically repeated) graphics.

The problem arises, however, of assigning to each graphic constituting each label, and which is the same for all the objects, a code identifying the individual object, e.g. a bar code or progressive number for identifying, by means of the label, the object to which the label is applied. Screen printing obviously fails to provide for achieving this, unless an unreasonable number of different frames is used, which is practically unfeasible.

A method of forming a thermal transfer film containing both printed decorations as well as an identification code is e.g. known from US-A-5,827,603.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a method designed to solve the above problem, and which, in particular, is cheap and easy to implement, and provides for forming on a flexible backing strip a decorative thermal-transfer film containing graphics defined by images and/or texts and by a progressive identification code assigned to each graphic.

According to the present invention, there is provided a method of forming on a flexible backing strip a decorative thermal-transfer film containing graphics defined by images and/or texts and by a progressive identification code assigned to each graphic; the method being characterized by comprising: a backing strip processing step, in which a first polymer film is applied to said backing strip; a screen printing step, in which, on said first film, is printed a succession of graphics of images and/or texts which are repeated along said backing strip; a thermographic printing step, in which, on said first film bearing said graphics, a progressive identification code is printed at each graphic; and a finish step, in which a second polymer film is applied on said first film bearing said graphics and associated identification codes, so that said graphics and associated identification codes are interposed and packed between said first and said second film to form said decorative film.

More specifically, said first film is made of a polymer material compatible with the screen printing inks and/or pigments used in said screen printing step, and with the thermographic inks and/or pigments used in said thermographic printing step, so that said screen printing and thermographic inks and/or pigments adhere to said first film.

The graphics can thus be formed cheaply and easily with all the advantages of screen printing, while at the same time assigning a different progressive identification code to each graphic.

The specific sequence of steps and the choice of materials according to the invention provide, not only for high-quality printing of the screen printed images and/or texts and the identification codes, but also for long-lasting results, by preventing delamination or detachment of the codes from the objects to which the graphics are applied. According to the invention, in fact, the graphics and associated identification codes are firmly connected and packed between the two polymer films.

A non-limiting embodiment of the present invention will be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings showing, schematically, the main steps in the method according to the invention.

With reference to the accompanying drawings, the method according to the invention provides for performing on a flexible backing strip 1, e.g. of polyester or other synthetic fiber, a processing step, in which a substantially continuous first polymer film 3 of uniform thickness is applied to one face 2 of backing strip 1; a screen printing step, in which, on film 3, is printed a succession of graphics 4 of images and/or texts which are repeated along backing strip 1; a thermographic printing step, in which, on film 3 bearing graphics 4, a progressive identification code 5 (bar code, alphanumeric code, etc.) is printed at each graphic 4; and a finish step, in which a second polymer film 6 is applied on film 3 bearing graphics 4 and associated identification codes 5, so that graphics 4 and associated identification codes 5 are interposed and packed between films 3 and 6 to form a decorative thermal-transfer film 7.

Film 3 is made of polymer material selected for its specific affinity with the inks and/or pigments used in both the screen printing step and the thermographic printing step. The polymer material selected for film 3 must therefore be compatible with said inks and/or pigments, so that the inks and/or pigments adhere firmly to film 3.

Film 3 may be applied, for example, by treating backing strip 1 with a thermoplastic polymer resin and organic, preferably aromatic, solvent solution. In particular, good results in terms of printing quality and adhesion have been obtained with a film 3 made of vinyl-based UV-cross-linkable resins, particularly vinyl chloride-vinyl acetate resins in aromatic solvent.

Film 3 advantageously comprises two superimposed layers 8, 9 defined respectively by a known so-called "release" polymer composition, which is applied directly on face 2 of backing strip 1, and permits release of film 3 from backing strip 1 by hot compression; and by a substantially transparent protective polymer composition, which is applied on release layer 8 and is compatible with the inks and/or pigments used in the thermographic and screen printing steps. The release polymer composition may, for example, be acrylic-epoxy-resin-based, the transparent protective polymer composition may be vinyl-resin-based, and the polymer compositions may be applied to backing strip 1 in organic solvents in two successive passes.

Once provided with film 3, backing strip 1 is fed, e.g. in a reel, to a known screen printing machine (not shown), where the screen printing step is performed in known manner not described in detail for the sake of simplicity. Briefly, at the screen printing step, a stencil, defined by synthetic fabric (e.g. nylon or polyester) stretched tightly on a frame, is placed a small distance over backing strip 1, facing face 2 with film 3. The stencil has areas covered with a material impermeable to ink (e.g. a photosensitive gel etched using an appropriately impressed film), and open areas through which a screen printing ink or pigment 10, poured on the frame, is pressed with a squeegee through the fabric onto backing strip 1 to form the images and/or texts of graphics 4. For designs of more than one color, a stencil is prepared for each color, according to the areas to be printed by each color, and the process is repeated with a different stencil and a different ink or pigment for each color in the design.

Once graphics 4 are printed on film 3, backing strip 1 is sent to a known thermographic printer (not shown) to perform the thermographic printing step. As is known, thermographic printing substantially comprises transferring a meltable ink or pigment from a thermographic strip to the substrate for printing by means of a printing head with electronically activated heating elements. In the example shown, the thermographic strip is brought into contact with backing strip 1, on the film 3 side with graphics 4, and the meltable thermographic ink or pigment 11 is applied to film 3 to form identification codes 5 in the blank areas not occupied by the screen printed images or texts, so that thermographic ink or pigment 11 adheres to film 3, with which it has a specific affinity. Good results have been obtained using a commercial thermographic strip such as Thermal Transfer Roll for Jaguar 27 U printers, manufactured by ITW Compumar.

Backing strip 1, now bearing graphics 4 with both the screen printed images and/or texts and thermographically printed identification codes 5, is then sent to the finishing step to apply film 6, which may be applied, for example, by again treating backing strip 1 with a polymer resin and organic solvent solution. Like film 3, film 6 is preferably also made of polymer material compatible with the printing inks and/or pigments used in both the screen printing and thermographic printing steps, e.g. the same material as for film 3. Whereas film 3 is transparent so that, in use, graphics 4 underneath are visible, film 6 may be colored or pigmented to form a background (e.g. white) against which graphics 4 stand out more clearly.

Film 6 is appropriately only applied to graphics 4, and therefore to a number of separate areas 12, each of which defines a respective decorative film 7.

Before film 6 is applied, a further screen printing step may be performed to complete the images and/or texts in graphics 4.

Finally, over film 6, and only at areas 12 defining respective decorative films 7, a known heat-stick layer 13 is applied by which to stick decorative films 7 to a solid object by hot compression.

At this point, backing strip 1 can be used in a process for reproducing on solid objects of various materials (plastic, rubber, ceramic, metal, etc.) graphics comprising images and/or texts and a progressive identification code associated with each graphic. Backing strip 1 is placed with decorative film 7 contacting a predetermined surface portion of the object to be decorated, and is simply compressed and heated at decorative film 7 to transfer decorative film 7 from backing strip 1 onto the surface of the object. Release layer 8 enables decorative layer 7 to be transferred thermally under pressure from backing strip 1 onto the object for decoration, while heat-stick layer 13 ensures adhesion of decorative film 7 to the object.

Clearly, changes may be made to the methods described and illustrated herein without, however, departing from the scope of the present invention.


Anspruch[de]
  1. Verfahren zur Herstellung eines dekorativen Thermotransferfilms (7) auf einem biegsamen Trägerstreifen (1), wobei der Thermotransferfilm (7) Graphiken (4) enthält, die durch Bilder und / oder Texte und durch einen fortlaufenden Identifizierungskode (5), der jeder Graphik zugeordnet ist, definiert werden, wobei das Verfahren umfasst: einen Schritt zur Bearbeitung des Trägerstreifens, bei dem ein erster Polymerfilm (3) auf diesem Trägerstreifen (1) aufgebracht wird; einen Siebdruckschritt, bei dem auf diesen ersten Film (3) eine Aufeinanderfolge von Graphiken (4) bestehend aus Bildern und / oder Texten, die sich in Längsrichtung dieses Trägerstreifens (1) wiederholen, gedruckt wird; einen Thermographiedruckschritt, bei dem auf diesen ersten Film (3), der diese Graphiken (4) trägt, ein fortlaufender Identifizierungskode (5) an jeder Graphik gedruckt wird; und einen abschließenden Schritt, bei dem ein zweiter Polymerfilm (6) auf diesem ersten Film (3), der diese Graphiken (4) und die zugehörigen Identifizierungskodes (5) trägt, aufgebracht wird, so dass diese Graphiken (4) und die zugehörigen Identifizierungskodes (5) zwischen diesem ersten und diesem zweiten Film (3, 6) liegen und eingepackt sind, um den dekorativen Film (7) zu bilden.
  2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der erste Film (3) aus einem Polymermaterial hergestellt ist, das mit den Siebdrucktinten und / oder -pigmenten (10), die in diesem Siebdruckschritt verwendet werden, und mit den Thermographietinten und / oder -pigmenten (11), die in diesem Thermographiedruckschritt verwendet werden, verträglich ist, so dass diese Siebdrucktinten und / oder -pigmente und diese Thermographietinten und / oder -pigmente auf diesem ersten Film (3) haften.
  3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 2, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der zweite Film (6) ebenfalls aus einem Polymermaterial hergestellt ist, das mit diesen Siebdrucktinten und / oder -pigmenten und mit diesen Thermographietinten und / oder -pigmenten (10, 11) verträglich ist, so dass diese Siebdrucktinten und /oder -pigmente und diese Thermographietinten und / oder -pigmente (10, 11) ebenfalls auf diesem zweiten Film (6) haften.
  4. Verfahren nach Anspruch 3, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der erste und der zweite Film (3, 6) aus Lösungen von Harzen auf Vinylbasis in einem organischen Lösemittel, die unter UV-Strahlung vernetzbar sind, hergestellt werden.
  5. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 2 bis 4,dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der erste Film (3) zwei übereinander liegende Schichten (8, 9) umfasst, die jeweils definiert sind durch eine Freigabe-Polymerzusammensetzung, welche direkt auf diesem Trägerstreifen (1) aufgetragen ist und durch Heißdruck die Freisetzung des ersten Films (3) vom Trägerstreifen (1) gestattet, und durch eine im Wesentlichen transparente, zu Schutzzwecken dienende Polymerzusammensetzung, welche mit den Siebdrucktinten und /oder pigmenten und mit den Thermographietinten und / oder -pigmente (10, 11) verträglich ist.
  6. Verfahren nach Anspruch 5, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Freigabe-Polymerzusammensetzung auf Acrylepoxyharzen basiert und dass die transparente, zu Schutzzwecken dienende Polymerzusammensetzung auf Vinylharzen basiert, wobei die Polymerzusammensetzungen in organischen Lösemitteln aufgetragen werden.
  7. Verfahren nach einem der vorherigen Ansprüche,dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass es auch einen Schritt zum Aufbringen des zweiten Films (6) auf eine unter Einwirkung von Wärme klebende Schicht (13) umfasst, durch welche die dekorative Schicht (7) mittels Heißdruck an ein festes Objekt geklebt wird.
  8. Verfahren zur Reproduktion von Graphiken (4) auf festen Objekten, wobei diese Graphiken (4) durch Bilder und / oder Texte und durch einen fortlaufenden Identifizierungskode (5), der jeder Graphik zugeordnet ist, definiert sind; umfassend die folgenden Schritte: Platzierung des Trägerstreifens (1), der mit einem Thermotransferfilm (7) versehen ist und gemäß einem der vorherigen Ansprüche hergestellt worden ist, zu Dekorationszwecken auf einer Oberfläche des Objekts; und Komprimieren und Erwärmen des Trägerstreifens (1), um den dekorativen Film (7) von dem Trägerstreifen (1) auf die Oberfläche des Objekts zu übertragen.
Anspruch[en]
  1. A method of forming on a flexible backing strip (1) a decorative thermal-transfer film (7) containing graphics (4) defined by images and/or texts and by a progressive identification code (5) assigned to each graphic; the method comprising: a backing strip processing step, in which a first polymer film (3) is applied to said backing strip (1); a screen printing step, in which, on said first film (3), is printed a succession of graphics (4) of images and/or texts which are repeated along said backing strip (1); a thermographic printing step, in which, on said first film (3) bearing said graphics (4), a progressive identification code (5) is printed at each graphic; and a finish step, in which a second polymer film (6) is applied on said first film (3) bearing said graphics (4) and associated identification codes (5), so that said graphics (4) and associated identification codes (5) are interposed and packed between said first and said second film (3, 6) to form said decorative film (7).
  2. A method as claimed in Claim 1, characterized in that said first film (3) is made of a polymer material compatible with the screen printing inks and/or pigments (10) used in said screen printing step, and with the thermographic inks and/or pigments (11) used in said thermographic printing step, so that said screen printing and thermographic inks and/or pigments adhere to said first film (3).
  3. A method as claimed in Claim 2, characterized in that said second film (6) is also made of a polymer material compatible with said screen printing and thermographic inks and/or pigments (10, 11), so that said screen printing and thermographic inks and/or pigments (10, 11) also adhere to said second film (6).
  4. A method as claimed in Claim 3, characterized in that said first and said second film (3, 6) are made from solutions of vinyl-based UV-cross-linkable resins in organic solvent.
  5. A method as claimed in one of Claims 2 to 4,characterized in that said first film (3) comprises two superimposed layers (8, 9) defined respectively by a release polymer composition, which is applied directly on said backing strip (1) and permits release of said first film (3) from said backing strip (1) by hot compression; and by a substantially transparent protective polymer composition compatible with said screen printing and thermographic inks and/or pigments (10, 11).
  6. A method as claimed in Claim 5, characterized in that said release polymer composition is acrylic-epoxy-resin-based, and said transparent protective polymer composition is vinyl-resin-based; said polymer compositions being applied in organic solvents.
  7. A method as claimed in one of the foregoing Claims, characterized by also comprising a step of applying to said second film (6) a heat-stick layer (13) by which to stick said decorative film (7) to a solid object by hot compression.
  8. A method of reproducing on solid objects graphics (4) defined by images and/or texts and by a progressive identification code (5) assigned to each graphic; comprising the steps of: placing, on a surface of the object for decoration, the backing strip (1) provided with a decorative thermal-transfer film (7) and formed as claimed in one of the foregoing Claims; and compressing and heating said backing strip (1) to transfer the decorative film (7) from the backing strip (1) onto the surface of the object.
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Procédé pour former, sur une bande de support flexible (1), un film décoratif à transfert thermique (7) contenant des graphiques (4) définis par des images et/ou textes et par un code d'identification progressive (5) attribué à chaque graphique ; le procédé comprenant : une étape de traitement de bande de support, durant laquelle un premier film polymère (3) est appliqué sur ladite bande de support (1) ; une étape de sérigraphie, durant laquelle, sur ledit premier film (3), est imprimée une succession de graphiques (4) d'images et/ou de textes qui sont répétés le long de ladite bande de support (1) ; une étape d'impression par thermographie, durant laquelle, sur ledit premier film (3) portant lesdits graphiques (4), un code d'identification progressive (5) est imprimé à chaque graphique ; et une étape de finition, durant laquelle un deuxième film polymère (6) est appliqué sur ledit premier film (3) portant lesdits graphiques (4) et codes d'identification (5) associés, de manière que lesdits graphiques (4) et codes d'identification (5) associés soient intercalés et confinés entre lesdits premier et deuxième films (3, 6) pour former ledit film décoratif (7).
  2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que ledit premier film (3) est fait d'un matériau polymère compatible avec les encres et/ou pigments pour sérigraphie (10) utilisés durant ladite étape de sérigraphie, et avec les encres et/ou pigments pour impression par thermographie (11) utilisés durant ladite étape d'impression par thermographie, de manière que les encres et/ou pigments pour sérigraphie et impression par thermographie adhèrent audit premier film (3).
  3. Procédé selon la revendication 2, caractérisé en ce que ledit deuxième film (6) est également fait d'un matériau polymère compatible avec les encres et/ou pigments pour sérigraphie et impression par thermographie (10, 11), de manière que les encres et/ou pigments pour sérigraphie et impression par thermographie (10, 11) adhèrent également audit deuxième film (6).
  4. Procédé selon la revendication 3, caractérisé en ce que lesdits premier et deuxième films (3, 6) sont fabriqués à partir de solutions de résines à base de vinyle pouvant être réticulées par UV dans un solvant organique.
  5. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 4, caractérisé en ce que ledit premier film (3) comprend deux couches superposées (8, 9) définies respectivement par une composition polymère anti-adhésive, qui est appliquée directement sur ladite bande de support (1) et permet de détacher ledit premier film (3) de ladite bande de support (1) par compression à chaud ; et par une composition polymère de protection sensiblement transparente compatible avec les encres et/ou pigments pour sérigraphie et impression par thermographie (10, 11).
  6. Procédé selon la revendication 5, caractérisé en ce que ladite composition polymère anti-adhésive est à base de résine époxy acrylique, et ladite composition polymère de protection transparente est à base de résine vinylique ; lesdites compositions polymères étant appliquées dans des solvants organiques.
  7. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend également une étape d'application sur ledit deuxième film (6) d'une couche de collage par la chaleur (13) pour coller ledit film décoratif (7) à un objet solide par compression à chaud.
  8. Procédé pour reproduire sur des objets solides des graphiques (4) définis par des images et/ou textes et par un code d'identification progressive (5) attribué à chaque graphique ; comprenant les étapes consistant à placer, sur une surface de l'objet pour décoration, la bande de support (1) dotée d'un film décoratif à transfert thermique (7) et formée selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes ; et comprimer et chauffer ladite bande de support (1) pour transférer le film décoratif (7) de la bande de support (1) à la surface de l'objet.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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