Friday, May 18, 2018

SEF Americas Documents




Sales Sheets

SEF Product Application Guide
SEF FlexCut Product Color Guide
SEF Print & Cut Product Guide


Processing & Application Bulletins

Plotter Films Application Instructions 

FlexCut Sticky Maxx Application Instructions
FlexCut Sweet Application Instructions
FlexCut Sticky Nylon Application Instructions
MetalFlex Application Instructions
FlexCut Sticky SBB Application Instructions
ReflexCut Sweet Application Instructions
VelCut Flock Application Instructions


Print & Cut Films Applications Instructions

Tatoo Application Instructions
Tatoo Nylon Application Instructions
Tatoo SBB Application Instructions
ClearFlex Application Instructions
ClassicPrint Application Instructions
EcoPrint Application Instructions
FiberPlus Application Instructions
Graffiti Application Instructions


Technical Bulletins & Charts

SEF Americas Cross Reference Chart

Articles Download or Print


Caring for Garments with Heat Transfers

Plotter Cutting Heat Transfer Films
Printing Tatoo with Seiko Fluorescent Inks
The Difference Between FlexCut Sticky and FlexCut Sweet
The Trouble with Shrinking Shirts
Which Films Stick to Coated Fabrics
Evaluating Heat Transfer Films

Internal Links to Articles



Cutting and Weeding Tips for Heat Transfer Films
Pressing Heat Transfer Films
Printing Heat Transfer Films with Latex Inks
Evaluating Heat Transfer Films
Heat Transfer Films: Hot, Warm or Cold Peel
The Difference between FlexCut Sticky and FlexCut ...
The Trouble with Shrinking Shirts
Which Films Stick to Coated Fabrics?

Printing Tatoo with Seiko Fluorescent Inks
Stretching Garments Prior to Heat Pressing
Heat Pressing Appliques on Leather
ReflexCut Sweet Reflective Heat Transfer Films
SEF Technical Support
Tips for Cutting Flock Material
Rules for Overlaying Heat Transfer Films
The Differences Between Polyurethane and Vinyl Fil...
Shopping for a Heat Press
Plotter Cutting Heat Transfer Films
Caring for Garments with Heat Transfers




FOR TECHNICAL SUPPORT: SEF Americas provides a toll-free technical support service at 844-720-9601. NOTE:  If your call is not answered by a tech support person during normal business hours, 8am to 5pm EST (Eastern Standard Time), please leave a message and we well do our best to return your call within an hour.  Should you need to contact us after business hours, an alternate tech support number is 480-987-8028.  You can also get answers to your technical questions by emailing: techsupport@SEFamericas.com.


ABOUT SEF: For more than 35 years, SEF has provided the screen printing and garment industries with high quality flex films and flock films. Manufacturing at SEF is totally integrated. The factory formulates, casts and adhesive coats its own polyurethane (PU) films. SEF even manufactures its own flock fibers. With a corporate commitment to a greener environment, all of its film and adhesive formulations are water based. This ensures that no solvents pollute the atmosphere. Its only emission is water vapor. Today, SEF is recognized as a leading producer of heat transfer films for use in the fabrication of heat press appliqués for textile decoration. Its ultra-thin polyurethane films and super soft flock films are easy to plotter cut and digitally print.

For More Information About SEF Americas:


14476-201 Duval Place West
Jacksonville, FL 32218
904-423-0211 - Phone
904-423-0899 - Fax
844-720-9600 - Toll Free

© 2015 Jim Hingst


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Plotter Cutting Flex and Flock Films

By Holger Beck and Jim Hingst

Heat transfer materials are comprised of either polyurethane, vinyl or flock facestocks coated with a heat-activated adhesive, and laminated to a plastic release liner or carrier film. Plotter cutting heat transfer films is a little different than cutting pressure sensitive vinyl. Some problems have resulted from using a dull blade. Other problems resulted because the blade depth was set incorrectly or the downforce pressure was too high. To help remedy these problems, I have compiled a few basic tips and tricks.

Selecting the Right Blade


Most polyurethane heat transfer films and flock films cut easily using a standard 45 blade.


Thin, soft and elastic materials may cut better with a 30° blade, because the cutting edge used is longer and the more obtuse angle ensures that the material is not pushed in front of the knife.

When cutting thicker materials you may need to use a 60 blade to ensure that the blade can turn easily. 


Flock films, such as VelCut Evo, with a thickness of 500µ seem to be thick, so many people use a 60° blade for flock. But you don’t have to cut the flock fibers, you only have to cut the hotmelt film and the flock adhesive and this is only slightly thicker than a standard flex-film.

The more obtuse angle ensures again that the material is not pushed in front of the knife.

Regardless of the blade angle make sure that the blade is sharp, otherwise don’t expect clean cuts.

Adjusting Blade Depth


Not only for flock, but for all material, one of the first adjustments that you should make in setting up your plotter is setting the blade depth. The blade should come out of the blade holder only for the thickness of the material to be cut. Setting the blade depth much greater than necessary can result in dulling the blade faster, in a faster attrition of the blade holder and the cutting strip. Cutting too deeply into a release liner or carrier can also cause the blade to chatter resulting in a ragged edge of the cut media.

The blade should cut completely through the film and only slightly score the surface of the carrier or release liner. You should never cut so deeply that you can feel the cut lines on the backside of the carrier. Adjust the blade in its holder according to your test cut results.

Adjusting Blade Offset


Blade offset is the distance between the tip of the cutting blade and the center of the blade. This distance will vary depending on the blade used. For accurate cuts, especially at the corners, you must adjust your plotter’s offset setting to the manufacturer’s recommendations. In many cases this setting is frequently ignored. Improper settings are not difficult spot. A telltale sign that the offset value is too low is that the outside corners are rounded off. Conversely, if the corners protrude or end in a spike, the value is typically too high.


Downforce


Downforce describes the amount of pressure (generally designated in grams) that is applied to the cutting blade. Cutting polyurethane may take as little as 70 to 90 grams of pressure or less. Generally, much less pressure than you need when cutting pressure sensitive vinyl. Flock films will cut easily too, usually at about 100 to 120 grams.
The ideal setting is to use the least amount of force to accomplish the job. If the plotter is not adequately cutting the media, first check the cutting depth. If that is set properly, adjust the downforce. In many cases the remedy is to decreases not increase the cutting pressure.

Cutting Speed


When you’re plotter cutting designs with intricate details, you will most likely need to slow your cutting speed. Most people think that this is also true when cutting elastic heat transfer films, such as FlexCut Sweet, which are very stretchable. But it’s not the case. With elastic materials you should also try to speed up your cutting speed. Ripe tomatoes, for example, cut easier when you cut them quickly. The same principal holds true for flex film.

Test Cut


After you load the media in your plotter and before you run a job always do a test cut. Check that the depth of the cut is completely through the media but only lightly scoring the carrier or release liner. Make sure that you cannot feel the cuts on the backside of the carrier. Cutting too deeply is as much of a problem as not cutting deeply enough.

If you are cutting square shapes, one inside another, as part of your test cut protocol, check that the corner cuts are precise. And if you cut concentric circles, see that the lines meet cleanly after the blade makes a full circuit.

Troubleshooting


If you are following all rules and still have problems, check the blade holder. The blade holder is the most stressed part of the plotter. Make sure the blade turns easily and that there is no play in the ball bearing. A drop of oil in the ball bearing can be helpful. Otherwise think about replacing the blade holder.


Weeding Tips



  • Cut a square around each text line, so you can weed line by line.
  •  It sure helps if you can see what you are doing. Good lighting is essential when weeding any type of plotter cut films. For detailed work, a magnifying hood is great for weeding an intricate design.
  • Keep your work surface clean. Dispose of weeded material so you don’t end up with extraneous piece inadvertently stuck to the carrier of the applique and then heat pressed onto the garment.
  • Using a good weeding tool will make weeding easier so you can be more productive. Everyone has a favorite tool. For some, knifes, air release tools, or tweezers are the tools of choice. Personally, I like the dental pick type of tool.
  • Pick the centers of the letters first, and then weed the outside matrix.
  •  When weeding plotter cut graphics (reverse cut), start from the left side of the reading and work to the right. For printed and cut graphics that are right reading, work from the opposite direction.

FOR TECHNICAL SUPPORT: SEF Americas provides a toll-free technical support service at 844-720-9601. NOTE:  If your call is not answered by a tech support person during normal business hours, 8am to 5pm EST (Eastern Standard Time), please leave a message and we well do our best to return your call within an hour.  Should you need to contact us after business hours, an alternate tech support number is 480-987-8028.  You can also get answers to your technical questions by emailing: techsupport@SEFamericas.com.
© 2015 Holger Beck & Jim Hingst

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Heat Pressing on Dye Sublimated Fabrics

 What is Dye Sublimation?


Most polyester fabrics, such as many of the popular “Performance Garments”, are dyed using a sublimation process. The dye sublimation process uses high heat to permanently   fuse   the colorant   into a polyester fabric.


For heat setting dye sublimation inks to polyester materials, such as textiles, high temperatures in the range of 400°F (146°C) for 45 seconds are typically required. 

Heat serves two critical functions in this dying process.  First, the heat causes the pores of the polyester fabric to open up, so the material can accept the dye.  And second, the heat converts the solid ink dye on a transfer sheet into a gas.

Under pressure of the heat press, the gaseous dye is forced into the open pores of the polyester.  As the temperature drops, the pores close up capturing the dye inside of the bonds to the substrate. 

The sublimated color is very durable because the dye becomes an integral   part of the fabric, rather than a colorant on the outside of the fibers of the fabric, which can bleed and fade.  Sublimated fabrics can be washed again and again, without losing the vibrancy of its color.

Dye Migration Can Discolor Heat Transfer Appliques


There’s one slight catch, though. When you heat press an applique onto a sublimated garment, the high heat can cause the pores of the polyester to reopen releasing the dye in the fabric.  These dyes can then migrate and discolor an applique.


Without an anti-migration blocking layer, dye migration can discolor an applique. In the photo above the white polyurethane film turned a light grey within 72 hours of heat pressing.

Discoloration resulting from dye migration does not occur immediately. Instead it is a gradual process, which may take as long as 72 hours to occur.  For example, a white applique heat pressed onto a black sublimated garment is likely to turn grey over time.

Heat Transfer Films with an Anti-Migration Layer


To prevent discoloration, many of the SEF heat transfer films incorporate a SubliBlock (SBB) ink migration blocking layer.  This second layer of  film is a dye blocking solution that  prevents discoloration of an applique caused by dye migration, regardless of whether a polyester garment has been dyed or dye sublimated.  While this second layer adds to the thickness of the applique, it is much more effective in preventing discoloration compared to other products, which utilize adhesive additives to perform the blocking function.





Heat pressing heat transfer films at high temperatures can exacerbate the dye migration problem. For this reason, SEF Americas SBB Products, such as Tatoo SBB and FlexCut Sticky SBB, are designed to be heat pressed at slightly lower temperatures of 295°F (204°C). Other heat transfer products on the market, which are designed for decorating dyed polyester are heat pressed at higher temperatures, such as 330°F (165°C).

SEF heat transfer films, which incorporate the  SubliBlock ink migration blocking layer include:

  • FlexCut Sticky SBB, a polyurethane film with the SubliBlock layer for plotter cutting.
  • Tatoo SBB, a digitally printable polyurethane film with SubliBlock.
FOR TECHNICAL SUPPORT: SEF Americas provides a toll-free technical support service at 844-720-9601. NOTE:  If your call is not answered by a tech support person during normal business hours, 8am to 5pm EST (Eastern Standard Time), please leave a message and we will do our best to return your call within an hour.  Should you need to contact us after business hours, an alternate tech support number is 480-987-8028.  You can also get answers to your technical questions by emailing: techsupport@SEFamericas.com.


For More Information About SEF Americas:


14476-201 Duval Place West
Jacksonville, FL 32218
904-423-0211 - Phone
904-423-0899 - Fax
844-720-9600 - Toll Free

© 2015 Jim Hingst

Thursday, May 7, 2015

SEF Heat Transfer Films Instructions

Tips and Tricks for Cutting, Printing & Heat Pressing SEF Heat Transfer Films


Thank You For Choosing
SEF HEAT TRANSFER FILMS

With SEF films for plotter cutting and printing, you can expand your product offering to include heat transfers for sports teams, groups such as sororities, fraternities and businesses. It’s a great way to ignite your sales and profits. Heat transfer materials can be applied to t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, caps, bags or any fabric material.

The SEF line of heat transfer materials consists of four families of products. FlexCut™ and FlockCut™ are for plotter cutting. FlexPrint™ and FlockPrint™ are print and cut materials. SEF FlexCut™ and FlockCut™ heat transfer materials consist of a heat-activated adhesive coated on either a polyurethane or flock facestock, laminated to a plastic release liner or carrier film. With the carrier on the bottom, the top layer is the adhesive. After the graphics are cut in reverse, the carrier serves as the application film. This clear film carrier allows the user to accurately position the graphic, which prevents misalignment.

FlexPrint™ and FlockPrint™ consist of a facestock coated with a heat-activated adhesive on a film carrier. With the carrier on the bottom, the top side is the printable surface. After the material is printed “right reading”, and contour cut, the matrix is weeded and the graphics are laminated with a hot mask type of application tape, such as SEF’s FlexTape.

 Vinyl versus Polyurethane

Vinyl heat transfer films are often considerably less expensive than polyurethane films. These vinyl films are thicker, less flexible and less durable than polyurethane. After multiple washings, vinyl heat transfer graphics tend to become brittle and crack.

Plotter Cutting

If you have a plotter, you can use the same vector-based software that you use for cutting vinyl graphics. The only difference is that you will cut the SEF FlexCut and FlockCut materials in reverse or “wrong reading”. The 45­° blade that you use for cutting vinyl graphics is also the same that you will use when cutting any of the SEF films.

Always do a test cut prior to production. The SEF FlexPrint™ and FlockPrint™ families of heat transfer materials are digitally printable with solvent, ecosolvent and latex inks. When printing SEF materials, a generic ‘heat transfer media’ profile will generally provide acceptable color reproduction.

After the SEF media is printed, cut and weeded, apply the hot mask application tape, such as the SEF FlexTape, with a squeegee to the printed graphic. Remove the carrier or release liner of the heat transfer media and apply it to the garment. Printed polyurethane or vinyl heat transfer media generally require medium tack or high tack hot mask application tapes.

Transferring printed flock films is extremely difficult, because of the highly textured surface of the flock fibers.  Standard application tapes used for vinyl graphics, including ultra-high tack tapes, just don’t work.

For this very difficult application, SEF has developed a special tape, which is designed to transfer printed flock films, such as EcoPrint.  This transparent polyester film is coated with a high tack silicone adhesive and protected with a white embossed polypropylene release liner (shown below). 



The SEF FlexTape exhibits exceptional adhesive properties to transfer printed appliques, including flock graphics with plotter cut copy, script or intricate detail. The clarity of the film aids accurate positioning of printed heat transfer appliques to garments.


After laminating the HotMask, peel the carrier or liner from the back of the print.


During the heat press operation, SEF’s FlexTape protects the printed media from the high temperatures of the top platen, preventing discoloration and distortion of the applique. The polyester (PET) facestock of the masking withstands heat cycles as long as 60 seconds at 330° F (166°C).


Following the heat pressing cycle, the SEF masking removes easily and cleanly in one piece, within a few seconds, while it is still warm. The FlexTape maskings are designed so they do not leave any residue on the printed graphic. The new hot mask application tapes also work well with all brands and types of printable flock heat transfer films.

Heat Press Warm Up

Heat presses take time to warm up to the optimal temperature. About thirty minutes prior to production allow your press warm up. Set your controls for the time, temperature and pressure settings recommended for the heat transfer films that you will use.

Pre-Heating the Garment

Prior to heat press transfer of the graphic, always preheat the garment for three to five seconds. This serves three important functions:

  • First, it drives out moisture, which could inhibit adhesion of the heat transfer material.
  • Second, it presses the garment smooth, eliminating wrinkles so the heat transfer has a smooth surface to adhere to. No wrinkles in the garment, means no wrinkles in the graphics.
  • Third, preheating the fabric will cause it to shrink. That’s a good thing, if you are layering several different materials. Without preheating, the shirt and the first layer of graphics will shrink together. That will make registration of subsequent layers impossible. 

Will preheating prevent further shrinking as the garment goes through multiple heat pressings? Not always, so there are other fixes that may work, such as allowing for overlaps when you are designing the graphics.




Heat Press Operation

Successful application of heat transfer materials depends on three primary variables: temperature, duration and pressure. Before heat pressing, refer the SEF literature for the recommended time and temperature settings.

After pressing the material, wait at least three seconds, before peeling off the carrier. While you can remove the carrier cold, it removes more easily and in less time when it is hot.

Test, Don’t Guess. Most of SEF films are designed for application to cotton, polyester and cotton/polyester blends. Prior to production, refer to the SEF literature regarding compatibility of the film to the fabric. Since we cannot possibly test every film/fabric combination for compatibility, test the film to ensure its adhesion.

NOTE: When applying SEF heat transfer materials to thicker garments, you may need to increase the time to achieve good adhesion.

Registering Graphics

After you weed the matrix for the SEF plotter cut films, you will turn the graphics over to position the graphic on the garment. The clear liner allows for accurate registration, which is critical when doing layered graphics. With the material in position (the carrier should be on top now), the graphics should now be “right reading”.

Be sure to carefully measure the graphics, to prevent misalignment of graphics. To aid registration, several tools are available on the market, such as the Tee Square It™ tool or alignment grids.

After you position the graphics on the garment, you can cover the graphics with a Teflon® blanket (optional). While this blanket will evenly distribute the heat, the main purpose is to protect the top platen.

Layering Graphics

Combining different materials in apparel design creates visual excitement, which can be your competitive edge in selling heat transfer graphics. Think of the possibilities of combining colored flex films with a metallic film or a flock film. You can create designs that are unique and different and difficult to reproduce using other techniques, such as screen or digital printing.

Layering multiple color designs involves cutting, weeding and heat pressing each color of film separately. In heat pressing one color over another, make sure that the carrier covers and protects all of the different layers which have been applied.

Garment Care

How long a heat transfer image depends in large part on how the end user cares for his or her garment. To achieve the optimal durability, the consumer should always follow a few simple rules:

Washing
  • To prevent abrasion as garments rub together during the wash cycle, turn the garment inside out.
  • Wash the garment in cold or warm water. Use a mild detergent. Never use bleach.



Drying
  • To protect the image from abrasion as garments rub against each other, turn it inside out.
  • Tumble dry on low OR hang to dry (preferred).



If you have questions about cutting, weeding or pressing heat transfer films, call SEF Americas or your SEF distributor.

ABOUT SEF: For more than 35 years, SEF has provided the screen printing and garment industries with high quality flex films and flock films. Manufacturing at SEF is totally integrated. The factory formulates, casts and adhesive coats its own polyurethane (PU) films. SEF even manufactures its own flock fibers. With a corporate commitment to a greener environment, all of its film and adhesive formulations are water based. This ensures that no solvents pollute the atmosphere. Its only emission is water vapor. Today, SEF is recognized as a leading producer of heat transfer films for used in the fabrication of heat press appliqués for textile decoration. Its ultra-thin polyurethane films and super soft flock films are easy to plotter cut and digitally print.


FOR TECHNICAL SUPPORT: SEF Americas provides a toll-free technical support service at 844-720-9601. NOTE:  If your call is not answered by a tech support person during normal business hours, 8am to 5pm EST (Eastern Standard Time), please leave a message and we will do our best to return your call within an hour.  Should you need to contact us after business hours, an alternate tech support number is 480-987-8028.  You can also get answers to your technical questions by emailing: techsupport@SEFamericas.com.

About this blog: SEF Americas Heat Transfer Blog is dedicated to providing technical information about flex and flock films for heat pressing appliques to textiles. SEF, a leader in flock materials and polyurethane films, serves the garment, sign and screen print industries. SEF brands include Tatoo, Classicprint, Clearflex, Fiberplus, Metalflex and Reflexcut.


For More Information About SEF Americas:


14476-201 Duval Place West
Jacksonville, FL 32218
904-423-0211 - Phone
904-423-0899 - Fax
844-720-9600 - Toll Free

© 2015 Jim Hingst