Textile heat transfers come in three technologies when it comes to peeling. This can be “hot peel”, “cold peel”, or “hot split”. But what is the difference between them?
First, the main difference lies in the transfer paper or foil.
Cold Peel Heat Transfers
These heat transfers are the oldest type of textile heat transfers. As the name might tell, they must be peeled off in a cold state. This is for the fact, that the transfer paper itself shows a rather strong bond to the print at all temperatures. When trying to peel the transfer paper while the print is still hot the paper will lift the still soft print from the garment. This causes failures in adhesion to the textile and reduce its durability.
Another point worth knowing is, that the transfer should be as cold as possible before peeling. Due to this the print can solidify and the final bond to the textile gets stronger.
Hot Peel Heat Transfers
These heat transfers are produced to be peeled off directly after pressing, when the textile and transfer are still hot. Therefore, the release layer of the transfer paper and the inks are designed to be non-adhesive when hot. By this no time is wasted by waiting for the transfer to cool off before peeling. But it carries a risk.
If the transfer paper does not release properly because it was too cold, the ink will be lifted during the peeling process. This can have a negative impact on the final adhesion and durability of the print. In other words, where the cold peel heat transfers must be cooled off, the hot peel heat transfer needs to keep the heat up.
Hot Split Heat Transfers
This type of transfer is one, where the ink plays a bigger role. Just like with hot peel heat transfers, these must be peeled off when still hot. But other than with hot peel transfers where the release layer is meant to release the whole print. It rather splits the print within the color layer, which is where the name comes from. Due to this a small rest of ink will remain on the transfer paper.
Especially if a vintage look is required or the print should be extra breathable, a hot split heat transfer will do the trick.
All in all, when having the time to let the transfer cool down before peeling, a cold peel heat transfer is a great choice as it achieves a good bond when applied and peeled off correctly.
In cases where time plays a big roll, like when using transfers in an automatic heat transfer machine, a hot peel transfer is a great choice. Especially when a second pressing cycle for fixation is an option.
Hot split transfers are the go to when an extra soft feel or a special look is required.
Summed up, none of these is better than the others, just different.
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Besides many other factors that can influence the heat transfer process, the three most important ones are heat, time, and pressure. No matter if it is a textile transfer or a transfer for packaging applications, you should know about the effect of these parameters and how a transfer is affected by them.
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