Skip to content

Strength and Heat Tolerance Keys for Creating Plastic Heat Transfer Press

A heat transfer press applies a permanent transfer of an image or logo to another surface for a variety of reasons, such as to decorate custom gifts or promotional materials. Think about that concert t-shirt collection you might have stored away to commemorate a special occasion or your favorite band, as one example.  

Typically, heat is transferred via an electronically heated metal surface or plate that functions in a similar fashion to an iron. An industrial heat transfer press however offers greater surface pressure, a larger heating surface and precise temperature controls to attain a clean image transfer.   

One manufacturer of industrial heat transfer presses wanted to explore the possibility of fabricating a less expensive, more accessible type of press to appeal to small entrepreneurs and home businesses, while maintaining its high standards for quality.  

In order to make a heat transfer press that would meet these criteria and be lighter in weight than an all-metal press, it would have to be constructed out of plastic. The company approached Philpott Solutions Group, as a plastics part manufacturer, with design and engineering expertise as well.  

The Challenge 

The primary function of a heat transfer press demanded a plastics solution that offered a high heat tolerance as well as high strength, able to withstand extreme pressure. The heat transfer press manufacturer also wanted to keep the overall weight of the press within 10-15 lbs. total.  

Philpott offered previous plastic parts manufacturer experience supplying various parts for heat transfer presses, including one that involves plastic to metal bonding. For this new challenge, our design engineers spent two full years selecting and testing the right combination of polymers that would meet project specifications.  

In order to find the ideal solution, Philpott engineers first had to factor in the myriad of behaviors of different types of polymers, because each type behaves in a different manner under similar conditions. Factors included variables such as:   

  • shrink factor (or coefficient)  
  • color-matching 
  • cosmetic appearance  
  • melt and flow rates 
  • material setup 
  • moldability 
  • heat tolerance  
  • strength parameters 
  • pressure tolerances 

Prototype Testing 

Each specific part of the press required different capabilities. For each part, Philpott would select a handful of polymers that had the potential to meet the part specifications, then produce prototypes in order to test the qualities and limits of the different polymers to determine which would perform best for this application. A variety of different sized pieces made up the press, with a range of 16”x14” to parts two to three inches in size.  

The Philpott team successfully met all of the project challenges and parameters. This new, lightweight, economically priced heat transfer press, constructed entirely out of plastic, rolled out in retail markets at the end of 2019. The manufacturer began with local distribution, with plans to expand gradually into the international market.  

The Philpott plastics manufacturing group enjoyed the challenge of taking the customer’s idea from concept to reality. Are you looking for an innovative plastic parts manufacturer for new or existing products? Contact us or give us a call at 888-267-2206.

Back To Top