The process where the decoration from a coloured film, printed or wood grained film or a metalized film is transferred to the surface of the part by heat, pressure and precisely controlled time interval. It is a completely dry process requiring no pre-treatment of the plastics. It requires a special machine and a heated die to apply the film, in roll form, to any thermoplastic or thermoset. Usually thermosets are not decorated in this way because melting of the surface is required for adhesion.
The heated metal or rubber die is brought into contact with the plastic under pressure. The coated film is mounted between the die and the plastic. After some time (normally less than one second) the coating releases from the carrier film and adheres itself to the plastic surface. When the die is removed, the part is completely dry and can be handled immediately.
They are made of silicone rubber or a soft metal such as zinc, magnesium, copper or brass. Silicone rubber is frequently used because it can compensate small variation of thickness in the plastic and withstand the temperature ranging from 1200-1900C.
The decorative films used in the process are usually of two type viz.: The Roll leaf and The Heat transfers.