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Dupont Develops 3D Sublimation Process For Decorating Complex-Shaped Plastic Parts

01 February 2006

DuPont's new dye-sublimation technology for decorating complex-shaped plastic parts moulded from semi-crystalline plastics has its first application in Tefal's 'Color Click' electric kettle. The outer shell of this new kettle (made from DuPont Crastin PBT polyester resin) is decorated with different colours and patterns using the new dye-sublimation technique, which was developed for the Tefal project in partnership with French companies, Pacific Colour and Sublistatic International.Sublimation is a process whereby a solid substance is converted into a gas without passing through an intermediate liquid phase. Dye-sublimation allows images or patterns to be transferred from a carrier to a substrate using pressure and heat. Hitherto, plastic decoration via dye-sublimation has been limited to surfaces of simple geometric shape - mostly flat or, at best, cylindrical.Attempts at overcoming these limitations - using so-called 'stretchable' dye carriers - often resulted in blurring over tight curves and sharp edges. The new process features a dye carrier that adheres smoothly to 3D curved parts and complex geometries, to produce precision patterns without wrinkling.Sublimation can produce a very wide range of effects on plastics, such as wood grain, marble or lace, and the surface can be glossy, grainy and the colours light or dark.

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