Hydrographic Printing (also known as water transfer printing, water immersion printing, hydro dipping, hydro imaging and fluid imaging) is a surface decorating process whereby elaborate graphics like camouflage, wood grain finishes, or geometrical designs are applied to a product.
The process is used extensively to decorate items that range from entire all-terrain vehicles and car dashboards to small items like bike helmets or other automotive trim. Films can be applied to all types of substrates including plastic, fiberglass, wood, ceramics, and metal. For the most part, if the item can be dipped in water, the hydrographic process can be used.
The process utilizes a water-soluble film that contains the printed patterns. The film dissolves in the water and leaves the ink on the surface. In the typical process, the item to be printed is first coated with a primer or an adhesion promoter. After this dries, a basecoat paint is applied which controls the hue of the pattern. So, for instance, wood grain prints often utilize a brown basecoat and many camouflage patterns use a neutral base.
After the basecoat is applied, the item is ready for decorating. The film is activated. The item is then dipped into the water and the ink wraps around it. It is then washed and painted with a topcoat.
At U.S. Paint, we have earned a reputation for supplying the hydrographics printing industry with the best basecoats and clear topcoats.
For More information on our Clearcoat and Basecoat Paint for Hydrographic Printing, please click on the contact us button below.