innovative | creative | productive

about Polar Bear Paper

A simple mission – thin quality transfer paper for digital print

Polar Bear Paper seeks the perfect balance of weight and technical performance.

The global market for printed textiles amounts to approximately 24 billion meters per year, growing every year. We estimate that approximately 225 million of the total printed meters are currently printed digitally – a number that also continues to grow.

When we reduce the weight of paper, we reduce costs, lower CO2 and the general impact on the environment – but we do not compromise the quality of the print.

The history of transfer paper

The use of transfer paper in the textile industry is not new. Back in the early 70s, the company Stork developed a calander for heat transfer printing on synthetic textiles. At that time, the dispersion ink took form of a paste, mostly mixed with solvents. This paste was used for textile printing by rotary or screenprinting using paper as the carrier. Only the dispersion particles stayed on the paper, the solvent vaporised. The technical paper requirements were not so high and the weight of the paper was as low as 20 or 30 gr/m2.

More or less like today the printing on textile took place in a calander or a flatpress in which a temperature of 160 – 220 degrees Celsius made the ink sublimate – during the sublimation process, the ink went from a solid phase into a vapour phase without becoming liquid at any time.

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Sublimation textile printing made environmentally friendly with water-based ink and digital technology

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The sublimation process was popular all over the world for printing on textiles. However, the negative environmental impact of the solvents started to get more and more attention in the industry and made way for the entry of more environmentally friendly water-based ink.

At the end of the 90s, the digital printer was introduced in textile printing. The digital printer extended the possibilities in terms of repeat size, colour control and printing details. The digital printer and the new water-based ink went hand in hand, but also required thicker transfer paper of much higher quality to handle the moist of the ink without causing cockling or stretching the paper.

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