Embossing is the technique that gives your film that final professional look. There are a number of different ways to emboss a film depending on the feel that the client wants.
The technical definition of embossing is to change a flat surface into a shaped surface, giving some areas on the surface depth as relative to some other places on the surface. We can emboss just about any material that is flat and malleable, including glass, textile fabric, nonwovens, metal foil, paper, plastic film and leather.
Why to Emboss
You may want to emboss a material for purely cosmetic reasons. However, you may also go through the process of embossing in order to reconfigure the physical properties of a source material. Embossing has the ability to dramatically change the way that materials interact with other things, changing properties such as elasticity, durability, strength and absorbency.
In most cases, embossing will make your material thicker. It may also be used to bond layers of material to each other.
Methods of Embossing
- Embossing for malleable materials – Force embossing causes a permanent change in the shape of a material. The properties of that material are also dramatically changed. Embossed tissue paper is an example of this type of embossing.
- Embossing for fluid materials – Before a material is made completely solid, embossing is used to “cast a mold” on its surface. After the embossing step, the material is changed into a solid with the raised surface now a property of the texture. Thicker types of paper are best embossed through this process.
- Embossing for semifluid materials – Also known as “stamp embossing,” this technique involves pressing a sheet of material between two embedded plates after it has been divided into discrete lengths.
- Rotary embossing – When a material is taken through embossing rollers, it is called rotary embossing. Materials that are given to us in continuous form will likely involve this process. Rotary embossing is known to be faster than the above embossing methods, which are intermittent.
Continuous Rotary Embossing
- Steel to steel embossing – Both of the rollers in this case will have patterns that are designed to interact with each other. Both sides of the embossing roller will deform the material being embossed in this case.
- Rubber to steel embossing – The steel roller will be engraved with the other roller being covered with rubber. This surface is smooth. The steel roller is meant to deform the material and the elastic rubber roller as well. The additional energy required here makes deeper deformations for a stronger embossing.
- Paper to steel embossing – This type of embossing is a hybrid between steel to steel embossing and rubber to steel embossing. It is used specifically for paper napkins for the highest visual definition and multiple plies. The steel roller will have the pattern on it with the opposing roller kept smooth and filled with paper.
Serial nips are used for putting one embossing pattern on top of another. The paper is first passed through one of the nips before it is passed through the other one. This technique works best when the initial pattern is fine in scale and uses the entire paper in the same way that a microembossing pattern does.
Parallel nips will only be used in the case of products that have more than one ply. In most cases, two ply items will take advantage of parallel nips. In the case of toilet paper, parallel nips and glue help to bond each of the plies together. The embossing patterns and alignment of each pattern are both vital elements in how parallel nips work.
With over 100 textures to choose from, ZOi Films will put a texture in the film of your choice. From 1 mil to 20 mil, our 100” wide embosser will provide the right amount of heat and pressure to set your film to specifications that are optimized to its capabilities.