WO2017222712A1 - Method for applying artwork to metal objects and articles comprising same - Google Patents

Method for applying artwork to metal objects and articles comprising same Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2017222712A1
WO2017222712A1 PCT/US2017/033776 US2017033776W WO2017222712A1 WO 2017222712 A1 WO2017222712 A1 WO 2017222712A1 US 2017033776 W US2017033776 W US 2017033776W WO 2017222712 A1 WO2017222712 A1 WO 2017222712A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
metal object
artwork
minutes
heating
temperature
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2017/033776
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Jeffrey CANTRELL
Original Assignee
BROADWATER, Charles
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
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Publication date
Priority to US201662353646P priority Critical
Priority to US62/353,646 priority
Application filed by BROADWATER, Charles filed Critical BROADWATER, Charles
Publication of WO2017222712A1 publication Critical patent/WO2017222712A1/en

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B41PRINTING; LINING MACHINES; TYPEWRITERS; STAMPS
    • B41MPRINTING, DUPLICATING, MARKING, OR COPYING PROCESSES; COLOUR PRINTING
    • B41M5/00Duplicating or marking methods; Sheet materials for use therein
    • B41M5/025Duplicating or marking methods; Sheet materials for use therein by transferring ink from the master sheet
    • B41M5/035Duplicating or marking methods; Sheet materials for use therein by transferring ink from the master sheet by sublimation or volatilisation of pre-printed design, e.g. sublistatic
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B41PRINTING; LINING MACHINES; TYPEWRITERS; STAMPS
    • B41MPRINTING, DUPLICATING, MARKING, OR COPYING PROCESSES; COLOUR PRINTING
    • B41M5/00Duplicating or marking methods; Sheet materials for use therein
    • B41M5/025Duplicating or marking methods; Sheet materials for use therein by transferring ink from the master sheet
    • B41M5/0256Duplicating or marking methods; Sheet materials for use therein by transferring ink from the master sheet the transferable ink pattern being obtained by means of a computer driven printer, e.g. an ink jet or laser printer, or by electrographic means

Abstract

In one aspect, the disclosure relates to methods for applying artwork using a sublimation transfer process to a powder coated surface of a metal object. The disclosure further pertains to metal objects manufactured using the disclosed methods, including products comprising component parts manufactured by the disclosed methods. In various aspects, the metal object can be a vacuum-insulated, double-walled stainless steel vessel such as a cooler, tumbler, mug or cup. In various aspects, the artwork can comprise a logo, e.g., a sports team logo or commercial logo. This abstract is intended as a scanning tool for purposes of searching in the particular art and is not intended to be limiting of the present disclosure.

Description

METHOD FOR APPLYING ARTWORK TO METAL OBJECTS AND ARTICLES

COMPRISING SAME

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This Application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/353,646, filed on June 23, 2016, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Powder coating is a process that is used widely around the world and generally consists of spraying an electrically charged powder onto a metal object. After the spray is complete, the object is then placed in an oven for a certain amount of time at a certain temperature.

[0003] Sublimation is a process that is used on a daily basis with different items around the world. Sublimation is a process that turns a dry ink into a gas while bypassing the liquid state. The only thing sublimation ink will stick to is polyester and only under high temperature and high pressure conditions for a certain amount of time.

[0004] Combining the methods of powder coating with sublimation in a manner that easily allows providing an artwork design on a powder coated surface of a metal object has not been available. In particular, the curing the powder coating results in surface properties such that the methods for transferring the artwork via sublimation transfer are compromised. For example, in attempting to combine these two methods in a facile manufacturing process, the skilled artisan is confronted with either incomplete transfer of the artwork or damage to the powder coated surface.

[0005] The present disclosure provides methods for easily transferring artwork via sublimation transfer to a powder coated surface, and articles manufactured using the disclosed methods.

SUMMARY

[0006] In accordance with the purpose(s) of the disclosure, as embodied and broadly described herein, the disclosure, in one aspect, relates to methods for applying artwork, using a sublimation transfer process, to a powder coated surface of a metal object. The disclosure further pertains to articles manufactured by the disclosed methods, including products comprising component parts manufactured by the disclosed methods. In various aspects, the artwork can comprise a logo, e.g., a sports team logo or commercial logo. In a further aspect, the artwork can comprise elements of decorative artwork.

[0007] Disclosed are methods for applying artwork to a metal object, comprising: applying a powder coating to at least one surface of the metal object; heating the metal object at about 380 °F to about 450 °F for about 5 minutes to about 45 minutes; placing a sublimated artwork onto at least one powder coated surface of the metal object; wherein the sublimated artwork is in intimate contact with the powder coated surface of the metal object; and heating the sublimated artwork at about 360 °F to about 420 °F for about 30 seconds to about 150 seconds.

[0008] Also disclosed are methods for applying artwork to a metal object, comprising: applying a top coating to at least one surface of the metal object; heating the metal object at a temperature about 5 °F to about 20 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork for about 5 minutes to about 45 minutes; placing a sublimated artwork onto at least one powder coated surface of the metal object; wherein the sublimated artwork is in intimate contact with the powder coated surface of the metal object; and heating the sublimated artwork at about 360 °F to about 420 °F for about 30 seconds to about 150 seconds.

[0009] Also disclosed are methods for applying artwork to a metal object, comprising: applying a top coating to at least one surface of the metal object; wherein the top coating comprises a thermoplastic polyester resin; heating the metal object at about 390 °F to about 410 °F for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes; cooling the metal object to a temperature of about 55 °F to about 85 °F over a period of about 10 minutes to about 45 minutes; placing a sublimated artwork onto at least one powder coated surface of the metal object; wherein the sublimated artwork is in intimate contact with the powder coated surface of the metal object; and heating the sublimated artwork at about 385 °F to about 395 °F for about 45 seconds to about 120 seconds. [0010] Also disclosed are articles, e.g., a double-walled stainless steel tumbler, comprising artwork applied to the product by a disclosed method.

[0011] While aspects of the present disclosure can be described and claimed in a particular statutory class, such as the system statutory class, this is for convenience only and one of skill in the art will understand that each aspect of the present disclosure can be described and claimed in any statutory class. Unless otherwise expressly stated, it is in no way intended that any method or aspect set forth herein be construed as requiring that its steps be performed in a specific order. Accordingly, where a method claim does not specifically state in the claims or descriptions that the steps are to be limited to a specific order, it is no way intended that an order be inferred, in any respect. This holds for any possible non-express basis for interpretation, including matters of logic with respect to arrangement of steps or operational flow, plain meaning derived from grammatical organization or punctuation, or the number or type of aspects described in the specification.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0012] The present disclosure can be understood more readily by reference to the following detailed description of the disclosure and the Examples included therein.

[0013] As used in the specification and the appended claims, the singular forms "a," "an" and "the" include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to "a polyester coating," "a sublimation ink," or "artwork" includes mixtures, including, but not limited to, layers or coatings of two or more such polyester coatings, sublimation inks, or artworks, and the like.

[0014] It is understood that when a parameter or quantitative value is expressed as a range, e.g. from 100 °F to 200 °F, that unless specifically stated otherwise the range independently includes all values and subranges therebetween.

[0015] Ranges can be expressed herein as from "about" one particular value, and/or to "about" another particular value. When such a range is expressed, a further aspect includes from the one particular value and/or to the other particular value. Similarly, when values are expressed as approximations, by use of the antecedent "about," it will be understood that the particular value forms a further aspect. It will be further understood that the endpoints of each of the ranges are significant both in relation to the other endpoint, and independently of the other endpoint. It is also understood that there are a number of values disclosed herein, and that each value is also herein disclosed as "about" that particular value in addition to the value itself. For example, if the value "10" is disclosed, then "about 10" is also disclosed. It is also understood that each unit between two particular units are also disclosed. For example, if 10 and 15 are disclosed, then 1 1 , 12, 13, and 14 are also disclosed.

[0016] As used herein, the terms "about," "approximate," and "at or about" mean that the amount or value in question can be the exact value artworkated or a value that provides equivalent results or effects as recited in the claims or taught herein. That is, it is understood that amounts, sizes, formulations, parameters, and other quantities and characteristics are not and need not be exact, but may be approximate and/or larger or smaller, as desired, reflecting tolerances, conversion factors, rounding off, measurement error and the like, and other factors known to those of skill in the art such that equivalent results or effects are obtained. In some circumstances, the value that provides equivalent results or effects cannot be reasonably determined. In such cases, it is generally understood, as used herein, that "about" and "at or about" mean the nominal value indicated ±10% variation unless otherwise indicated or inferred. In general, an amount, size, formulation, parameter or other quantity or characteristic is "about," "approximate," or "at or about" whether or not expressly stated to be such. It is understood that where "about," "approximate," or "at or about" is used before a quantitative value, the parameter also includes the specific quantitative value itself, unless specifically stated otherwise.

[0017] As used herein, the terms "optional" or "optionally" means that the subsequently described event or circumstance can or can not occur, and that the description includes instances where said event or circumstance occurs and instances where it does not.

[0018] As used herein, "artwork" means a graphical representation, ornamental pattern, artistic work, picture, logo, or a combination thereof, comprised of patterns, shapes, colors, images, or combinations thereof. In an exemplary aspect, a logo can be a sports team logo or corporate logo used in commerce or advertising. Additional non-limiting examples of artwork include camouflage patterns, whether artistic, digital and/or image based; checker board patterns; paisley patterns; tye-dyed patterns; images of objects, people, animals, or other things; artistic works, and the like.

[0019] As used herein, "sublimated artwork" refers to artwork that has been transferred to a metal object by sublimation transfer methods as disclosed herein. In general, the disclosed methods comprise printing artwork on a surface of sublimation transfer sheet using one or more sublimation inks. The sublimation transfer sheet comprising the artwork is placed in intimate contact with a surface of the metal object such that the surface of the sublimation transfer paper having the artwork printed thereon is in contact with the surface of the metal object. The sublimation transfer sheet, in intimate contact with the metal object, is heated at a desired temperature and pressure for a desired period of time as disclosed herein. The sublimation transfer sheet is removed from the surface of the metal object.

[0020] As used herein, "metal object" refers to an article or component of an article that comprises one or more metals such that the metal object is electrically conductive. A metal object can be a metal or metal alloy such as stainless steel or aluminum. Alternatively, a metal object can be a composite material that contains one or more metals in sufficient amounts such that the metal object is electrically conductive sufficient to allow the metal object to be subject to powder coating methods. In a further alternative aspect, a metal object can comprise a non-metal material or composite material that has been coated with an electrically conductive coating. Exemplary metal objects include, but not limited to, vacuum-insulated double walled stainless steel vessels such coolers, tumblers, mugs and cups similar to the double-walled stainless steel construction of vessels commercially available from Yeti® (Austin, Texas), Rtic (Houston, Texas), Kodiak (Green Bay, Wisconsin), and others.

[0021] As used herein, "base coat" or "base coating," which can be used interchangeably, refers to a powder coat that is applied directly on a metal object as disclosed herein and has a function of imparting color hue and design characteristic such as an attractive appearance to the base material, as well as, in some aspects, imparting adhesion between a topcoat coat to be applied thereon and the surface preparation. A base coat can comprise multiple base coats applied in whole or in part to a metal object. That is, a base coat can comprise multiple layers of a base coat to achieve different color effects or designs. For example, a base coat can be applied to an entire surface of a metal object, and a second base applied thereon to only certain areas in order to provide a specific design effect.

[0022] As used herein, "top coat" or "top coating," which can be used interchangeably, refers to a powder coat that is applied on either a base coat that has been applied on a metal object or directly on the metal object without a base coat. The top coat can have a transparent, essentially transparent, translucent, or essentially translucent finish such that the underlying base coat or finish of the metal object can be visualized, at least in part. It is understood that the top coat is not opaque.

[0023] As used herein, "powder coat" or "powder coating" refers to a base coat(s), a top coat, or collectively to both a base coat(s) and a top coat, unless otherwise specified.

[0024] It is understood, as used herein, that a base coat(s), a top coat, or generally, a powder coating can comprise a thermosetting resin such as a polyester resin, a triglycidyl isocyanate polyester urethane resin, an epoxy resin, an epoxy/polyester hybrid resin, a polyester urethane resin, an acrylic resin, or combinations thereof. In some aspects, a base coat(s), a top coat, or generally, a powder coating comprises a thermoplastic polyester resin. Moreover, as described herein, a base coat(s), a top coat, or generally, a powder coating can further comprise one or more of a curing agent, a leveling agent, an ultraviolet absorbing agent, an anti-pinhole agent, and an anti-cratering agent. In some aspects, a powder coating can comprise one or more pigments.

[0025] Unless otherwise expressly stated, it is in no way intended that any method set forth herein be construed as requiring that its steps be performed in a specific order. Accordingly, where a method claim does not actually recite an order to be followed by its steps or it is not otherwise specifically stated in the claims or descriptions that the steps are to be limited to a specific order, it is no way intended that an order be inferred, in any respect. This holds for any possible non-express basis for interpretation, including: matters of logic with respect to arrangement of steps or operational flow; plain meaning derived from grammatical organization or punctuation; and the number or type of aspects described in the specification.

[0026] Broadly disclosed herein are methods for combining sublimation methods to provide a sublimation artwork to a powder coated surface. In a particular aspect, the disclosed methods allow production of metal objects with a sublimated artwork thereon. In a further aspect, the disclosed methods allow manufacturer of such metal objects by stepwise processes that comprise optionally powder coating a base coat, powder coating a top coat, application of a sublimated artwork, and optionally providing a protective finish. In an aspect, the disclosed methods provide a sublimated artwork on stainless steel objects, for example, but not limited to, such as a stainless steel tumbler without affecting the desired use of the tumbler. The disclosed methods can optionally further comprise preparation of a surface of the metal object prior to powder coating the base coat, or if no base coat is provided, prior to application of the top coat.

[0027] In an aspect, the disclosed method comprises applying a base coat to a metal object by electrostatic deposition methods using an electrostatic gun. Electrostatic deposition methods are known to the skilled artisan and comprise standard powder coating techniques. In an aspect, the metal object comprises an electrically conductive metal. In an alternative aspect, the electrically conductive metal comprises stainless steel. In a further alternative aspect, the electrically conductive metal comprises aluminum.

[0028] In an aspect, the base coat has a thickness of about 0.5 mils to about 3.0 mils. It is understood that "mils," as used herein, refers to a unit of length equal to 0.001 of an inch (0.0254 mm). In a further aspect, the base coat thickness is about 0.5 mils to about 1 .5 mils. In a still further aspect, the base coat thickness is about 1 .0 mils to about 2.5 mils. In a yet further aspect, the base coat thickness is about 1 .0 mils to about 2.0 mils. In an even further aspect, the base coat thickness is about 0.5 mils to about 2.0 mils.

[0029] In various aspects, the base coat has a thickness of about 0.5 mils, about 0.6 mils, about 0.7 mils, about 0.8 mils, about 0.9 mils, about 1 .0 mils, about 1 .1 mils, about 1 .2 mils, about 1 .3 mils, about 1 .4 mils, about 1 .5 mils, about 1 .6 mils, about 1 .7 mils, about 1 .8 mils, about 1 .9 mils, about 2.0 mils, about 2.1 mils, about 2.2 mils, about 2.3 mils, about 2.4 mils, about 2.5 mils, about 2.6 mils, about 2.7 mils, about 2.8 mils, about 2.9 mils, about 3.0 mils, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values.

[0030] In an aspect, the base coat can comprise a polymeric resin such as a thermoplastic resin or a thermosetting resin. In an aspect, the base coat comprises a thermosetting resin such as a polyester resin, a triglycidyl isocyanate polyester urethane resin, an epoxy resin, an epoxy/polyester hybrid resin, a polyester urethane resin, an acrylic resin, or combinations thereof. In a further aspect, the base coat comprises a polyester resin. In a yet further aspect, the base coat comprises a triglycidyl isocyanate polyester urethane resin.

[0031] In an aspect, the base coat further comprises one or more pigments. In a further aspect, the base coat can have a full gloss, semi-gloss, matte, or flat finish.

[0032] In a further aspect, the base coat further comprises one or more pigments. For example, the colorant can comprise one or more including, but not limited to, calcium carbonate, amorphous silica, aluminum oxide, barium sulfate, hydrated alumina, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, carbon black, and organic pigments or dyes. Other pigments, or combinations of pigments, as known to one skilled in the art can be used to impart the desired hue to the powder coating. These pigments can be added in amounts known to those of ordinary skill in the art to give the desired hue to the base coat upon application and curing.

[0033] In a further aspect, the base coat further comprises one or more of a curing agent, a leveling agent, an ultraviolet absorbing agent, an anti-pinhole agent, and an anti-cratering agent.

[0034] Exemplary base coats are commercially available from a variety of manufacturers. Among such exemplary base coats are Satin White TGIC S5750009, Winter White TGIC S179001 1 , Burgundy TGIC S1796026, Military Green TGIC S5743042, Smoke Gray TGIC S1792045, Sunny Yellow TGIC S1798033, and other colored powdered coatings available from Columbia Coatings, Inc. (Columbia, Tennessee). [0035] In an aspect, the base coat is cured following electrostatic deposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon to a temperature sufficient to initiate flow-out of the powder coating and that is also greater than the temperature used during the sublimation step. . In various aspects, the base coat is cured for a time minimally necessary to effect flow-out of the powder coating such that the surface has a uniform surface, e.g., a uniform raised or matte finished texture but not long enough to fully cure the base coat. The uniformity of the surface can be assessed via visual inspection. Alternatively, the surface texture by various methods known to the skilled artisan to assess one or more of lay, surface roughness, and waviness. For example, such methods include contact methods, e.g., use of a profilometer, or non-contact methods, e.g., interforemetry, confocal microscopy, focus variation, structured light, electrical capacitance, and electron microscopy methods.

[0036] In an aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 450 °F. In a further aspect, the curing of the base coat is carried by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 420 °F. In a still further aspect, the curing of the base coat is carried by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 410 °F. In a yet further aspect, the curing of the base coat is carried by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 400 °F.

[0037] In an aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 450 °F. In a further aspect, the base coat can be cured by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 420 °F. In a still further aspect, the base coat can be cured by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 410 °F. In a yet further aspect, the base coat can be cured by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 400 °F.

[0038] In an aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F, about 385 °F, about 390 °F, about 400 °F, about 405 °F, about 410 °F, about 415 °F, about 420 °F, about 425 °F, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values.

[0039] In an aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object to a temperature that is about 1 °F to about 40 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork. In a further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object to a temperature that is about 5 °F to about 20 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork. In a yet further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object to a temperature that is about 5 °F to about 15 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork. In a still further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object to a temperature that is about 5 °F to about 10 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork.

[0040] In an aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object to a temperature that is about 1 °F, about 2 °F, about 3 °F, about 4 °F, about 5 °F, about 6 °F, about 7 °F, about 8 °F, about 9 °F, about 10 °F, about 15 °F, about 20 °F, about 25°F, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values, greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork.

[0041] In an aspect, the base coat is cured at a disclosed temperature for about 5 minutes to about 15 minutes. In a further aspect, the base coat is heated at a disclosed temperature for about 6 minutes to about 1 1 minutes. In a still further aspect, the base coat is cured at a disclosed temperature for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes.

[0042] In an aspect, the base coat is cured at a disclosed temperature for about 5 minutes, about 6 minutes, about 7 minutes, about 8 minutes, about 9 minutes, about 10 minutes, about 1 1 minutes, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values.

[0043] In an aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 450 °F for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes. In a further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 420 °F for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes. In a still further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 410 °F for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes. In a yet further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 400 °F for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes.

[0044] In an aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 450 °F for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes. In a further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 420 °F for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes. In a still further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 410 °F for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes. In a yet further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 400 °F for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes.

[0045] In an aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature about 1 °F to about 30 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes. In a further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature about 5 °F to about 20 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes. In a still further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature about 5 °F to about 15 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes. In a yet further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon at a temperature about 5 °F to about 10 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes.

[0046] In an aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon for about 6 minutes to about 15 minutes at a temperature about 5 °F, at about 10 °F, at about 15 °F, about 20 °F, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values, greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork.

[0047] In various aspects, the heating step to cure the base coat is carried out in an oven. In a further aspect, heating is carried out in the oven at ambient pressure. In a further aspect, heating is carried out in the conventional oven at a reduced pressure or partial vacuum.

[0048] It is understood that to cure the base coat by heating the metal object at a given temperature can mean, in some aspects, that the metal object itself is at the given temperature, e.g., heating the metal object at 380-450 °F can mean, in some aspects, that the metal object itself is essential at 380-450 °F. Alternatively, in some aspects, it is understood that to cure the base coat by heating the metal object at a given temperature can mean, in some aspects, that the metal object is placed in an environment with the given temperature, e.g., heating the metal object at 380-450 °F can mean, in some aspects, that the metal object is placed in an environment that is at 380-450 °F. For example, with reference to the preceding sentence, that to cure the base coat, the metal object can be placed in an oven that has been preheated to the given temperature, such as an oven preheated to 380-450 °F. [0049] In an aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon for about 6 minutes to about 1 1 minutes at a temperature of about 380-450 °F. In a further aspect, the base coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a base coat thereon for about 6 minutes to about 1 1 minutes in an oven pre-heated to a temperature of about 380- 450 °F.

[0050] In an aspect, the disclosed method comprises applying a top coat to a metal object by electrostatic deposition methods using an electrostatic gun. In some aspects, a top coat is applied to a surface of the metal object. In some aspects, the top coat is applied to a base coat that has been previously applied to a surface of the metal object. In some aspects, the base coat is omitted and a top coat is applied directly to a surface of the metal object.

[0051] In an aspect, the top coat has a thickness of about 0.5 mils to about 3.0 mils. It is understood that "mils," as used herein, refers to a unit of length equal to 0.001 of an inch (0.0254 mm). In a further aspect, the top coat thickness is about 0.5 mils to about 1 .5 mils. In a still further aspect, the top coat thickness is about 1 .0 mils to about 2.5 mils. In a yet further aspect, the top coat thickness is about 1 .0 mils to about 2.0 mils. In an even further aspect, the top coat thickness is about 0.5 mils to about 2.0 mils.

[0052] In various aspects, the top coat has a thickness of about 0.5 mils, about 0.6 mils, about 0.7 mils, about 0.8 mils, about 0.9 mils, about 1 .0 mils, about 1 .1 mils, about 1 .2 mils, about 1 .3 mils, about 1 .4 mils, about 1 .5 mils, about 1 .6 mils, about 1 .7 mils, about 1 .8 mils, about 1 .9 mils, about 2.0 mils, about 2.1 mils, about 2.2 mils, about 2.3 mils, about 2.4 mils, about 2.5 mils, about 2.6 mils, about 2.7 mils, about 2.8 mils, about 2.9 mils, about 3.0 mils, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values.

[0053] In an aspect, the top coat can comprise a polymeric resin such as a thermoplastic resin or a thermosetting resin. In an aspect, the top coat comprises a thermosetting resin such as a polyester resin, a triglycidyl isocyanate polyester urethane resin, an epoxy resin, an epoxy/polyester hybrid resin, a polyester urethane resin, an acrylic resin, or combinations thereof. In a further aspect, the top coat comprises a polyester resin. In a yet further aspect, the top coat comprises a triglycidyl isocyanate polyester urethane resin.

[0054] In an aspect, the top coat is clear, e.g., does not have an intrinsic color or hue associated with it upon application. Accordingly, the top coat allows underlying colors to be visualized with minimal color blocking or distortion. In a further aspect, the top coat can have a full gloss, semi-gloss, matte, or flat finish. In a still further aspect, the clear coating provided has a matte finish, e.g., zero (0%) sheen. In a still further aspect, the clear coating has a glossy finish.

[0055] In a further aspect, the top coat further comprises one or more of a curing agent, a leveling agent, an ultraviolet absorbing agent, an anti-pinhole agent, and an anti-cratering agent.

[0056] Exemplary top coats are commercially available from a variety of manufacturers. Among such exemplary top coats are Matte Clear Polyester S5709012, Semi-Gloss Clear Polyester S5759013, and Gloss Clear S1799014 (Columbia Coatings, Inc., Columbia, Tennessee).

[0057] In an aspect, the top coat is cured following electrostatic deposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon to a temperature sufficient to initiate flow-out of the powder coating and that is also greater than the temperature used during the sublimation step. In various aspects, the top coat is cured for a time minimally necessary to effect flow-out of the powder coating such that the surface has a uniform surface, e.g., a uniform raised or matte finished texture but not long enough to fully cure the top coat. The uniformity of the surface can be assessed via visual inspection. Alternatively, the surface texture by various methods known to the skilled artisan to assess one or more of lay, surface roughness, and waviness. For example, such methods include contact methods, e.g., use of a profilometer, or non-contact methods, e.g., interforemetry, confocal microscopy, focus variation, structured light, electrical capacitance, and electron microscopy methods.

[0058] In an aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 450 °F. In a further aspect, the curing of the top coat is carried by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 420 °F. In a still further aspect, the curing of the top coat is carried by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 410 °F. In a yet further aspect, the curing of the top coat is carried by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 400 °F.

[0059] In an aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 450 °F. In a further aspect, the top coat can be cured by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 420 °F. In a still further aspect, the top coat can be cured by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 410 °F. In a yet further aspect, the top coat can be cured by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 400 °F.

[0060] In an aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F, about 385 °F, about 390 °F, about 400 °F, about 405 °F, about 410 °F, about 415 °F, about 420 °F, about 425 °F, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values.

[0061] In an aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object to a temperature that is about 1 °F to about 40 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork. In a further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object to a temperature that is about 5 °F to about 20 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork. In a yet further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object to a temperature that is about 5 °F to about 15 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork. In a still further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object to a temperature that is about 5 °F to about 10 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork. [0062] In an aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object to a temperature that is about 1 °F, about 2 °F, about 3 °F, about 4 °F, about 5 °F, about 6 °F, about 7 °F, about 8 °F, about 9 °F, about 10 °F, about 15 °F, about 20 °F, about 25°F, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values, greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork.

[0063] In an aspect, the top coat is cured at a disclosed temperature for about 5 minutes to about 45 minutes. In a further aspect, the top coat is cured at a disclosed temperature for about 10 minutes to about 35 minutes. In a still further aspect, the top coat is cured at a disclosed temperature for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes. In a further aspect, the top coat is cured at a disclosed temperature for about 10 minutes to about 30 minutes. In a still further aspect, the top coat is cured at a disclosed temperature for about 15 minutes to about 30 minutes.

[0064] In an aspect, the top coat is cured at a disclosed temperature for about 10 minutes, about 1 1 minutes, about 12 minutes, about 13 minutes, about 14 minutes, about 15 minutes, about 16 minutes, about 17 minutes, about 18 minutes, about 19 minutes, about 20 minutes, about 21 minutes, about 22 minutes, about 23 minutes, about 24 minutes, about 25 minutes, about 26 minutes, about 27 minutes, about 28 minutes, about 29 minutes, about 30 minutes, about 31 minutes, about 32 minutes, about 33 minutes, about 34 minutes, about 35 minutes, about 36 minutes, about 37 minutes, about 38 minutes, about 39 minutes, about 40 minutes, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values.

[0065] In an aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 450 °F for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes. In a further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 420 °F for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes. In a still further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 410 °F for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes. In a yet further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 380 °F to about 400 °F for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes.

[0066] In an aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 450 °F for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes. In a further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 420 °F for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes. In a still further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 410 °F for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes. In a yet further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 400 °F for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes.

[0067] In an aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature about 1 °F to about 30 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes. In a further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature about 5 °F to about 20 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes. In a still further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature about 5 °F to about 15 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes. In a yet further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon at a temperature about 5 °F to about 10 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes. [0068] In an aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes at a temperature about 5 °F, at about 10 °F, at about 15 °F, about 20 °F, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values, greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork.

[0069] In various aspects, the heating step to cure the top coat is carried out in an oven. In a further aspect, heating is carried out in the oven at ambient pressure. In a further aspect, heating is carried out in the conventional oven at a reduced pressure or partial vacuum.

[0070] It is understood that to cure the top coat by heating the metal object at a given temperature can mean, in some aspects, that the metal object itself is at the given temperature, e.g., heating the metal object at 380-450 °F can mean, in some aspects, that the metal object itself is essential at 380-450 °F. Alternatively, in some aspects, it is understood that to cure the top coat by heating the metal object at a given temperature can mean, in some aspects, that the metal object is placed in an environment with the given temperature, e.g., heating the metal object at 380-450 °F can mean, in some aspects, that the metal object is placed in an environment that is at 380-450 °F. For example, with reference to the preceding sentence, that to cure the top coat, the metal object can be placed in an oven that has been preheated to the given temperature, such as an oven preheated to 380-450 °F.

[0071] In an aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon for about 5 minutes to about 35 minutes at a temperature of about 380-450 °F. In a further aspect, the top coat is cured following electrodeposition on a surface of the metal object by heating the metal object with a top coat thereon for about 5 minutes to about 35 minutes in an oven pre-heated to a temperature of about 380-450 °F.

[0072] In an aspect, the metal object is cooled after curing the top coat as described herein. In some aspects, the metal object is cooled to room temperature after curing the top coat. In a further aspect, the metal object is cooled to a temperature of about 55 °F to about 85 °F after curing the top coat. Cooling of the metal object after curing the top coat can be accomplished passively, e.g., removing the metal object from a heating environment, such as a oven, and placing into an environment at a cooler temperature, e.g., in an environment at room temperature or an environment with a temperature of about 55 °F to about 85 °F.

[0073] In an aspect, the cooling of the metal object after curing the top coat can be accomplished actively, removing the metal object from a heating environment, such as an oven, and placing into an environment with an actively chilled or climate- controlled environment. In some aspects, the actively chilled or climate-controlled environment has a temperature of about 35 °F to about 60 °F.

[0074] In some aspects, the cooling of the metal object after curing the top coat is carried out for a period of time sufficient to reach room temperature or to reach a temperature of about 55 °F to about 85 °F. In a further aspect, the period of time required to cool the metal object after curing the top coat is from about 10 minutes to about 45 minutes.

[0075] In an aspect, the disclosed method comprises sublimation of artwork on a top coat. Briefly, the desired artwork is printed on a sublimation transfer sheet, e.g., a sublimation transfer paper, by a printing technique, e.g., ink jet printing, using a sublimable ink or dye. The sublimation transfer sheet with the artwork printed thereon on placed in intimate contact with at least one surface of a metal object comprising a top coat as disclosed herein. The sublimation transfer sheet can be held in place and in contact with the metal object using a suitable adhesive tape, e.g., one that will not burn upon heating at the sublimation temperature or cause discoloration of the top coat.

[0076] The sublimation transfer sheet, which is in intimate contact with the metal object, is heated. Heating can be carried out by a variety of methods such as contacting the sublimation transfer sheet with a heat press. Typically, a heat press is a machine engineered to imprint artwork or graphic on a substrate, such as a t-shirt or object, such as a metal object, via the application of heat at a defined or controllable temperature with a defined or controllable pressure for a desired period of time. Other heating methods can be used as known to one skilled in the art.

[0077] In an aspect, the sublimation transfer paper is heated with a heat press that has been pre-heated to a temperature of about 360 °F to about 420 °F for a time of about 30 seconds to about 150 seconds at a pressure of about 20 psi to about 80 psi. In a further aspect, the sublimation transfer paper is heated with a heat press that has been pre-heated to a temperature of about 380 °F to about 410 °F for a time of about 40 seconds to about 1 10 seconds at a pressure of about 30 psi to about 50 psi.

[0078] In an aspect, the sublimation transfer paper is heated with a heat press at a desired temperature and pressure, as disclosed herein, for about 30 seconds, about 35 seconds, about 40 seconds, about 45 seconds, about 50 seconds, about 55 seconds, about 60 seconds, about 65 seconds, about 70 seconds, about 75 seconds, about 80 seconds, about 85 seconds, about 90 seconds, about 95 seconds, about 100 seconds, about 105 seconds, about 1 10 seconds, about 1 15 seconds, about 120 seconds, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values.

[0079] In an aspect, the sublimation transfer paper is heated with a heat press at for a desired period of time and pressure, as disclosed herein, at a temperature of about 360 °F, about 365 °F, about 370 °F, about 375 °F, about 380 °F, about 385 °F, about 390 °F, about 400 °F, about 405 °F, about 410 °F, about 415 °F, about 420 °F, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values.

[0080] In an aspect, the sublimation transfer paper is heated with a heat press at for a desired period of temperature and time, as disclosed herein, at a pressure of about 10 psi, about 15 psi, about 20 psi, about 25 psi, about 30 psi, about 35 psi, about 40 psi, about 45 psi, about 50 psi, about 55 psi, about 60 psi, about 65 psi, about 70 psi, about 75 psi, or any range or any combination of the foregoing values. In various aspects, it is understood that the sublimation transfer paper is heated with a heat press at for a desired period of temperature and time, as disclosed herein, at a medium pressure. As used herein, "medium pressure" means a pressure from about 25 psi to about 70 psi.

[0081] In an aspect, the sublimation transfer paper is heated with a heat press at for a desired period of temperature and time, as disclosed herein, at a pressure from about 25 psi to about 70 psi. In a further aspect, the sublimation transfer paper is heated with a heat press at for a desired period of temperature and time, as disclosed herein, at a pressure from about 25 psi to about 60 psi. In a still further aspect, the sublimation transfer paper is heated with a heat press at for a desired period of temperature and time, as disclosed herein, at a pressure from about 35 psi to about 55 psi. In a yet further aspect, the sublimation transfer paper is heated with a heat press at for a desired period of temperature and time, as disclosed herein, at a pressure from about 45 psi to about 60 psi. In an even further aspect, the sublimation transfer paper is heated with a heat press at for a desired period of temperature and time, as disclosed herein, at a pressure from about 40 psi to about 50 psi.

[0082] It is understood in the art that a sublimable ink comprises a colorant (e.g., sublimable dye) and a carrier. The carrier is formulated such that a sublimable dye can be applied to or printed onto the sublimation transfer paper. A sublimable dye can be provided so that it resists transfer under normal handling conditions at room temperature. Once a transfer temperature is achieved, the sublimable dye can transfer to the sublimation printing substrate, i.e., a surface of a metal object comprising a top coat.

[0083] A variety of sublimable inks useful in the disclosed methods are readily available from manufacturers, and can be selected by the skilled artisan based on desired cost parameters, specific sublimation transfer paper that is printed upon, color selection and availability, environmental wear characteristics and the like. In some aspects, the sublimable ink is a water-based ink. Alternatively, the sublimable ink used is a solvent-based ink.

[0084] An exemplary family of water-based sublimable inks useful in the disclosed methods are SubliM Intense® Sublimation Ink manufactured by Sawgrass Industrial (Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee), which are available in black, cyan, magenta, and yellow from various distributors (e.g., from Conde Systems, Inc., Mobile, Alabama, as item nos. BC5344-BK, BC5344-C, BC5344-M, and BC5344-Y, respectively). Other suitable inks that can be used in the disclosed methods include the SubliJet® family of inks (Sawgrass Technologies, Charleston, South Carolina).

[0085] In a particular aspect, a sublimation transfer sheet is a paper-based sheet which is referred to herein as a "sublimation transfer paper." Sublimation transfer papers can comprise a variety of fibers, e.g., natural fiber, synthetic fiber, or a mixture of natural fiber and synthetic fiber. A natural fiber is a fiber formed from a plant or animal source. Exemplary natural fibers that can be used to form the a sublimation transfer paper include wood fibers and non-wood natural fibers such as vegetable fibers, cotton, various straws such as wheat and rye, various canes such as bagasse and kenaf, silk, an animal fiber such as wool, grasses such as bamboo, hemp, corn stalks, abaca, eucalyptus, and others. Exemplary synthetic fibers that can be used to manufacture a sublimation transfer paper include polyacrylic fiber, polyethylene fiber, polypropylene fiber, polylactide fiber, rayon, and nylon fiber.

[0086] The sublimation transfer paper can be provided having a weight that enables the sublimation transfer paper to be processed through printing equipment and utilized for sublimation printing, and that facilitates drying of the ink (e.g., separation of the carrier from the dye). For example, the paper substrate can be provided having a weight of about 20 lb/3,000 ft2 to about 200 lb/3,000 ft2, and can have a weight of about 30 lb/3,000 ft2 to about 120 lb/3,000 ft2. The weight of the paper substrate can be referred to as a basis weight. An additional exemplary basis weight range for the paper substrate can be about 55 lb/3,000 ft2 to about 85 lb/3,000 ft2.

[0087] One aspect of the disclosure, among others, is a method for applying artwork to a metal object, comprising: applying a polyester powder coating to the metal object; heating the metal object in at about 380 °F to about 450 °F; allowing the metal object to cool to about 65 °F to about 75 °F; placing a sublimation transfer paper comprising artwork on a surface of the metal object; heating the sublimation transfer paper comprising the artwork at about 360 °F to about 420 °F for a period of about 40 seconds to about 120 seconds.

[0088] A further aspect of the disclosure is a method comprising: applying a powder coating to the metal object; heating the metal object at about 380 °F to about 450 °F; allowing the metal object to cool to about 65 °F to about 75 °F; placing a sublimation transfer paper comprising artwork on a surface of the metal object; heating the sublimation transfer paper comprising the artwork at about 360 °F to about 420 °F for a period of about 40 seconds to about 120 seconds. [0089] A further aspect of the disclosure is a method comprising: applying a powder coating to the metal object; heating the metal object in an oven at about 380 °F to about 450 °F; allowing the metal object to cool for a period of about 5 to about 35 minutes; printing a sublimated artwork on paper; and heating and pressing the paper against the metal object in a heat press set at about 360 to about 420 °F for a period of about 40 to about 120 seconds.

[0090] A further aspect of the disclosure is a method comprising: applying a polyester powder coating to the metal object; heating the metal object in an oven at about 380 °F to about 450 °F; allowing the metal object to cool to about 65 °F to about 75 °F; placing a sublimation transfer paper comprising artwork on a powder coated surface of the metal object; heating the sublimation transfer paper comprising the artwork at about 360 °F to about 420 °F for a period of about 40 seconds to about 120 seconds.

[0091] A further aspect of the disclosure is a method comprising: applying a polyester powder coating to the metal object; heating the metal object in an oven at about 380 °F to about 450 °F; allowing the metal object to cool for a period of about 5 to about 35 minutes; printing a sublimated artwork on paper; and heating and pressing the paper against a powder coated surface of the metal object using a heat press set at about 360 to about 420 °F for a period of about 40 to about 120 seconds.

[0092] An aspect of the disclosure, among others, is a method of applying artwork to a stainless steel object comprising: applying a polyester powder coating to the stainless steel object; heating the stainless steel object in an oven at about 380 °F to about 450 °F; allowing the stainless steel object to cool to about 65 °F to about 75 °F; placing a sublimation transfer paper comprising artwork on a surface of the stainless steel object; heating the sublimation transfer paper comprising the artwork at about 360 °F to about 420 °F for a period of about 40 seconds to about 120 seconds.

[0093] A further aspect of the disclosure is a method of applying artwork to a stainless steel object comprising: applying a polyester powder coating to the stainless steel object; heating the stainless steel object in an oven for about 380 °F to about 450 °F; allowing the stainless steel object to cool for a period of about 5 minutes to about 35 minutes; printing a sublimated artwork on paper; and heating and pressing the paper against the stainless steel object in a heat press set at about 360 to about 420 °F for a period of about 40 seconds to about 120 seconds.

[0094] A further aspect of the disclosure is a method for applying artwork to a stainless steel object, comprising: applying a polyester powder coating to the stainless steel object; heating the object in an oven for about 380-450 degrees F and allowing the object to cool for a period of about 5-35 minutes; printing a sublimated artwork on paper; arranging the paper on the object; and heating and pressing the paper against the object in a heat press set at about 360-420 degrees F for a period of about 40-120 seconds.

[0095] An aspect of the disclosure, among others, is a method for applying artwork to a metal object, comprising: applying a top coating to at least one surface of the metal object; heating the metal object at a temperature about 5 °F to about 20 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork for about 5 minutes to about 45 minutes; placing a sublimated artwork onto at least one powder coated surface of the metal object; wherein the sublimated artwork is in intimate contact with the powder coated surface of the metal object; and heating the sublimated artwork at about 360 °F to about 420 °F for about 30 seconds to about 150 seconds.

[0096] A further aspect of the disclosure is a method for applying artwork to a metal object, comprising: applying a top coating to at least one surface of the metal object; wherein the top coating comprises a thermoplastic polyester resin; heating the metal object at about 390 °F to about 410 °F for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes; cooling the metal object to a temperature of about 55 °F to about 85 °F over a period of about 10 minutes to about 45 minutes; placing a sublimated artwork onto at least one powder coated surface of the metal object; wherein the sublimated artwork is in intimate contact with the powder coated surface of the metal object; and heating the sublimated artwork at about 385 °F to about 395 °F for about 45 seconds to about 120 seconds.

[0097] One aspect, among others, of the disclosure is an article, such as an apparatus, object, or product, manufactured by the disclosed methods. In a further aspect, among others, the disclosed article comprises artwork on at least one surface of the article, wherein the artwork has provided by a disclosed method. In various aspects, the disclosure pertains to a product manufactured by a disclosed method. In some aspects, the article is a vacuum-insulated double walled metal vessel such as a cooler, a thermo, tumbler, mug or cup. In some aspects, the article is a vacuum-insulated double walled stainless steel vessel such as a cooler, a thermo, tumbler, mug or cup.

[0098] Other methods, apparatus, products, aspects, features, and advantages of the present disclosure will be or become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the detailed description. It is intended that all such additional methods, apparatus, products, aspects, features, and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the present disclosure, and be protected by the accompanying claims.

EXAMPLES

[0099] The following examples are put forth so as to provide those of ordinary skill in the art with a complete disclosure and description of how the methods and articles claimed herein are made and evaluated, and are intended to be purely exemplary of the disclosure and are not intended to limit the scope of what the inventors regard as their disclosure. Efforts have been made to ensure accuracy with respect to numbers (e.g., amounts, temperature, etc.), but some errors and deviations should be accounted for. Unless indicated otherwise, parts are parts by weight, temperature is in "Fahrenheit, and pressure is at or near atmospheric.

[00100] Example 1 . A stainless steel tumbler was powder coated with a polyester coating using Matte Clear Polyester S5709012 (Columbia Coatings, Inc., Columbia, Tennessee) according to manufacturer's recommended method. After powder coating, the tumber was placed for 29 minutes into an oven which was preheated to 400 °F. The tumbler was removed from the oven and allowed to cool to room temperature (approximately 70 °F) over a period of about 15 minutes.

[00101 ] Artwork was printed onto sublimation transfer paper EM# 1 B7W6A02201 1 NMD (Conde Systems Inc., Mobile, Alabama) using sublimation inks SubliM Intense® Dye Transfer Sublimation Inks Cyan, Magenta, Black, and Yellow (Sawgrass Indutrial, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee; distributed through Conde Systems, Inc. as item numbers ABC5344-C, BAC5344-M, BC5344-BK, and BC5344-Y, respectively) using an inkjet printer, Virtuoso SG800 Sublimation Printer (Sawgrass Technologies, Inc., Charleston, South Carolina). The sublimation transfer paper comprising the printed artwork was placed on the surface of the stainless steel tumbler and held in place using adhesive tape. The placement of the sublimation paper is such that substantially continuous intimate contact occurs between the surface of the sublimation paper and the surface of the stainless steel tumbler.

[00102] A heat press was pre-heated to 385 °F. The stainless steel tumbler in contact with the sublimation paper comprising the printed artwork was placed in a heat press for 45 seconds at medium pressure (about 40-50 psi). The stainless steel tumber was allowed to cool and the sublimation paper was removed.

[00103] In this example, the polyester coating retained the desired clarity with no discoloration thereof. Moreover, the artwork was transferred with the desired color intensity to the stainless steel tumbler with the desired level of adherence of the artwork thereto.

[00104] Example 2. A stainless steel tumbler was powder coated with a polyester coating using Matte Clear Polyester S5709012 (Columbia Coatings, Inc., Columbia, Tennessee) according to manufacturer's recommended method. After powder coating, the tumber was placed for 36 minutes into an oven which was preheated to 400 °F. The tumbler was removed from the oven and allowed to cool to room temperature (approximately 70 °F) over a period of about 15 minutes.

[00105] Artwork was printed onto sublimation transfer paper EM# 1 B7W6A02201 1 NMD (Conde Systems Inc., Mobile, Alabama) using sublimation inks SubliM Intense® Dye Transfer Sublimation Inks Cyan, Magenta, Black, and Yellow (Sawgrass Indutrial, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee; distributed through Conde Systems, Inc. as item numbers ABC5344-C, BAC5344-M, BC5344-BK, and BC5344-Y, respectively) using a Virtuoso SG800 Sublimation Printer (Sawgrass Technologies, Inc., Charleston, South Carolina). The sublimation transfer paper comprising the printed artwork was placed on the surface of the stainless steel tumbler and held in place using adhesive tape. The placement of the sublimation paper is such that substantially continuous intimate contact occurs between the surface of the sublimation paper and the surface of the stainless steel tumbler.

[00106] A heat press was pre-heated to 385 °F. The stainless steel tumbler in contact with the sublimation paper comprising the printed artwork was placed in a heat press for 45 seconds at medium pressure (about 40-50 psi). The stainless steel tumber was allowed to cool and the sublimation paper was removed.

[00107] In this example, the polyester coating was scorched with a bronze-colored discoloration of the surface.

[00108] Example 3. A stainless steel tumbler was powder coated with a polyester coating using Matte Clear Polyester S5709012 (Columbia Coatings, Inc., Columbia, Tennessee) according to manufacturer's recommended method. After powder coating, the tumber was placed for 16 minutes into an oven which was preheated 400 °F. The tumbler was removed from the oven and allowed to cool to room temperature (approximately 70 °F) over a period of about 15 minutes.

[00109] Artwork was printed onto sublimation transfer paper EM# 1 B7W6A02201 1 NMD (Conde Systems Inc., Mobile, Alabama) using sublimation inks SubliM Intense® Dye Transfer Sublimation Inks Cyan, Magenta, Black, and Yellow (Sawgrass Indutrial, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee; distributed through Conde Systems, Inc. as item numbers ABC5344-C, BAC5344-M, BC5344-BK, and BC5344-Y, respectively) using a Virtuoso SG800 Sublimation Printer (Sawgrass Technologies, Inc., Charleston, South Carolina). The sublimation transfer paper comprising the printed artwork was placed on the surface of the stainless steel tumbler and held in place using adhesive tape. The placement of the sublimation paper is such that substantially continuous intimate contact occurs between the surface of the sublimation paper and the surface of the stainless steel tumbler.

[00110] A heat press was pre-heated to 385 °F. The stainless steel tumbler in contact with the sublimation paper comprising the printed artwork was placed in a heat press for 45 seconds at medium pressure (about 40-50 psi). The stainless steel tumber was allowed to cool and the sublimation paper was removed. [00111] In this example, the polyester coating retained the desired clarity with no discoloration thereof. However, there was minimal transfer of the artwork to the stainless steel tumbler.

[00112] Example 4. A stainless steel tumbler was powder coated with a polyester coating using Matte Clear Polyester S5709012 (Columbia Coatings, Inc., Columbia, Tennessee) according to manufacturer's recommended method. After powder coating, the tumber was placed for 12 minutes into an oven which was preheated 400 °F. The tumbler was removed from the oven and allowed to cool to room temperature (approximately 70 °F) over a period of about 15 minutes.

[00113] Artwork was printed onto sublimation transfer paper EM# 1 B7W6A02201 1 NMD (Conde Systems Inc., Mobile, Alabama) using sublimation inks SubliM Intense® Dye Transfer Sublimation Inks Cyan, Magenta, Black, and Yellow (Sawgrass Indutrial, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee; distributed through Conde Systems, Inc. as item numbers ABC5344-C, BAC5344-M, BC5344-BK, and BC5344-Y, respectively) using a Virtuoso SG800 Sublimation Printer (Sawgrass Technologies, Inc., Charleston, South Carolina). The sublimation transfer paper comprising the printed artwork was placed on the surface of the stainless steel tumbler and held in place using adhesive tape. The placement of the sublimation paper is such that substantially continuous intimate contact occurs between the surface of the sublimation paper and the surface of the stainless steel tumbler.

[00114] A heat press was pre-heated to 385 °F. The stainless steel tumbler in contact with the sublimation paper comprising the printed artwork was placed in a heat press for 75 seconds at medium pressure (about 40-50 psi). The stainless steel tumber was allowed to cool and the sublimation paper was removed.

[00115] In this example, the polyester coating retained the desired clarity with no discoloration thereof. Moreover, the logo artwork was transferred with the desired color intensity to the stainless steel tumbler with the desired level of adherence of the artwork thereto.

[00116] Example 5. A stainless steel tumbler was powder coated with a polyester coating using Matte Clear Polyester S5709012 (Columbia Coatings, Inc., Columbia, Tennessee) according to manufacturer's recommended method. After powder coating, the tumber was placed for 25 minutes into an oven which was preheated 410 °F. The tumbler was removed from the oven and allowed to cool to room temperature (approximately 70 °F) over a period of about 15 minutes.

[00117] Artwork was printed onto sublimation transfer paper EM# 1 B7W6A02201 1 NMD (Conde Systems Inc., Mobile, Alabama) using sublimation inks SubliM Intense® Dye Transfer Sublimation Inks Cyan, Magenta, Black, and Yellow (Sawgrass Indutrial, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee; distributed through Conde Systems, Inc. as item numbers ABC5344-C, BAC5344-M, BC5344-BK, and BC5344-Y, respectively) using a Virtuoso SG800 Sublimation Printer (Sawgrass Technologies, Inc., Charleston, South Carolina). The sublimation transfer paper comprising the printed artwork was placed on the surface of the stainless steel tumbler and held in place using adhesive tape. The placement of the sublimation paper is such that substantially continuous intimate contact occurs between the surface of the sublimation paper and the surface of the stainless steel tumbler.

[00118] A heat press was pre-heated to 385 °F. The stainless steel tumbler in contact with the sublimation paper comprising the printed artwork was placed in a heat press for 100 seconds at medium pressure (about 40-50 psi). The stainless steel tumber was allowed to cool and the sublimation paper was removed.

[00119] In this example, the polyester coating retained the desired clarity with no discoloration thereof. Moreover, the logo artwork was transferred with the desired color intensity to the stainless steel tumbler with the desired level of adherence of the artwork thereto.

[00120] Example 6. A stainless steel tumbler was powder coated with a polyester coating using Matte Clear Polyester S5709012 (Columbia Coatings, Inc., Columbia, Tennessee) according to manufacturer's recommended method. After powder coating, the tumber was placed for 30 minutes into an oven which was preheated 390 °F. The tumbler was removed from the oven and allowed to cool to room temperature (approximately 70 °F) over a period of about 15 minutes.

[00121] Artwork was printed onto sublimation transfer paper EM# 1 B7W6A02201 1 NMD (Conde Systems Inc., Mobile, Alabama) using sublimation inks SubliM Intense® Dye Transfer Sublimation Inks Cyan, Magenta, Black, and Yellow (Sawgrass Indutrial, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee; distributed through Conde Systems, Inc. as item numbers ABC5344-C, BAC5344-M, BC5344-BK, and BC5344-Y, respectively) using a Virtuoso SG800 Sublimation Printer (Sawgrass Technologies, Inc., Charleston, South Carolina). The sublimation transfer paper comprising the printed artwork was placed on the surface of the stainless steel tumbler and held in place using adhesive tape. The placement of the sublimation paper is such that substantially continuous intimate contact occurs between the surface of the sublimation paper and the surface of the stainless steel tumbler.

[00122] A heat press was pre-heated to 395 °F. The stainless steel tumbler in contact with the sublimation paper comprising the printed artwork was placed in a heat press for 60 seconds at medium pressure (about 40-50 psi). The stainless steel tumber was allowed to cool and the sublimation paper was removed.

[00123] In this example, the polyester coating retained the desired clarity with no discoloration thereof. Moreover, the logo artwork was transferred with the desired color intensity to the stainless steel tumbler with the desired level of adherence of the artwork thereto.

It should be emphasized that the above-described aspects of the present disclosure, particularly, any "preferred" aspects or aspects, are merely possible nonlimiting examples of implementations, merely set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the disclosure. Many variations and modifications may be made to the above-described aspect(s) of the disclosure without departing substantially from the spirit and principles of the disclosure. All such modifications and variations are intended to be included herein within the scope of this disclosure and the present disclosure.

Claims

CLAIMS What is claimed is:
1 . A method for applying artwork to a metal object, comprising: applying a powder coating to at least one surface of the metal object; heating the metal object at about 380 °F to about 450 °F for about 5 minutes to about 45 minutes; placing a sublimated artwork onto at least one powder coated surface of the metal object; wherein the sublimated artwork is in intimate contact with the powder coated surface of the metal object; and heating the sublimated artwork at about 360 °F to about 420 °F for about 30 seconds to about 150 seconds.
2. The method of claim 1 , wherein the powder coating comprises a thermoplastic polyester resin.
3. The method of claim 1 , wherein the powder coating is a base coating.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein a top coating is applied on the base coating.
5. The method of claim 3, wherein the heating is at about 390 °F to about 410 °F.
6. The method of claim 3, wherein the heating is for about 6 minutes to about 10 minutes.
7. The method of claim 3, wherein the heating is in an oven.
8. The method of claim 1 , wherein the powder coating is a top coating.
9. The method of claim 8, wherein the heating is for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes.
10. The method of claim 8, wherein the heating is at about 390 °F to about 410 °F.
1 1 . The method of claim 8, wherein the heating is in an oven.
12. The method of claim 1 , further comprising the step allowing the metal object to cool for a period sufficient to reach room temperature before the sublimated artwork is placed in intimate contact with the powder coated surface of the metal object.
13. The method of claim 1 , wherein the heating of the sublimated artwork is at about 385 °F to about 395 °F for about 45 to about 120 seconds.
14. The method of claim 1 , wherein the heating of the sublimated artwork is carried out using a heat press, and wherein the heat press is applied with a force of about 25 psi to about 70 psi.
15. A product manufactured by the method of claim 1 .
16. A method for applying artwork to a metal object, comprising: applying a top coating to at least one surface of the metal object; heating the metal object at a temperature about 5 °F to about 20 °F greater than the temperature used for the sublimation of the artwork for about 5 minutes to about 45 minutes; placing a sublimated artwork onto at least one powder coated surface of the metal object; wherein the sublimated artwork is in intimate contact with the powder coated surface of the metal object; and heating the sublimated artwork at about 360 °F to about 420 °F for about 30 seconds to about 150 seconds.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein the top coating comprises a thermoplastic polyester resin.
18. The method of claim 16, wherein metal object with a top coating applied thereto is heat in an oven set at a temperature of about 390 °F to about 410 °F for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes.
19. The method of claim 16, wherein sublimated artwork is heat using a heat press set at a temperature of about 385 °F to about 395 °F.
20. A method for applying artwork to a metal object, comprising: applying a top coating to at least one surface of the metal object; wherein the top coating comprises a thermoplastic polyester resin; heating the metal object at about 390 °F to about 410 °F for about 15 minutes to about 35 minutes; cooling the metal object to a temperature of about 55 °F to about 85 °F over a period of about 10 minutes to about 45 minutes; placing a sublimated artwork onto at least one powder coated surface of the metal object; wherein the sublimated artwork is in intimate contact with the powder coated surface of the metal object; and heating the sublimated artwork at about 385 °F to about 395 °F for about 45 seconds to about 120 seconds.
PCT/US2017/033776 2016-06-23 2017-05-22 Method for applying artwork to metal objects and articles comprising same WO2017222712A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

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US62/353,646 2016-06-23

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Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20120175050A1 (en) * 2004-06-03 2012-07-12 Neely Richard A Glass Paneling With a Sublimated Image and Process For Making the Same
US8778461B1 (en) * 2009-07-15 2014-07-15 Grace Engineering Corp. Method for powder coating and decorative printing and related product
US20150158329A1 (en) * 2012-04-19 2015-06-11 Kohler Co. Decorated rigid panel
US20150265491A1 (en) * 2014-03-18 2015-09-24 Brandbumps, Llc Tactile warning surface mount panel for mounting on a preformed ground surface

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20120175050A1 (en) * 2004-06-03 2012-07-12 Neely Richard A Glass Paneling With a Sublimated Image and Process For Making the Same
US8778461B1 (en) * 2009-07-15 2014-07-15 Grace Engineering Corp. Method for powder coating and decorative printing and related product
US20150158329A1 (en) * 2012-04-19 2015-06-11 Kohler Co. Decorated rigid panel
US20150265491A1 (en) * 2014-03-18 2015-09-24 Brandbumps, Llc Tactile warning surface mount panel for mounting on a preformed ground surface

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