Thermography Printing

thermography-example-of-thermographic-printingThermography is the process of spreading thermal powders on the wet ink of a print application and heating it in order to melt the powder into a single solid mass which is raised above the printed surface. It is also known as “imitation engraving”, however an engraving die is not needed with thermography. The process is faster than engraving and it is less expensive.


Thermography can add value to many ordinary print applications. Among the many applications that can benefit from thermography are letterheads, greeting cards, invitations, business cards, marketing applications, announcements, and envelopes. Thermography can make the appearance of many print applications more distinctive, providing a customized appearance that cannot be achieved with any other method.

Thermographic Process

thermography-example-of-thermographic-printing-002Thermography is successful when the powdered resins are applied to a printed surface on which the printing ink is still wet. This enables the powder to stick to the printed areas. Any powder on non-image areas and any excess powder on the image areas is suctioned off the substrate before the heating takes place.

The heat is produced with electric heating elements that are placed inside an oven or tunnel. The powdered substrate passes into the heat tunnel where the powder melts onto the heated substrate and is fused with the wet ink. The substrate must be raised to the temperature of the melting point of the powder in order for the process to work correctly. When the heating process is complete, the sheet is cooled and the melted powder hardens into the raised thermographic image.