Sublimation and Transfer Printing
Digital printing is taking the place of conventional techniques used in different spots of the graphics industry. Various reasons account for this change but the main drivers are the lower costs, personalised prints and the flexibility of these machines.
Story isn’t much different in textile printing business. Traditional screen-printing is replaced by digital textile printing solutions like sublimation printing for lower production amounts and prints that require different colours and photographic imagery. The digital alternatives are ideal for the personalisation of prints, which is extremely popular nowadays.
Sublimation printing is a technique that uses heat sensitive inks. These inks evaporate under the influence of heat and combine with fully polyester fabric. Since the ink becomes part of the structure of the material, the images on the fabric neither fade nor crack – even after multiple washings.
What is in it for me?
Different items can created using sublimated textiles; flags, displays, sportswear, fashion, interior decoration and whatnot.
1- Printer and Ink
A high-quality printer equipped with sublimation inks is essential. . The printers are available with in four (CMYK) or eight colours (CMYK, Lc, Lm, Or and Vi). These inks have many colour-giving elements and are highly concentrated, which is necessary to create beautiful, vivid and crisp images.
Specific software to control your printer and to manage your print jobs is essential. Although there are several different brands for different machines and needs, only your printer supplier can tell you which one is the best fit for your needs.
3- Sublimation Paper
To create high-quality sublimation prints, you need a transfer paper that has high ink absorption and dries quickly. The paper needs to stay flat and may not wave after printing. It is also important that the paper releases the ink when heating.
Printing is only the first step of the dye sublimation process. For sublimation to take place, you need heat and pressure. Heat presses come in a variation of sizes and shapes, but you need a calender for roll-to-roll sublimation.
When choosing a textile for sublimation printing, it is important that you take a 100% polyester fabric that is pre-shrunk. This avoids shrinking when heat is applied.
6- Protection paper
If you use a calender, you also need a protection paper that ensures optimal transfer of the ink onto the textile during the sublimation process and that protects the belt of your calender against ink.