Dye-Sublimation: The New Era of Printing
Digital printing has slowly taken over traditional printing methods like screen-printing and more. The main reason for this shift towards a new generation printing technology is because of the flexibility newer; digital printing methods offer— designs are customizable, and machines are versatile. On top of this customizability, cost-efficiency is one other motivation for businesses opting for digital printing technology.
Dye-sublimation printing is in the center of all the new printing technology; it is a technique that makes use of heat sensitive inks which turn into gas upon the influence of heat and combine with the 100% polyester medium. The ink then becomes apart of the material itself, allowing printed images to remain crack-free and not lose vibrancy of its colors, even after multiple washes. Images printed through such printing technologies look much more realistic and have a better true-tone color matching as well.
How is dye-sublimation printing different?
The main difference between a dye-sublimation printer and an inkjet printer is that in the latter, colors are not put down as individual pixels or dots, which is true in the former. Such individual pixels can be distinguished when looked at from a close distance, making such images from inkjet printers look less like the ones on your computer or laptop. Rather, it merges with the material itself after permeating the surface of the solid through the gaseous state of the inks when under high heat.
What does it involve?
The technique uses a two-part process in printing: first, the image or design is printed onto a special transfer paper for sublimation for the inks. Then the ink on the transfer paper is transported to the item or material it is to be printed on using a heat press. The entire process of dye-sublimation printing requires a variety of quality materials for the best possible print. This includes a coated sublimation transfer paper for smooth absorption and transfer of ink, a well-equipped computer with the right software (depending on which printer is being used), a quality heat press that is best fit for your printing demands, a fitting cutting and sewing device each for proper finishing. Here at Altitude Color Technologies, we use Direct Disperse; direct to fabric without the use of a transfer sheet.
Why is it a game-changer?
Because dye-sublimation works by penetrating the surface of the material with ink, printing is possible even on artificial materials such as polyester, nylon and also certain plastics because they contain polymers which enable the bonding of ink when under the influence of high heat. From walls and pillows to booths and backdrops, dye-sublimation printing methods are useful for many purposes, including personal and commercial uses.
As competition grows for businesses, the promotional material becomes increasingly important for the presence of a new product, service or application. And dye-sublimation has its reach far and wide with dimensional graphics— printing on materials like aluminum, brass, fiberglass, and acrylic allows room for customized back-lit signs, hanging signs, storefronts, and display systems. On top of that, creating a high impact product placement and tradeshow signage in a short amount of time is no longer an impossible feat to conquer; dye-sublimation is best for such personalized printing for time-sensitive marketing campaigns.
Other applications include printing on various fabrics—both knit and woven materials work well with dye-sublimation printing—including sports and fashion apparel such as football tees and personalized handbags. Ceramics are another material that can be sublimated for customization; you can use these unique ceramic tiles or pieces for home kitchens, bathrooms, foyers and even offices. The list of materials doesn’t end here; these materials are listed for immediate printing with no additional steps, but there is still a pre-treatment option that allows an even wider reach of materials to be used for dye-sublimation printing.
Not only does it offer a larger variety of material to be printed on, there are a lot of advantages to dye-sublimation printing has over normal textile printing. Along with crack-free images and permanency of colors, with dye-sublimation methods, the dye will not build-up on the fabrics. Similarly, colors are more true to their original design, making dye-sublimated images look equivalent to high-quality photographs. And these images can be printed all over the material, with no difficulties in reaching edges or printing on difficult areas without ruining the design.
Because of such benefits, which includes the richer quality of images and designs, that come at such a low cost, dye-sublimation printing is becoming a lot more popular amongst companies looking to brand at a larger scale and is taking customized printing to another level.
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