Sublimation printing is nothing new. However, it plays an important role in the life of print shops and other companies that deal with printing. This type of printing is one of the popular processes in the printing industry because the sublimation process is a digital transfer printing technology that actually offers the most perfect quality!
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It’s about a printing process in which a material (generally fabric) is sublimate with various graphic motifs. The technology consists of 5 basic pillars: inkjet printer, heat press, sublimation ink, sublimation paper and the desire printing surface. A special heat-sensitive ink is use to print the special film. Thanks to sufficient warmth (from. 150 °) the color can diffuse with the fabric. The graphics are hot-press using a heat press at 190-200 ° C for 60 seconds at a pressure of about 5 to 6 bar. When sublimation develops, the water-base ink on the paper begins to evaporate under the influence of heat. With the help of the pressure, the steam can only move in one direction and very concentrate, this gives a suitable borderline. The print surface that is create with sublimation printing remains just as bright and smooth as the unprint. The ink molecules will form a structural part of the print object, making the print permanent.
ADVANTAGES OF SUBLIMATION PRINTING
- the graphic motifs are continuous;
- no color gathers on the base fabric, the fabric remains smooth;
- the colors are extremely vivid and true to life;
- true color tones can be achieve without the use of digital post-processing or special techniques;
- the printing surface is completely cover, no margins are left;
- Since the sublimation dye is not only on the surface of the base material, but also in its pores, they are resistant to cleaning and washing.
POSSIBILITIES OF USE
- Glossy papersThe photos that were print on the photo paper using a sublimation process have replace conventional prints – due to better quality and resistance in several places – for example when printing ID card images (even directly on a plastic card). Desktop sublimation printers have become a favorite of event photographers as the instant, high quality retrieval feature allows photographers to sell the photos taken at a given event on-site with minimal hardware require.
- Textile materialsTextiles (polyester or other synthetic materials) specifically use sublimation printing . With this technology, today T-shirts, Molinos, are keychains , wristbands , keychains , apparel and flags print.
- Other toolsThe printable objects can consist of different materials (metal, wood, porcelain or glass) and shapes. However, a special lacquer coating and pretreatment is a requirement for sublimation printing. It is a popular method for printing souvenirs (e.g. mug, puzzle, T-shirt or flag with your own print), taking into account the short time.
The printing speed is limit because it depends on the size of the printing surface and the process itself is subject to thermal changes in the printhead, the heat of which is require to apply the toner. Heating the head (to print darker colors) is easier because it can be done with electricity. However, the cooling process (to print lighter colors) takes longer, even if the printhead has a fan or a directly connect cooling unit. This problem has been fix in the newer printers, with the integration of multiple printheads. While one printhead is cooling down, the other can continue printing.
A big advantage is that the product becomes completely dry after the desire pressure, so it can be use immediately.
Two types of inks are use in the printing process. One – and at the same time the most popular – is water-base sublimation ink, which can be use in both desktop and large format page printers. The other is the solvent sublimation ink use in large format printers.