Dye Sublimation – Changing the Way We Print

August 20, 2021

Dye sublimation is changing the way we print in the sign, banner and fabric industry. This modern method of printing allows businesses to expand what they print on, as well as produce higher quality products.

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What is Dye Sublimation Printing?

Dye sublimation is a transformative method of printing that takes your image and transfers it onto a polyester or polyester coated fabric using thermal heat. Sublimation banner printing creates more durable products because it imbeds the ink directly into the surface fabric. While the traditional methods print an image on a surface leading to more wear and tear.

Dye sublimation printing is becoming a more popular form of printing due to its versatility. Since this method of printing creates more durable images, companies have the ability to use these prints both inside and outside. This is appealing to businesses that are printing large outdoor banners and advertisements. Dye sublimation also allows more diversity in the shapes, sizes, and textures it can print. If your sublimation machine can print it, you can transfer it onto an object.

How Does Dye Sublimation Work?

Dye sublimation is unique in the sense that it takes a special type of ink, in gas form, and through the heat process transforms it into a solid. Skipping over the liquid phase allows the gases to penetrate the material. This creates a more durable product because it is creating a permanent color bond between the “ink” and the surface being printed on. As mentioned above, traditional methods of screen printing simply place the image on top of the product. Limiting the bond between the image and surface. Leading to more exposure to the elements, in-turn causing more damage to the final product.

Below is the process broken down:

  • Using disperse dies in gas form (the ink) – the sublimation printer takes the image you just created and prints it onto the transfer paper
  • Then, you take the transfer paper and place it over the final product
  • Using a heat press – you apply a high heat and pressure onto the transfer paper to pass the image onto the final product
    • Removing the heat causes the gas to “dry” and turn into a solid form, skipping the liquid phase
    • This allows the image to then penetrate the polyester fabric creating beautiful and more durable finished products.
    • Fabric will not fade or crack – even after multiple washes and usage.

How Long Does Dye Sublimation last?

As with any product, the two biggest factors into how long a dye sublimation print will last are quality and care of the product. From the beginning, the quality of the products both being used to print as well as being printed on play a factor into how long the print will last. Ink plays a crucial factor in this as the fade resistance varies from ink to ink. Depending on the need, selecting the appropriate ink will directly affect how long your print lasts. Paper also plays a factor in how long your image will last. Sublimation printing requires sublimation paper. While this sounds like common sense, it is important to note this because standard copy paper will not do. To create a high quality longer lasting image, you need the correct paper.

Aside from the ink and paper, the machines are also important. There is a wide selection of machines available to purchase that vary in price. Similar to the ink, the need determines the quality of machine. If you are looking to print small, indoor, banners or posters, you will be able to use a smaller and more cost-effective machine. On the flip side, if you are looking to create larger prints meant for outdoors, a more expensive, higher-quality machine will work better for you.

After the quality of the supplies, the care and usage of the product will play a factor in its lifespan. Being sure to keep the images clean and properly handled will lead to the print lasting a long time. A unique factor of dye sublimation is that it allows you to wash or clean the product. Since the image is imbedded into the fabric, washing the product will not image as quickly as it would with prints done the traditional way.

Using high quality tools and taking care of your product will lead to your print lasting as long as you need it.

What Do You Need for Dye Sublimation Printing?

Dye sublimation printing does not require much. However, As mentioned above, having quality machines will lead to a longer life span of your prints. Investing in your machines will be beneficial for your business, as well as your prints.

The heat press and printer are key parts to the dye sublimation printing process. Similar to supplies, the need dictates the machine. There are many options to choose from. It is important to find the one that best fits that need as well as your budget. Once your image is printed and ready to display, you are going to need a way to complete and protect the edges. Whether you are hanging your product outside or securing it through other methods, a quality sewing machine will allow you to create the finished edge you need. For that, you will need a Digitran automated sewing machine.

Miller Weldmaster’s Digitran is an all-in-one sewing machine that allows one person to easily maneuver and finish your products. Whether it be a pocket, a hem, Velcro, or SEG, the Digitran will work for you! Eliminating stress on you and limiting material handling.

The Digitran has numerous benefits and features, including:

  • Hands free feeding and thread cutting
  • Automated Front and Back tacking
  • Easy touch Controls
  • A synced transport system allowing for accurate and precise flow of materials.
  • And so much more...

Dye sublimation is the way of the future. Be sure to make the Digitran Automated Sewing Machine apart of your production and take it to the next level.

Visit our Digitran page for more information: https://www.weldmaster.com/digitran. Or contact an expert today to answer any questions and set up a Virtual Demo.

Topics: Signs and Banners, Miller Weldmaster, Digitran

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