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Sublimation – How it works

Direct inkjet printing and digital sublimation printing are the two main types of printing used on textiles. Digital sublimation does not require a processing program. It takes images from a digital camera or scanner and allows the user to create colourful, vivid images directly on a computer. Then, based on the designed image, it prints dispersed dyes to a special transfer paper. The transfer paper with the image is then placed facing the fabric, and with the right temperature, pressure and time, the dye is transferred onto the fabric. This technology has been around since the 1950’s and has developed into one of the leading ways to print onto fabrics, particularly polyester.

The process

A dye-sublimation printer is a computer printer that uses a printing process that utilises heat to transfer dye onto materials, such as fabrics, paper or plastic card. The name; sublimation, is used because the dye is activated using heat and transitions from a solid state to gas, without going through a liquid state.

This process is used to print on polyester and other synthetic fabrics. It’s commonly used for applications such as:

  • sports clothing,
  • sports apparel,
  • custom clothing,
  • banners,
  • table covers,
  • ID cards and
  • flags.

The advantages

The dye sublimation process holds a few advantages over inkjet printing. The process works fantastically with photographic printing because it creates natural looking images, which inkjet is unable to produce, and is a much cleaner process because the dye does not enter a liquid state, therefore, there’s less likelihood of the printer head getting clogged with dried ink.

The advantages of dye-sublimation for printing sports clothing, sports apparel and custom clothing, includes:

  • The technical process is shortened and provides a fast turnaround time for the customer.
  • Images can be easily customised to meet individual requests.
  • Images are permanent and do not fade.
  • Dye does not build up on the fabric.
  • Colours are extremely vivid, due to the bonding of the dye to the transparent fibres of the fabric.
  • Continuous tones can be achieved that are equivalent to that of a photograph.
  • Images can be printed over the entire item.

We can use these sublimation techniques to design sports clothing for your team. Contact us today to find out how you can stand out from the competition.

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