The ink transfer mechanism is fundamentally different to that used in solvent printing, making dye-sublimation printing ideal for some applications but not others. Here's what you need to know.
The solvent printing process is based on ink-jet technology. Ink sprays through microscopic nozzles onto the print media where it forms tiny dots, (like old newspaper photos, but on a much smaller scale.) Dye-sublimation printing works differently. It uses heat to vaporize the sublimation ink, transferring it from sublimation paper to the substrate. That heat comes from a print head composed of many small elements. The temperature of each one is controllable, with more heat resulting in greater ink transfer and more intense color. Unlike with solvent-printing, dye-sublimation printing produces continuous tone images making it particularly suitable for fabric graphics.
To be successful, dye-sublimation printing needs a polyester-based substrate. Polyester textile materials or media with a polyester coating work well, the heating helping the ink bond to the polyester fibers. The popular materials listed below deliver exceptional results with dye-sublimation printing:
- Printing on polyester and polymmid(Lycra, Nylon)fabrics used in sportswear and outdoor wear in general.
- Printing on mixed synthetic fabrics(min 60% of synthetic fibres) used in sportswear and outdoor wear in general.
- Printing on plastic substrates used in the manufacturing of sport equipment such as ski, snowboard, skateboard, windsurf, etc
- Printing on every substrates (wood, cermics, glass) overprinted with polyester-based or polyammid-based coatings.
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