What Is Dye Sublimation Printing?

Just what is dye sublimation printing? Well, it is a form transfer printing that uses dye inks that sublimate readily once the inks are at the correct temperature and pressure. The process requires dye sublimation transfer paper, a heat press, and a polyester-coated target substrate. The target dye sublimation substrates generally are polyester textiles or polyester-coated rigid blanks. 400 degrees Fahrenheit is the operational temperature that allows this chemical reaction to happen. Once the artwork has been successfully transferred to the polyester blank, the image will be embedded into the polyester coating. Dye sublimation artwork on textiles and rigid blanks will be permanent and washable. The durability of dye sublimation artwork on garments is excellent, in many cases outlasting the actual garment itself. The latest dye sub inks that are available have excellent color gamut ranges and will produce products that have eye-catching vivid art and photo graphics.

The Benefits of Dye Sublimation Printing

  • Low cost of dye sublimation inks, a dye-sub garment ink cost may only be 10-15 cents compared to the $1.00 or more ink cost to make the same garment graphic on a direct to garment printer. 
  • Epson dye sublimation inks have the Oeko-Tex certification,  This certification, which is only granted for products that clear strict criteria for more than 300 plus harmful substances.  Epson dye sublimation products are produced with the highest possible international safety standards.
  • Dye sublimation printing on textiles offers the durability you will not find in garments produced by screen printing, direct to garment printing, and vinyl transfer printing. In many cases, dye sublimated garments last well over 10 plus years.

Dye Sublimation Future Outlook

The next generation of dye sublimation will have increased speed and a  larger overall color gamut plus the addition of new fluorescent inks added to the standard cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink sets used on most printers will open up new markets for fabrics and textiles. Another area that will continue to improve will be new developments of pretreatments based next-gen polyester coatings for fabrics, photo blanks, signage, and home textiles. Expect to see a more durable final product that will sport enhanced UV protection. 

Dye sublimation’s future looks very bright, the low cost of supplies, ease of maintenance and operation, and the endless supply of substrates that have become available for transferring dye sublimation artwork will make it an increasingly viable replacement for other forms of printing.

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