WHAT IS SUBLIMATION?
The sublimation process, in the digital printing sector, is the transformation that the inks undergo when, coming into contact with heat, they transform into gas (sublimate) and are stably join to the polyester surface. The sublimation is carried out thanks to printers inkjet equipp with sublimating inks, using a special paper for sublimation . The ink received from the paper is transfer to the receiving surface with a special press . Sublimation printing is used for printing on polyester fabric and pre-treated materials base on polyester and nylon.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH SUBLIMATIC PRINTING?
Normally sublimation is use in the fabric, flags, sportswear and swimwear sectors. In addition, it is very common in the world of personalization of objects and gadgets. Sublimation printing is the ideal complement to digital graphics . It allows you to significantly expand the communication offer to your customers and offer concrete added value. The use of sublimation printing allows considerable variations in customization: from that of events with ad hoc banners and graphics, to that of particular clothing items up to furniture and interior design.
SPORTS APPLICATIONS: Sublimation printing allows you to produce high quality ultra-personalize fabrics with a very captivating decoration, suitable for various types of sports such as football, cycling and swimming. In this way, sponsors’ colors, social logos and advertising messages can be effectively conveyed;
GADGETS AND OBJECTS: what are the gadgets and objects that can be customized? Basically all of them, as long as they have a part treated for sublimation. We therefore have the most disparate objects: surfboards, snowboards, sofas, tablecloths, bags, key rings, backpacks, mobile phone covers, mugs, t-shirts, pennants and much more;
CLOTHING AND FASHION: sublimation printing can be used for the creation of clothing for fashion and ready-to-wear. In fact, thanks to the brilliant color rendering, the full blacks and the detail that can be obtained with the solutions proposed by Tosingraf, the final quality of the garment is excellent.
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
Sublimation, technically, occurs when the ink printed on the paper, through a dedicated press, is transferred onto the fabric and passes directly from the solid to the gaseous state, instantly. Sublimation is possible on polyester materials, both woven and non-woven, which, at 170 °, by loosening their molecular structure, allow the dye to combine with the material permanently and to be resistant to scratches, stress or color decay. The final result allows to have a surface or a fabric without any relief or thickness, washable and which preserves, in the case of printing on textiles, the texture of the material.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO SUBLIMATE?
The elements needed to create a sublimation solution are as follows:
– A printer equipped with sublimation inks;
– The sublimation paper to be printed;
– A vacuum press, a sublimation press or calender;
– Objects or fabrics suitable for sublimation (necessarily white in color and composed of at least 65% synthetic material).
– The image to be transferred is printed on special transfer paper sheets using a plotter or a printer equipped with specific sublimation inks. Attention: the sublimation transfer consists of two layers: one non-stick and one that absorbs the ink of the plotter or printer; it is also necessary, especially in the presence of text, to print the image on the transfer in such a way that it is a mirror image of the one you want to obtain on the finished product;
– Subsequently, with a heat press the transfer is printed directly on the garment to be customized. Due to the effect of the heat, the inks sublimate and transfer onto the fabric as colored vapors that react with the fibers, setting themselves indelibly and without any surface relief. Recommended temperatures , the temperature adjustment depends on the substrate on which you intend to print: 160 ° for printing on cups; 170 ° for printing on glass; 190 ° for printing on plastic objects and gadgets; 195 ° for printing on fabric; 250 ° to 3D print on smartphone / tablet covers;
– Finally we remove the transfer paper sheet. And here is our customized product ready!
THE SUBLIMATIC INKS
The sublimation inks have a high resistance over time rubbing, sunlight and washing. They are used, for example, for upholstery parts in urban transport sectors or in cases where the fabric is subjected to thermal or environmental stress. The inks have the dye mixed in an aqueous solution and, after direct or indirect printing, are permanently fixed by means of special machinery. They are called “sublimation” because, as previously mentioned, they exploit a chemical-physical process called “sublimation”, which implies a change of state of the dye from the solid phase directly to the gaseous one, without passing through the liquid phase. Thanks to the fact that the dye becomes gaseous almost instantly, it attaches itself to the synthetic fabric (necessarily white) in depth, without smudging. However, sublimatic requires high heat (about 170 ° C), so the fabric must always be treated in a calender or with a heat press. In the case of indirect printing (on paper), moreover, a discreet and uniform coupling pressure of the paper to the fabric is required, to prevent the dye in the gaseous state from spreading incorrectly in its weft.
ADVANTAGES AND LIMITS
– Unaltered fabrics: the Sublimatic printing, precisely because it directly transfers the color to the fibers, does not alter the transpiration, elasticity and resistance of the fabrics;
– Durability over time: the design does not lose color and does not break, since it is tied to the garment;
– No color limitations: like any desktop printer, it can transfer a wide range of colors and shades;
– Reduced prices: as for digital printing, Sublimatic printing does not include the burden of the fixed costs of screen printing, guaranteeing a good price even for limited runs;
– Transparency of the pigments: the colors used are transparent, they absorb the hue of the background on which they are transferred, therefore they are not applicable on black backgrounds;
– Material limitations: sublimation printing can only be used on polyester fabrics.
THE SOLUTION FOR YOU
Industrad Group offers a complete solution for those who want to enter the world of sublimation: