Digital printing technology has improve rapidly, merging and diversifying industries as a result, such that screen printers now offer digital printing services, and sign shops can now offer print apparel. We saw this form of industrial adaptation happen with the rise of eco-solvent printers, and now we see it with dye-sublimation printers as well.
Our recently launch Industrad Group RT-640 Dye-Sublimation Printer allows users to digitally add custom graphics to clothing, chairs, snowboards, fabrics, promotional products and much more. For many sign and graphics companies, this fast and effective digital printing method is replacing traditional screen printing practices for smaller production volumes, as well as for jobs that require multiple colors and photographic images.
If you are considering adding this type of technology to your graphics industry, here are three things you need to know about dye-sublimation.
1. THERE ARE MANY PROFITABLE ITEMS TO SUBLIMATE.
When people use the term “dye sublimation”, they certainly don’t think of metal sheets, snowboards and doormats. Sublimation on textiles and rigid materials can be achieve with large format printers, such as Industrad Group’s RT-640, which can cost-effectively personalize everything from large banners to tiles.
Dye sublimation involves the penetration of ink into the surface of the substrate. Man-made materials such as nylon, some plastics and polyester fabrics contain polymers that cause the ink to solidify when heat.
Dye sublimation printing produces beautiful, long-lasting colors that are embedded in the backing or fabric rather than printed on the surface. Images on fabric don’t fade or crack even after several washings. Images on solid substrates won’t chip, peel, or scratch.
These are just a few of the media options that dye sublimation technology offers you.
You are no longer limit to textile substrates, but have a wide range of products and advertising options. New process polymer materials have been develop specifically for applications such as aluminum, brass, glass, fiberglass, acrylic, plastic and hardboard.
Rigid Products – A wide range of rigid products include mouse pads, key rings, smartphone cases, pet bowls, switch panels and more. They are easily lift and can be use for a variety of applications. They are easily sublimate and are a wonderful addition to the range of personalize products your business has to offer.
Flexible Signs – Create on-demand signage for high-impact outlets, trade shows, and interiors. The sublimation process is quick and ideal for limit time promotions.
Fabrics – Choose from a range of 100% polyester fabrics. Fabric options come in two different types:
- Cross texture for sturdy and durable banner holders, outdoor banners, outdoor signs, and upholstery.
- Woven material with a more natural drape and flow, for custom apparel, outdoor banners and banners, photographic backdrops and table cloths.
Sports and Fashion Apparel – Possibilities cover everything from cycling jerseys and jerseys to tote bags and baseball hats. The ever-growing popularity of fashion and sportswear opens up new opportunities for sublimation every day.
Photographic Printing – From personalize gifts such as magnets, wall mounts, and photo apparel to photography backdrops, sublimation is perfect for producing high-quality photographic images for a wide range of markets.
Ceramic Mosaics – Interior designers and decorators can create custom ceramic mosaics for kitchens, bathrooms, foyers, restaurants, and offices.
All materials shown above are suitable for polymer heat transfers or available as “blank” products for immediate heat transfer. In addition, there are pre-treatment options available to the user, allowing them to print on an even wider range of items.
2. YOU WILL NEED DIFFERENT MACHINES FOR DYE SUBLIMATION
Printing is just the first step in the dye-sublimation process. For sublimation to take place, you will need heat and pressure.
Successful dye-sublimation requires the following two-part process:
- Print graphics on special transfer paper using sublimation inks; and
- Use a stamper to transfer the “ink on paper” to the item you want to decorate.
Note: To ensure proper ink transfer and high image quality, do not cut corners on your paper, and use a sublimation transfer coat paper with excellent ink absorption and high ink distribution.
If you plan to use your dye-sublimation printer for applications that include everything from apparel to decorations to flexible signs, you will also need the following essential items:
Computer and Software RIP
First of all you will need a computer and software to design and process your digital graphics, as well as print and manage your production in general. Not all dye-sublimation printer manufacturers provide software with their machines, which means that you have to look for different RIP software programs and make sure they are compatible with your printer. Fortunately the Industrad Group RT-640 is pair with the Roland DG version ErgoSoft RIP, create especially for four- and eight-color sublimation printing.
Initially, you will need a rotary blade and hot knife for simple fabric cutting and for cross fabric cutting and sealing, but ultimately you will need a tabletop X / Y cutter or digital flatbed cutter / plotter capable of register for precise cutting of fabrics and yarns, and for effective pattern cutting if you plan to print and sew your own garment production.
The production of flexible apparel and signs requires some form of sewing and folding custom apparel, custom upholstery, banner pole pockets, and silicone edge stitching for silicone edge graphics applications (or SEG, a special tension frame system use to create flexible signs that are easy to install). This requires a manual sewing machine for small sign and apparel solutions, and a computerize automatic sewing machine with automatic command and feed functions for large-format seams and hems.
3. YOU WILL NEED A HIGH QUALITY STAMPING MACHINE
The presses are available in various sizes and functions. Despite these variations, they all work the same way: At 204 ° C, they simultaneously heat the ink on the transfer paper and the polymer fibers within the substrate, enabling transfer of the ink to the media. After approximately one minute, the heat is remove and the transfer paper is peel off, leaving a permanent, full-color graphic on the substrate.
Although this may seem overwhelming to some, it is actually a simple and effective method of applying graphics to fabrics and other print materials. Compare to traditional printing methods, it saves hours and even labor days; and with the correct machine the quality results are comparable to screen printing.
Once you’ve spent about $ 20,000 on a dye-sublimation printer, you need to consider at least matching this price for your press if you plan to create large-format signs and graphics for the long term. A reliable large format press can last for decades and generate increasing sublimation printer in Pakistan production as your business and printing machinery develop. Invest in reliable quality printers and plan the development of your business.
There are four different types of heat press devices available:
Small Format Stamping Machine
If you plan to sublimate on T-shirts and small items such as hats, mugs, plates, and shoes, then you may not have to spend too much on a stamper. Expect to pay roughly $ 1,500 or more for a 16 “x 20” full-size t-shirt press, with heat and pressure controls, from a brand like Geo Knight or Hotronix .
Thermal Press with Calender
Printers like the Klieverik GTC Series are large format presses built for flags, large outdoor banners and other large flexible sign applications, as well as everyday sublimation of flexible signs and fabrics. With the addition of the table accessory to the calendar unit, the user can cut and sew garments.
Flatbed Stamping Machine
Although they cannot effectively handle the type of fabric rolls and sizes that a calender heat press can, flatbee presses such as the Geo Knight Max Press are versatile presses that can transfer heat to fabrics as well as aluminum, plywood, doormats. and other unique materials.
3D Vacuum Stamping Machine
The 3D vacuum embosser is a compact tabletop unit that heats materials with curved edges or shapes. Materials and items used for sublimation printing, such as smartphone cases, mugs, ceramic plates, photo frames, sporting goods, buttons and more, can be sublimated with this handy device.
These are just three of the many aspects to consider when sublimation printing. As you can see, this is a versatile application that is becoming increasingly attractive to signage and graphics businesses because it offers a convenient solution for not only printing on clothing and products, but also creating signs that can be easily transported and installed. Invest in quality equipment such as the Industrad Group RT-640 dye-sublimation printer with Pakistan™ ink and transfer paper to open up a whole new category of custom graphics revenue.