Sublimation has been used for decades to apply images to upholstery, cushions, furniture, and much more. However, due to high costs and limitations of traditional print processes, it is only since the advent of digital dye sublimation that high quality photographic images have been printed on to everyday items.
The Evolution of Dye Sublimation
The demand for custom designs on a large scale has been increasing over the years but was impossible to meet before wide format inkjet sublimation. There is no other form of printing that can offer the range of items that can be printed on so effectively, and from a piece of paper. Since the late 2000s, momentum has gained and it is now considered a ‘must have’ service.
As industries merge and diversify to keep up with demand, the lines have become blurred: screen printers now offer digital printing and sign shops offer apparel. Dye sublimation printers allow users to digitally add custom graphics to clothing, chairs, snowboards, fabrics, promotional products, to name a few. For many sign and graphics businesses, this quick and effective digital print method is replacing traditional screen-printing practices for shorter production runs and for output that requires multiple colours and photographic imagery.
What Can You Sublimate?
Dye sublimation using a dye sublimation printer such as the Texart XT-640, works by penetrating the surface of the substrate with ink. Man-made materials such as such as nylon, certain plastics, and polyester fabrics contain polymers that when heated, enable the bonding of ink.
Printing using dye sublimation results in beautiful and permanent colours that are embedded in the substrate or fabric, rather than printed on the surface. Images on fabric won’t fade or crack even after multiple washings. Images on hard substrates will not chip, peel or scratch.
Here are some of the material possibilities you have with dye sublimation:
- Rigid Substrates – No longer limited to just fabric substrates, there is a wide variety in product and promotional possibilities available. New polymer treated materials have been developed specifically for dye sublimation applications that include aluminium, brass, glass, fiberglass, acrylic, plastic and hardboard sheet materials.
- Rigid Products – The rigid “blank” products that are widely available include: mouse pads, key chains, smartphone cases, pet bowls, light switch plates, and much more. These are easily sublimated and represent fantastic additions to the range of custom branding items your business can offer.
- Soft Signage – Create on-demand, high-impact POP, tradeshow and interior signage. The sublimation process is fast and ideal for time-sensitive promotions.
- Fabrics – A range of 100% polyester fabrics, including: woven texture for sturdy and hard wearing banner stands, exterior banners, exterior signage and upholstery; and knit material that drapes and flows for custom apparel, indoor flags and banners, photographic backdrops and table covers.
- Sports and Fashion Apparel – Everything from t-shirts and cycling jerseys to handbags and baseball caps can be sublimated. The growing popularity of sports and fashion apparel opens up new opportunities for sublimation.
- Photo Printing – From personalised gift items such as magnets, wall mounts and photo-apparel to photo backdrops, sublimation is perfect for delivering high quality photographic images to a wide range of markets.
- Ceramic Tiles – Interior designers and decorators can create customised ceramic tiles for kitchens, bathrooms, foyers, museums, restaurants, and offices.
Increase Your Business Opportunities
Dye sublimation is a versatile application with growing appeal to sign and graphics businesses – representing a convenient solution that not only enables apparel and product printing but also allows for sign output.
Investing in a quality dye sublimation device like the Texart XT-640 Dye Sublimation Printer can open up a whole new category of custom graphics and profits for your business. Click here to find out more about the Roland DG range of dye sublimation printers. To talk to one of our dye sublimation experts, call 1800 500 119.