What is sublimation?
Sublimation fabric printing technique is used when we print on fabrics with high percentage of synthetic material and want to achieve exceptional durability of colours and print.
The term ‘sublimation’ describes a process in which a substance is converted from solid to gaseous state without passing through a liquid phase. Due to that physical phenomenon the typical resistance of sublimation printing to various types of treatment is made possible.
How does the printing on fabric through sublimation take place?
Sublimation printing involves the use of a digital printer to produce mirrored images on paper that is specially coated with transfer material. Printing of the image on the material goes through 2 stages. The first stage is the so called heating process. During it the transfer paper is placed on a heat press along with the substrate and is then subjected to temperature of 170 to 200 degrees Celsius. This allows the ink and the transfer material to switch from liquid to gaseous state. Once the ink and transfer material become converted into gaseous state, they penetrate the substrate material fibers (the fabric on which printing is performed). The second stage involves ink transfer and bonding. After the heating process is completed, the ink that has penetrated the substrate solidifies and becomes permanently fixed onto the transfer material.
Sublimation printing advantages over other printing techniques
Advantages are made possible due to specific feature of the sublimation process, namely binding of the ink to the fabric. These include:
- Durability of colours and exceptional image quality and colour saturation;
- Extremely high resistance of print to various types of treatment;
- Durability at high temperature washing and various mechanical influences – stretching, friction, ironing;
- Possibility of printing on fabrics suitable for sports textile manufacturing;
- Extremely high print resistance over time.
What are the characteristic features of sublimation?
The type of fabric used for sublimation should be polymer – polyester, polyamide, etc. The percentage of natural fibers allowed, such as cotton or similar, should be up to 30% of the fabric composition. In such cases, samples for print quality and durability are required due to poor bonding of ink with natural fabrics.
Printing can be done on the whole fabric roll or on pre-cut pieces. Further cutting may be performed as well.
What can sublimation printing be used for?
- Flag printing;
- Sportswear printing;
- Promotional textile printing;
- Sporting accessories printing;
- Interior textile printing – upholstery, blinds, curtains;
- Printing of banners, LED banners, promotional walls, photowalls where preferred print base is fabric;
- Photography backdrop printing.