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What is Dye Sublimation? The Future of Printing Technology
3D Printing Printing Workwear

What is Dye Sublimation? The Future of Printing Technology

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Dye sublimation printing is a common technique for producing high-quality prints, particularly for low-volume production runs. This digital printing technology is renowned for its cost-effectiveness, generating sturdy and long-lasting prints while conserving money. In addition, dye sublimation produces prints resistant to fading and can survive the test of time, making it a popular option for various printing applications.

What is Dye Sublimation?

The principle of dye sublimation transfer relates to the fact that when the heat sublimation ink is heated to a specified temperature, the dye will sublimate from a solid to a gaseous form.

When the temperature decreases, the dye will return to a solid state and penetrate the surface of the transferred fabric to create the transfer effect.

The process is so good that colours and patterns will not fade or crack after repeated washings. In addition, because the design is woven into the fabric, the finish is silky and supple.

In addition, dye sublimation printing permits the creation of more detailed, original, and creative graphics.

How Does Sublimation Work?

Sublimation inks are used to print designs onto paper or film. First, the backing is put against the substrate and loaded into a heat press, which releases the two materials together by applying heat. The solid ink transforms into a gas, which then flows into the substrate and reforms into a solid, which is then molecularly imprinted into the substrate.

Dye sublimation Working Printer


Dye sublimation Working Printer

Various substrates, including apparel, signs, trade show materials, and promotional products such as keychains and coffee mugs, are suitable for sublimation printing.

Sublimation printing applies to a range of substrates, such as:

1. Rigid Substrates

Numerous polymer-treated, hard-surfaced materials, such as fibreglass, drinkware, cell phone covers, magnets, and plastic, can be sublimated.

2. Signage

The sign substrates are sign substrates of flags, vinyl banners, cloth backdrops, table covers, canvas, and tent fabric.

3. Apparels

Any polyester or 60/40 poly-blend clothing is suitable for sublimation printing.

Interesting Read: Workwear Fabric & Material Update

4. Ceramics

Designers of home decor imprint designs onto ceramic tiles used by interior decorators.

The following highlights the pros(advantages) and cons(disadvantages) of the Dye Sublimation printing method:

Pros(Advantages) of Dye Sublimation

  • Sublimation is one of the few techniques for printing full-colour graphics on rigid surfaces.
  •  It produces brighter and smoother colour variations and transitions than inkjet printing and an overall superior appearance.
  • It is permanent and will not flake like other forms of ink.
  • Almost limitless colour options are available. Sublimation offers tens of thousands of colours, and adding additional colours to your design is free.
  • Same price for printing one item or one thousand pieces. Therefore, there are no minimum order requirements.
  • Complete customisation! No plates are required for digital sublimation printing, making it excellent for personalising designs with variable elements like names, numbers, etc.
  • Sublimation allows for same-day on-demand printing, decreasing risk and waste.
  • Screen printing has a steep learning curve and can be messy, whereas sublimation is easier to understand.

While sublimation printing offers advantages, it falls short of other printing methods in the following areas:

Cons(Disadvantages) of Dye Sublimation

  • Natural fibres like cotton and paper are incompatible with sublimation printing unless pre-coated with a polymer.
  • Requires specialised inks and printers – Since sublimation ink is carefully made to avoid becoming liquid, it tends to clog printers
  • Slow — Unlike inkjet and screen printing, sublimation printing requires each item to be separately pressed.
  • Before ordering a sublimated print, perform your due diligence to confirm that the sublimation inks and materials used are of the highest quality. With inexpensive sublimation inks, poisonous fumes may pollute the air and be inhaled by employees
  • Recycling concerns – Dye Sublimation printing generates a great deal of non-recyclable waste, partly because the process requires an additional step and more resources than other printing methods.

These are the numerous benefits and drawbacks of dye sublimation printing! Contact our team if you have any queries regarding this procedure or need assistance locating a workwear supplier for your business. Before investing in anything, we’d love to hear from you to assist you in making an informed selection.

Suggested Read: Digital Printing vs Embroidery : Which Is the Right One for Your Workwear?

Dye Sublimation Printers

Thermal printing heads in inkjet printers cannot be used for dye sublimation printing.

As a result, inkjet printers from Canon, Hewlett Packard (HP), Lexmark, and Dell are incompatible. However, sublimation printing can be done with printers that have a Micro Piezo printing head. These are typically Epson or Ricoh inkjet printers. Brother printers also use Micro Piezo printing heads, in theory, but they are not a popular option on the market.


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To Sum-up

In conclusion, dye sublimation is a great printing option that offers superior quality and versatility. It is a reliable and cost-effective way to create vibrant, durable prints that can be used for various applications, from apparel to signage. Dye sublimation has become increasingly popular in the workwear industry due to its adaptability to different fabrics and its versatility in customisation options. In short, dye sublimation is an excellent choice for workwear. It can provide both employees and employers with a range of benefits.

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  • Lisa John

    Meet Lisa John, a dynamic Content Manager and Marketing Professional at Garment Printing Group. With three years of industry experience, Lisa excels in crafting compelling narratives that not only illuminate the vibrant world of garment printing but also drive engagement and growth.

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