A dye sublimation printer prints images by using digital sublimation ink. The images are initially printed onto coated heat-resistant transfer paper as a reverse image of the final design which is then transferred to a polyester fabric in a heat press operating at a temperature usually between 300-400F.
Any ink jet printer can be used for dye sublimation as long as that model uses dye sublimation inks from the beginning.
With this in mind, sublimation inks produce brilliant color and good light fastness when applied to polyester and polyester coated substrates. Applying heat to the printed image with a press, whether through transfer paper or directly, locks the inks into the polyester substrate allowing the item to be washed as needed.
Instead of four colors, dye sublimation ink cartridges come with anywhere from four to eight colors (generally CMYK, and some “light” versions of those colors). The extra colors available for dye sublimation allow for more precise color matching that emulate the colors in the digital image – skin tones in photographs, for instance. For this reason, dye sublimation is more popular for photographic reproductions.
Sublimation Ink is also a perfect solution for heat transferring images onto pre-coated ceramics, metals, and plastic. Due to the wide variety of substrates available, working with these inks opens the door to short or long run quick response promotional gifts and product sampling.
Alternately, some dye sublimation printers can print directly to fabric as well, though the process taking place within the printer is the same. The garment is heated, and when the gaseous ink is applied it is absorbed into the fibers of the material. Both transfer sheet and direct printing are viable options for dye sublimation.
The demand for dye sublimation inks have increased over time as producers have benefitted from the exceptional print quality it provides for highly competitive markets which demand a superior visual appeal for its customers.
STS Inks offers a full line of replacement dye sublimation products along with the end to end support you have come to expect from STS.