Dye sublimation printing involves the use of heat to transfer dye onto fabric and other polymer-based materials. Apparel, pillows, bags and mugs are just a few examples of products that can be produced with this method of printing.
In sublimation printing, printers equipped with unique sublimation dyes print onto specially coated sheets of paper. The paper is then placed under a heat press, aligned over the substrate to be sublimated. Using a combination of time and temperature, the image from the paper will transfer at the molecular level into the substrate.
The end result of the sublimation process is a nearly permanent, high resolution, full color print. Because the dyes are infused into the substrate at the molecular level, rather than applied at a topical level (such as with screen printing and direct to garment printing), the prints will not crack, fade or peel from the substrate under normal conditions.
Let’s take a look at the sublimation printing process here at Tancorp Manufacturing from the first step until the completion of the product.
Everything starts with our team of graphic designers. They take your sketched ideas or pictures and transform them into digital artwork by using graphics software such as Adobe Photoshop.
Your digital artwork is then sent to our sublimation printer. If the product is apparel such as a t-shirt, each of the individual parts of the shirt are printed out and cut by hand. We use rolls of specially coated transfer paper to print on.
The printed sheets of paper are then transferred to a heat press, where they are laid on top of the substrate (such as fabric). All substrates must been made from Polyester or a polymer-based material in order for the sublimation to work properly. Acting at a specific temperature and length of time, the items are pushed under the heat press where a giant heating plate compresses the pieces together. This combination of high heat and time is where the magic happens. The dyes in the transfer paper transform from a solid into a gas, then immediately permeate the substrate. The end result is a nearly permanent, high resolution, full color print.
If the material that was sublimated is fabric, it is then taken to the cutting table where our expert cutter would then cut the fabric into the exact shape of the individual parts.
The cut parts are then bundled together, then handed over to our expert team of sewers. Each sewer handles a single operation on the garment, allowing items to be manufactured quickly along an assembly line.
The last step of the process is doing quality assurance on the garment, making sure it is in perfect condition for delivery. It is then packaged and sent to the customer.
Sublimation printing has many applications, from printed apparel and pillows to mugs and canvas prints. Here at Tancorp Manufacturing, we are experts in the field of sublimation printing and can be the sublimation manufacturer you’ve been looking for. Contact us today for a consultation.