Dye sublimation is a printing process we use on many types of fabrics to produce banners, flags, backdrops and soft signage products. The most common materials used with dye sublimation printing are polyester-based fabrics.
Soft fabrics offer many advantages over pvc vinyl material, the main one being that they look absolutely superb when finished. The dye-sub print process offers contionous tone almost photographic quality with vibrant colours and sharp detail. Fabrics are also less likey to reflect light, making them ideal for use on stage or any location subject to spot lighting or flash photography.
Products which require the utmost flexibility in their fabrics such as cafe banners, backdrops, cushions and furnishings cannot easily use pvc materials.
We print onto white fabrics at up to 3.2 metres wide.
The word sublimation is a term used for a substance to transform from a solid to a gas without becoming a liquid. This fact is now believed to be incorrect as some of the dye does liquify which means that the process is sometimes referred to as Dye-Diffusion, but the original name of Dye Sublimation is more commonly used. Dye sublimation printing uses and mixes Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black colours (CMYK) to print high density vibrant printed polyester based /polymer coated fabrics. The process is also referred to as digital sublimation.
The Sublimation process works by using dye inks which are suspended in a liquid solvent. The graphics are printed in reverse onto a coated heat-resistant transfer paper. The images on the paper are then transferred onto the fabric material using a special heat press which normally operates at around 180-210c (370F). Working under high temperate and pressure the heat press turns the dye into gas which fuses with the fabric and the solidifies into the fibres when cooled. Once the sublimation process is completed the finished fabric is permanently dyed and can be washed without fading or causing damage to the graphics. The dye is ingrained into the fabric on a molecular level.
The advantages of Dye sublimation are as follows:
- Graphics do not fade
- High photographic quality
- High colour vibrancy
- Full colour over the whole area
- Prints won’t crack or scratch
- Machine washable