Dye sublimation is a process of printing to fabric (and other substances) that provides the best quality, most durable printing option. In sublimation, the inks are fused into the fabric as opposed to sitting on top of the basic such as in inkjet or screen printing. The process not only gives fabrics a softer touch after the printing, but it is also very durable. The colour remains strong in outdoor lighting and after extensive washing so it’s the ideal process for sportswear and school clothing
Dye sublimation printing is a superior method of printing. It uses a breakthrough scientific method to produce higher quality images than other printing systems. This works by heating a special type of solid ink. This is different from other printing techniques, such as inkjet and laser printing, which spray liquid ink onto a page or surface, staining it. Instead, dye sublimation printing heats up the solid ink, causing it to turn into gas vapors. These vapors make their way into the target surface, where they then turn back into solid form.
A big advantage of this type of printing is that it doesn’t rely on the traditional printing technique of laying down colors as individual dots, which when viewed closely appear exactly as that – a grid of dots with white space between them – with the result that the image is less lifelike and realistic.
Instead, the unique way dye sublimation printing applies ink to the page gives the resulting image a big quality boost. That’s because as those vaporized ink colors permeate the target surface, they fade in through gradation at the edges of each pixel (which are the building blocks of a printed image). This gradation process means there isn’t a noticeable white gap between the pixels, giving the final image a much more robust and natural look.
Another way dye sublimation printing is better than other printing technologies is that it is longer lasting. Think of it this way. When printing something with an inkjet printer, for example, the image is literally painted onto the exterior of the target surface, one dot at a time.
However, dye sublimation printing is a much more thorough technique. Instead of laying down the ink on the surface like a painter with a brush, it literally infuses the material, thanks to the ink’s application as a gas, instead of a liquid. The result? An image that is more naturally woven into the target material, and is less susceptible to becoming worn or deteriorated. And the dye-sublimation printed image and its dazzling colors will also be less likely to fade as time goes by than materials printed with other techniques.
Benefits of sublimation:
- Garments do not fade and printing does not crack or degrade.
- Design is virtually unlimited, from simple shapes and colors to blends, shadows and photographic images.
- Numbering can be done when printing eliminating the need to have hot sweaty plastic numbers on the back.
- Logos, names, numbers and sponsors can be included in the design in full color.
- In some instances, prices can be cheaper than traditional.