Sublimation printing, also referred to as dye sublimation printing, is a printing method for transferring images onto a substrate (usually a cloth material such as polyester). Sublimation refers to a process where a substance moves from a solid to a gas state without ever being in a liquid state. Sublimation printing normally involves the use of a digital printer to produce mirrored images on sublimation transfer paper that has been specially coated with a transfer material.
The continuous tone printing that creates brighter and smoother color variations and transitions than you’ll find with inkjet printing, and a superior overall look, in our opinion. Also, because the dye impregnates or is sublimated in the fabric, it is permanent and cannot flake off like some types of ink will, particularly garment inks used for t-shirts or inks printed on rigid substrates. So, durability and appearance are probably the best examples of the superiority of dye sublimation printing of fabric or garments.
The first disadvantage of dye sublimation printing on fabric is slower than inkjet printing because you have two processes in the heat transfer part of dye sublimation, so labor costs are going to be higher to some degree,although there are now printers that have the fabric and paper inline and they are drawn into the heated rollers as the printer continues to print.The second disadvantage is also a production issue that is being solved by the newer printer/roller units just explained in the previous paragraph.
In the past, and still in the present, it is not uncommon for the fabric to get a crease or wrinkle in it, or the paper, and suddenly the whole transfer print and piece of fabric are ruined. You would have to start over. Many of those who have been at this for awhile and are using older equipment charge higher prices per square foot for wider material, but many also don’t who have the newer equipment.