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What are the Benefits of Dye Sublimation?

What are the Benefits of Dye Sublimation?

Dye Sublimation is one of the most versatile ways to expand your existing textile or signage business.  With the ability to print on polyester garments, tiles, mousepads, can coozies, and so much more, you can exponentially increase your offerings overnight.

About Dye Sublimation

Dye sublimation is a digital, waterbased inkjet process in which you print on a specialized paper, and then heat transfer the ink onto your substrate.  Under pressure and heat, the ink becomes a gas and chemically bonds with synthetic fibers, creating a finished project with no hand (soft feel) and great durability.

Generally, dye sublimation printers are set up with CMYK inks.  Some companies set up printers with fluorescent colors.  These inks transfer transparent, so a white substrate is ideal.  If you transfer royal blue onto a yellow shirt, you will end up with a shade of green; if you transfer onto a black shirt nothing will appear.

Dye Sublimated Garments

Because the ink has chemically bonded with the fibers of the shirt (instead of laying on top), you can’t feel any print.  Polyester garments that have been sublimated are great for activewear (such as bike jerseys, running shirts, and so on), because you can get them with moisture-wicking and UV-blocking features. If you are looking for a cotton-feeling garment, JERZEES DRI-POWER t-shirts are a great option.

If you are going to be printing only textiles, SPSI offers multiple options of dye sublimation papers and inks for optimum output.  For textile printing, we recommend Beaver TexPrint ThermoTack Paper, which has a slight tack after heating, ensuring the paper won’t pop up and create a ghost image.

Dye Sublimated Hard Goods

The process of sublimating flat hard goods is similar to that of textiles – after printing the image, you will lay the paper onto your substrate, tape into place if needed, and heat press the product.  One key difference is that tacky paper will create adhesive marks on hard goods, so SPSI recommends a High Release paper, such as Beaver XPHR.

One area of huge growth in the industry is dye sublimated transfers onto coffee mugs and other cylindrical goods.  Obviously, you can’t heat press a coffee mug with a standard flat press, but HIX has created a mug wrap option which is both economical and environmentally friendly.  Combined with a specialized convection oven, you can create hundreds of mugs per hour.

Equipment Options

SPSI is proud to carry Mutoh and Epson large format dye sublimation printers.  Both machines are best-in-class pieces of equipment, specially made for dye sublimation printing.  By far, our best seller is the Mutoh RJ900X – a 44″ dye sublimation printer.  The RJ900X is a very intuitive, user-friendly, and durable printer.  Along with Beaver or SPSI branded dye sublimation papers and J-Teck or SPSI branded inks, this machine will give you a return on investment many times over.

Epson’s reputation precedes itself, and for that reason many customers opt for the Epson F6200 44″ dye sublimation printer.  The F6200 is an updated version of the F6000, with a more robust black ink option.  The printer also comes with Wasatch SoftRIP included.  Epson provides all service for this machine, so if you live in a remote area, this might be a good option for you!

Why Only Large Format Printers?

SPSI only sells large format dye sublimation printers for one reason: cost.  Overall, operational costs of a large format printer are significantly lower than small format printers for a plethora of reasons.

  1. Less waste.  With a RIP software, you don’t have to worry about your file printing with the right color profile.  It will just work, every time.
  2. Less expensive ink.  Some small format printers, when you extend the cost, charge over $1,000 for a liter of ink!  SPSI’s ink offerings range from $125-$135 per liter.  This is an 88% savings on ink costs!
  3. Less expensive paper.  When you buy paper in a 44″ roll, your per square foot cost of paper is going to be significantly lower than buying sheets.

Is Dye Sublimation Right For You?

Dye sublimation is a very versatile way to enter textile and graphics markets, and opens a lot of doors for customers.  With printers from 44″ to 64″, and heat press options from 9″x12″ all the way to a 64″ calendar press, SPSI has the equipment and supplies you need to succeed in your new venture.

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