Dye-sublimation printing reproduces photographs beautifully but needs the right substrate. Not every Ultraflex print media is appropriate. The ink transfer mechanism is fundamentally different to that used in solvent printing, making dye-sublimation printing ideal for some applications but not others. Here’s what you need to know.
The solvent printing process is based on ink-jet technology. Ink sprays through microscopic nozzles onto the print media where it forms tiny dots, (like old newspaper photos, but on a much smaller scale.) Dye-sublimation printing works differently. It uses heat to vaporize the ink, transferring it from a paper to the substrate. That heat comes from a print head composed of many small elements. The temperature of each one is controllable, with more heat resulting in greater ink transfer and more intense color. Unlike with solvent-printing, dye-sublimation printing produces continuous tone images making it particularly suitable for fabric graphics.
To be successful, dye-sublimation printing needs a polyester-based substrate. Polyester textile materials or media with a polyester coating work well, the heating helping the ink bond to the polyester fibers. The popular Ultraflex materials listed below deliver exceptional results with solvent printing but should not be used for dye-sublimation printing:
- SuperPrintPlus FL
- Normandy Pro/JetFlexFL
- Pole BannerBlockout
- DSS12oz Blockout
However, the Ultrapoplin SoftImage D240 from the Vortex D range performs well in dye-sublimation printing processes. For the highest quality images from dye-sublimation printing, consider using this high performance substrate.
A wide range of substrate materials are available, and selecting the right one for your application can be difficult. Contact us today and an Ultraflex product specialist will save you time while leading you to the best solution for your needs.