12 Most Important FAQs about Dye Sublimation Printing

12 Most Important FAQs about Dye Sublimation Printing

Dye Sublimation printing – what are they for? And why is it getting easier to service them? And what does the print quality depend on? We will find out the answers to these and other questions together with Epson.

Sublimation printers – what are they for? And why is it getting easier to service them? And what does the print quality depend on? We will find out the answers to these and other questions together with Epson.

1. Sublimation – what is it all about?

Another way to transfer images to products. This is the essence of the sublimation printing process: special ink, which is previously applied to special paper, evaporates as a result of exposure to high temperatures and penetrates into the product. As a result of this process, the ink image is transferred to fabric or other special media.

This method produces vibrant colors that are resistant to environmental influences. That is, sublimation technology allows you to easily and simply decorate synthetic fabrics, for example, for sewing sportswear and specially prepared hard surfaces Like,

  • Mugs
  • Keyrings
  • Mousepads
  • Phone cases

Products must necessarily have a layer that is susceptible to sublimation ink. And by the way, this is the most widespread technology for printing textiles.

2. The Choice of Equipment is Probably Large?

How can I say, not really? This is an area where a professional approach to production is required, therefore, equipment is expected to have balanced characteristics

  • Performance
  • Quality
  • Reliability
  • Stability

The emergence of a successful printer model can be a noticeable event for the market. For example, the 112cm wide Epson SureColor SC-F6200 is already a very popular large format Dye Sublimation Printing. 

This is an entry-level model in the industrial category, but this model is one of the most productive for this level, with a maximum print speed of over 63 sq. m per hour. Epson Sublimation Printer Is the redesigned SC-F6200 plus optional roll-to-roll printing in addition to roll-to-sheet printing. The roll rewinder is an original device coupled with the printer control unit, which means it will work synchronously with all other units.

3. Is roll-to-roll Printing so Important?

This is a fundamental feature of the printer, which allows it to be integrated into the process of continuous textile production. It was originally designed to be able to work with small and medium production volumes, plus, if necessary, it can take larger orders. 

Indeed, with sheet unloading, you can only print one product on a sheet, then take it to a heat press and get the result. And then the cycle has to be repeated. When printing “from roll to roll” and when using a roll thermal calendar for sublimation transfer, the overall production speed increases many times. And in the SC-F6300 this feature is implemented. 

But not only her. The redesigned design has greatly simplified the initial start-up of the printer and its regular maintenance. He also has ink packs increased by 100 ml – up to 1.1 liters: a trifle. Check Out Dye Sublimation Printing

4. After all, you can also adapt a Non-Specialized Printer for Sublimation?

In principle, yes: buy a printer and change the ink there for sublimation on your own. Of course, taking this into account, the period of failure of the printer can be rapidly reduced, in most cases the warranty is lost, and so that it is not boring at all, the question of adjusting and maintaining the accuracy and stability of color reproduction arises.

That is, you do not get a ready-made solution for high-quality Dye Sublimation Printing, but a “collective farm” and further problems in the work. Nobody guarantees the stability of quality, and all experiments on setting up the printer will be quite expensive because, in addition to ink, you will have to spend materials for sublimation: it is unrealistic to predict the final result without transferring.

5. Why are you so Pushing for High-Quality Printing? 

After all, all respected manufacturers have about the same, probably. In fact, everyone is different. But, as far as Epson is concerned, this is the case: three software technologies are responsible for the quality of prints at once. LUT conversion (provides high color accuracy), halftoning module (removes graininess), and a special MicroWeave algorithm (helps to avoid banding even at high speed). 

Together, it is proudly called Epson Precision Dot. It would seem just a big name? No. In real life, this allows you to start working on the printer, as they say, “right out of the box” – without regular complex settings, and with guaranteed stable print quality. Also included is a set of new and improved EMX profiles.

6. What kind of beast is this EMX?

The difficulty of printing, especially sublimation, is that the image visible on the screen will not always be the same on the print. And with sublimation technology, there is another stage – heating the paper with the subsequent transfer of ink to the material. And it complicates things even more. 

There are settings in the RIP and printer that theoretically will help you tune your printing to get an acceptable result, but without the knowledge, experience, and special measurement tools, you sometimes have to rely on luck. On Epson printers, settings can be loaded from a global database.

EMX (Epson Media Extension) profiles contain ICC profiles and print settings for certain types of media. To optimize the parameters, you no longer need to fiddle with the settings every time, trying to guess the right ones – just specify the media type and print mode.

7. Qualifications of a printer are needed much higher?

But for serious work, probably, the qualifications of a printer are needed much higher?

Epson printers are now implementing the concept of minimum maintenance while increasing the automation of service processes. This reduces the downtime previously spent on routine maintenance and increases reliability and productivity. 

For example, even the new top-end printers can be put into production for people who do not have much experience in printing and working with color and at a real speed of 60 m 2 / h it will work without problems, and the output will be a high-quality product. (maximum speed 108 m 2/ h is reached in draft mode). Maintenance of the printing unit is implemented in automatic mode: the head cleaning system works practically without the participation of the operator, physically he needs to check and clean the print area at the print head once a month. 

printer for sublimation

And also – a powerful metal frame with a very rigid structure, which means that there are practically no parasitic vibrations that can affect the stability of the result. There is a protective bumper on the printhead, which reduces the likelihood of damage from contact with jammed material or foreign objects. It also optimizes aerodynamics and regulates the airflow in the area between the head and the printed material – this increases the accuracy of placing ink drops. 

There is an illumination of the printing area: the printer can see the process of work without lifting the protective cover, and this reduces the risk of dust ingress. The receiving table is specially designed for the thin paper: the paper gets wet from ink, increases in size, and can warp, but the table is made so that this warpage is directed towards the table, and not towards the print head. There is also improved automatic control of the unwinding and winding tension of the tissue paper web.

8. What is the “trick” – Printing on thin paper? 

Is this a fundamental question?

There is a dilemma in the sublimation process: on the one hand, the thinner the paper, the faster the transfer can be made; on the other hand, the paper must be able to hold the thickest possible ink layer for saturated color without changing its geometry, and the denser it is, the more stable the result is. 

If the paper is too thin, it may wrinkle during printing and damage the print head or cause paper transfer rejects. Papermakers are creating new designs of paper – ever thinner. But not every printer can work on such paper, Epson machines can thank to an advanced automatic system for controlling the tension of the material.

9. What about Print Stability?

Epson printers can be left unattended, for example, during the night shift, provided that the conditions for maintaining the microclimate are met. This became possible, among other things, due to the successful design of the printer’s pressure rollers: they are very close to each other, so the paper does not wrinkle even if the density of the printing is very high, which means that a lot of ink is poured out. 

The fully motorized material feeding system allows you to maintain the required tension during the printing process – these systems are synchronized with each other they are installed on the motor for feeding and receiving material, and the material itself is fed and unwound exactly at the required speed of the print head zone. Dye Sublimation Printing Working. The printing table is made as a hybrid – the flat part under the printing head and ribbed immediately after, so that the drops fall evenly, and when the paper is saturated with ink, the waves on it go down, not up. 

large printers

Also, a large specially shaped stove was made, thanks to which drying is performed faster, and the risk of static electricity accumulation is reduced. In addition, ink is fed from the bottom it is pumped into the print head by pumps. The containers always maintain a minimum ink level, there is no danger of air getting into the supply hose. All this gives confidence in the real autonomous operation of the printer.

10. What’s the story with the actual and declared print speed?

All printers from all manufacturers have a max. passport speed is reached in high-speed (or draft) mode. Not all customers, especially in the case of printing on fabric, will be satisfied with this quality. Accordingly, in real-world conditions, print quality can only improve when the number of passes increases and the speed decreases. 

Actual print speed – this indicator does not apply to official data, this is purely practical information from customers who print on different printers. And they are well aware that the actual rate at which good commercial selling quality is achieved differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. Here at Epson, everything is just fine: top-level printers produce the same print quality with two passes, while printers from other manufacturers often require four.

11. What other tricks do sublimation printers have?

Wait, we haven’t told you everything yet. After all, another powerful model will appear in the Epson line at the beginning of 2021 – SureColor SC-F9400H, it can print with fluorescent inks – Yellow and Pink – or CMYK + fluorescent, or it can replace process yellow and magenta with fluorescent colors. 

To do this, the raster processor (which comes with the kit) has different work algorithms, thanks to which you can achieve different color effects. This increases the demand for the printer for those who make sportswear – these colors are very much needed there. And the rest is the same model SC-F9400, which, like other Epson Dye Sublimation Printing, was not created universally, but specialized for sublimation – that’s why it turned out to be so thoughtful, and therefore it will easily find a place for itself in serious textile industries.

12. Wait, and if I don’t need that kind of power, what should I do?

And for such a case, there is a new printer Epson Artisan 1430 with a width of 60.9 cm. This is a small desktop model, prints from a roll or sheet – you can switch at any time. And it comes with a CISS – ink is refilled from protected 140 ml bottles: it is simply impossible to pour ink of the wrong color or pour too much of it. 

It is delivered immediately with a full set of software, you can start working right away, “out of the box”. It is the most popular solution in the compact car segment. The printer is geared towards the advertising market – transfer to mugs, rugs, pillows, tiles, and fabric. And he will cope with all these tasks perfectly.

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