Sign & Digital Graphics

November '15

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strates for dye sublimation, Martin says he realized that "a lot of the Mimaki products have been pigeonholed for tex- tiles when there are further applica- tions that are (in demand) nowadays." There are many different suppliers of products that can be used in dye- sublimation. The only real difference is how susceptible the substrate is to heat, he says. "The heat may increase or decrease or the time to sublimate may increase or decrease," Martin says. Most vendors will include instructions for product sub- limation. "The only real big difference that I can see is the transfer paper. There are different types of paper for different applications and the actual color profile. If you start doing a profile made for fab- ric, it will lay down too much ink for, say, coated metal," he adds. Items, like mugs, that are not flat, need to be run through a conveyor oven or infrared heat exchange. There are small heat presses that will do one mug at a time. So why would customers choose dye sublimation over other print methods? "The process is permanent," Martin says. "It is not going to come off." Sublimation allows the design to bond to polyester-coated ceramics at the molecular level, he says. "So these products are not going to fade out. They are not going to crack or chip off like a screen print while running through the wash and dry cycle in your washer. Those are going to eventually crack or change colors. Sublimation will not." David Gross, president of Conde Systems, Inc., in Mobile, Alabama, and La Mirada, California, says it is that consistency that has fueled the demand for dye sublimated products, which now number in the thousands. "There is no squelching the hunger for more products," he says. Companies are using it for fabric backdrops, wom- S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • November 2015 • 61 (Photo courtesy of Mimaki) (Photo courtesy of Conde Systems) (Photo courtesy of Conde Systems)

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