June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 J U N E P R I N T W E A R || 75 Dye sublimation does not work on cotton, rayon, or linen fabrics. The 64" printer is a higher-volume printer that performs well for on-demand apparel, like a sampling of a new fashion collection. With dye sublimation, "the inks are print- ed onto paper and it becomes solid. Subli- mation takes place at the heat press," says Lily Hunter, Roland DGA product man- ager for textiles and consumables. "Subli- mation takes place at about 400 degrees F where the solid inks gas out. During that time is when the polyester fibers gas out. Everything cools down and the fibers close back down. Now the inks are part of the fabric." The process offers a soft hand and dura- bility, she says. When first printed onto transfer paper, the design looks very dull, but the colors come to life after they are taken to the heat press for transfer. It takes about 45 to 60 seconds to complete the sublimation pro- cess, depending on the fabric that is used. Just like in the signage industry, wide-for- mat printers allow a company to print more and faster by nesting more jobs together, Hunter says. With sublimation, starting with the trans- fer paper, a company can do all kinds of jobs at the same time, like socks, bibs, shirts and all-over printing. "You can start ganging up all these differ- ent jobs, and once you get dialed in, repeat as many times as you need to. You don't have to sit there and watch," she says. The quality achieved with wide-format printing is so much better than what a company could get out of a desktop printer, she adds. The colors are more vibrant. Dye sublimation adds fine lines and details for a crisper image, and the blacks are bolder. "As you get into the more professional lines of printers … the quality of the output improves," Hunter says. "For people just starting out, they can transfer the sublimation process in-house and then contract out the cut-and-sew until Mimaki TS300P_H_PW0416.indd 1 3/2/16 9:24 AM

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