Print is more than just ink on paper. In fact, within the CGX network, we have the ability to print on fabric, plastic, and synthetic material through a process known as dye sublimation. While conventional offset printing relies on the theory that oil and water do not mix, dye sublimation uses heat transfer to apply an image to the intended substrate.
Printed images are transferred through heat, which converts the solid dye into a gaseous form. However, dye sublimation is unique because the conversion occurs without ever entering the liquid state, a process identical to the creation of dry ice (also known as sublimation). Heat coupled with pressure causes the dye to penetrate the interior of the substrate, creating a permanent color bond. Once the heat is removed, the dye returns to a solid form and the process is complete.
Unlike conventional offset printing, dye sublimation uses CMYK + O – “O” meaning over coating or a clear protective finish. This coating is applied to help ensure the longevity of the piece, and protects against UV light, air, and also renders the product water-resistant. The protective finish used in dye sublimation makes it ideal for sports equipment such as snowboards, wakeboards, and water skis.
In addition to sporting equipment, dye sublimation is used extensively for apparel, wallpaper, point of purchase displays, and banners. The process can be done both digitally and conventionally and becomes cost effective at a quantity of 200-300. If you would like to learn more about dye sublimation or are interested in seeing a sample please contact your Wentworth Sales Representative.