Dye Sublimation, as a process is really very simple. It is the method of applying an image to specially coated ceramics, metals and polyester cloth, using three main ingredients: sublimation ink, heat and pressure.
Dye sublimation printing can reproduce images on a variety of flexible and rigid substrates, which can endure the amount of heat, pressure and dwell time necessary for image transfer. With two primary areas of focus, including sublimation to textiles/soft fabrics as well as rigid substrates, dye sublimation enables the production of items such as point-of-sale applications, banners, custom flags, license plates, snowboards and promotional pieces.
In the digital imaging arena, the sublimation process takes place in a special laminator in which temperature, dwell time and pressure vary depending on the polymer receiving material. Surfaces for sublimation need to be specialty-coated or polymer-coated to accept inks and sublimation conditions vary depending on the heat transfer press being used, making it necessary for print providers to determine optimal temperature, pressure and dwell time conditions based on individual heat presses. When the heating process is completed, the image on the paper has been fully transferred to the item and has become part of the surface requiring no surface protection and resulting in a permanent, durable image that cannot be rubbed or washed off.