To transfer an electronic image into a physical form, modern equipment  uses several technologies: from matrix printing to the formation of 3d objects. If we talk about the output of documents, graphs or photos on a solid medium, then inkjet and laser devices are more popular. Recently, but, sublimation printer have become widespread in many areas of human activity. They are distinguish by excellent color reproduction and detail of prints,  as well as the use of a wide range of printing materials. The features of the sublimation technology, the areas of its preferential application, advantages and disadvantages, and will be discuss in this material.

How does a sublimation printer work

The fundamental basis of the segment of printing equipment under consideration is the method of sublimation (sublimation), discover in 1957, when, during heating, a solid dye passes into a gaseous state, bypassing the liquid phase . For clarity of understanding what it is, and how it is use to print images, you should consider the principle of operation of this method directly in the device.

Sublimation printer working diagram

For printing, a special tape is use, on which solid particles of dyes of 3 or more colors are apply (depending on the model), and a thermal head, consisting of a large number of microheaters. The process is as follows: under voltage, a strong heating of the print head occurs. The high temperature conditions evaporate the ink , and it, detaching from the tape, penetrates the paper sheet or other media in the form of a cloud.

For sublimation, paper of a certain type is use, the pores of which, opening up with strong heating, facilitate the penetration of coloring particles into the deep layers. And at the end of the printing process, the thermal paper cools down, the pores close and fix the ink inside , while protecting it from external factors (for example, water, UV rays, fingerprints, etc.).

Paper for printer

coloring gaseous

The coloring gaseous “cloud” is mix using a special filter that eliminates . excess vapors, and only the select shade coloring gaseous s are transfer to the work surface. It is this property of mixing colors inside the device , and not on paper, that . distinguishes the sublimation technique from laser and inkjet counterparts.

The dye film, divide into color segments, is place in special cartridges. A full-color print is obtain by sequentially applying each tone to the printing surface. All sublimation machines use a minimum of 3 passes of the sheet , but there are also 4-pass devices, which ultimately affects the printing speed.

Cartridge

Types of sublimation prints

Printing by the consider method can be direct and thermal transfer . In the case of direct printing, sublimate inks are mix inside the device and apply directly to the product. Using this technology, logos are print on flags and pennants, prints on curtains and tablecloths, images on postcards and certificates. This method is use in mass production of products.

direct sublimation printing method

The thermal transfer (intermediate) method of applying an image involves two stages:
  • printing a mirror print on a siliconize carrier for sublimation;
  • transfer of the pattern to the product by means of a thermal printer.

The technology is suitable for decorating plates, mugs, pens and other piece items.

Mug print

Possibilities and applications

Depending on the design, dye sublimation printers can print on the following types of media:

  • thermal and photographic paper;
  • tissues;
  • plastic surfaces;
  • ceramics and porcelain;
  • glass;
  • metal.

So, sublimation machines are widely use in printing houses and advertising agencies for printing colorful magazines, brochures, posters, various booklets and posters. These printers are the choice of photo printing parlors. The equipment is in demand by firms engage in the production of souvenir products: for making mugs with an exclusive image, for printing on T-shirts, and other products. In addition, such equipment has found its application in the manufacture of packaging: for printing on covers or letter boxes, for example. Budget models for photo printing have found their fans in home use.

sublimation printerAdvantages and Disadvantages of Dye Sublimation Printers

An important advantage of sublimation printers in Lahore in comparison with inkjet and laser counterparts is the highest print quality and bright color reproduction at low resolution . A value of 300 dpi is enough to get an image comparable to printing with a resolution of 1200 dpi on the aforemention devices. Also, sublimation prints are durable , which is facilitate by the diffusion of the dye into the upper layers of the print surface. And an additional layer protects the image from exposure to ultraviolet rays.

 

Other advantages of sublimation machines:

  • simple control of the printing device that does not require special training;
  • the ability to print on different media;
  • the safety of the decor of fabrics from the point of view of ecology (with respect to methods such as silk-screen printing and stencil), since rinsing the forms from residues of toxic dye is not require;
  • detailing images with photographic clarity and complex graphics;
  • the absence of sharp transitions in the picture that occur between the edge of the drop and the background during inkjet printing, since the method does not use liquid.

Bright colors when printing

But this type of office equipment is not without its drawbacks, including:

  • expensive consumables;
  • print performance is lower in comparison with inkjet;
  • regular ventilation of the room is require: the smell of evaporating ink is unpleasant;
  • natural materials and stone require pre-treatment with a primer.

 Selection recommendations

The assortment of many brands includes sublimation models that differ in purpose and print format.

When choosing the printing device in question, one should take into account the goals and tasks to be solve , the presence of a CISS system for sublimation ink, the basic color palette, the type and format of the media.

    1. An A4 device is enough to print labels, stickers, CD / DVD covers, designs on handbags, cosmetic bags, wallets and other similar products. To transfer images to clothes, posters, full-size canvas, you will need an A3-size sublimation apparatus.
    2. For high volume printing, it is recommend to select samples equip with a continuous sublimation ink system.
  1. The number of colors in the palette depends on the requirements for the image – a larger number of basic colors makes it possible to get a more realistic picture .

As for the design of the device and the quality of ink (brand), they are select for the type of media, which means they depend on the purpose of using the device .

Review of popular models from different price segments

To help a potential user, the most popular and demand models of sublimation machines for home and professional use, as well as for printing on textiles, will be present.

For home

The best mobile photo printers for home use are the Canon Selphy CP1000 / CP1300 . The price of the devices starts at 5900 and 8000 rubles, respectively, which makes the equipment affordable for amateur photographers. These portable models are power by mains power and a built-in battery. Photo printing is of high quality and durable, can be carry out from a computer via USB connection, from memory cards of cameras, smartphones and flash drives. In addition, the CP 1300 is equip with a WI-FI module for wireless printing. The models have only one drawback – consumables are expensive.

Canon Selphy CP1000

Canon Selphy CP1000 on Yandex Market

For business

The leader in this category is the professional photo printer of the Mitsubishi Electric CP-D90DW brand , which can be purchase from 68,000 rubles. The device provides high-quality prints of photos up to 4 sizes on one roll, it is also possible to print on regular photo paper. The formats are control from the built-in panel, and the operator can control the printing process by means of indicators provide by the manufacturer. The model is equip with its own memory – 128 GB and is design to perform a large volume of printing. An inconvenient moment, users call the absence in the design of the tray for receiving print sheets.

Mitsubishi Electric CP-D90DW

Mitsubishi Electric CP-D90DW on Yandex Market

For printing on textiles

Epson SureColor F7170 is the best professional sublimator for printing textiles. Such a plotter is refuel exclusively with sublimation ink of the Epson UltraChrome DS brand. The device is use to issue flags, pennants and other paraphernalia, as well as to print designs on clothes. The cost of equipment is from 200,000 rubles.

Epson SureColor F7170 Epson SureColor F7170 on Yandex Market

So, above was describe a unique printing technology – sublimation, which allows you to get an image of the highest quality, the brightest colors and protect from external influences such as the sun, water, greasy hands, etc. These properties will be appropriate and justify in some narrow areas of application, since the maintenance of these devices and consumables are expensive.