At Pactics, we pride ourselves on being on the cutting edge. We know that by understanding new technologies and investing in research we can provide our partners with the highest quality and most creative microfiber products available. It is for these reasons that digital transfer sublimation is one of our core printing techniques.
The Printing Process
During the digital transfer sublimation process, a mirror-image of the final design is first printed on to heat-resistant transfer paper using specially formulated sublimation inks. These inks consist of tiny pigmentation particles suspended in a solvent – usually water – which effectively sit on the surface of the transfer paper. This paper is then placed into a press with our microfiber fabric; a great deal of heat and pressure is applied which causes the pigmentations to sublimate, or transform directly from a solid to gaseous state. At the same time this heat and pressure causes the fine polyester fibres within microfiber to expand and ‘open’, allowing the gaseous dyes to permeate.
Once this sublimation process is complete the press is opened, releasing the newly-dyed microfiber. The consequent reduction in both pressure and temperature causes the gaseous pigmentation particles to solidify within the fabric, effectively locking them in to its molecular structure and permanently dying the microfiber. This infusion of dye within the microfiber leaves the chose design highly resistant to peeling or fading, and allows the fabric to be handled and washed without any negative impact to the quality of the printed design. This in turn ensures the long-lasting aesthetic quality of our microfiber, so that our partners can be confident that their products will look good not just when they are new, but also after years of usage.
As well as creating images that are resistant to distortion, digital transfer sublimation is also excellent for producing vibrant, intricate designs. Traditional ink-jet printers print tiny dots of four different colours onto a surface, and these dots are either layered or printed very closely to create the illusion of one continuous hue from a distance. With digital transfer sublimation, the gaseous pigment particles integrate within the fibres of the fabric, meaning the edges of each pixel fades into the next and produces a much more consistent colouring. Colours also appear bold and bright against translucent polyester fibres, allowing us to create designs as intricate and colourful as digital photographs.
While traditional printing techniques generally require a printer to be programmed with the appropriate design or stencil screens to be cut, digital transfer sublimation uses digital design files – including photos, logos, or graphic designs – taken digitally from a computer. Not only does this allow us to select from and print a far greater spectrum of colours than traditional printing, but digital design makes it easy to apply slight or significant design alternations. This, in turn, allows us to offer considerable creative flexibility to our partners.
For Pactics’ products, the fact that the dye particles are captured within the structure of the microfiber means that the surface of the fabric remains as smooth to touch as it was prior to digital transfer sublimation. Not only can further decorative techniques then be applied to sublimated fabric (such as silk and film screen printing), but most importantly our beautifully adorned microfiber still offers the same unique cleaning qualities after it has been dyed.
We believe that digital transfer sublimation printing allows us to provide our partners with attractive, high-quality, and durable microfiber products in a creative, flexible way. To learn more about the incredible potential of digital transfer sublimation, please contact us.