With the help of computers, digital printing became a reality. And what normally took many painful hours of hand-drawn effort could now be done in a matter of minutes—even seconds. As the industry evolved, many types of printing processes emerged, each providing its own unique benefits.

The development of renewable ink in the form of vegetable and soy-bean oil meant that the industry could further grow without concerns of petroleum-based ink depletion.

Of the many types of printing processes, dye sublimation printing is one of the most widely used forms of printing, especially for commercial usage.

In this blog, we take a look at the complete process of an average dye sublimation printer.

Dye sublimation printing has always been chosen for its high-quality photographic images. This process uses thermal heat to transfer different amount of colorized dye pigments from a film or carrier ribbon to a printing surface where the dyes are attached through chemical bonding.

Placed inside the printer is a rolled transparent film which has a repeating pattern of yellow, magenta, cyan, black, and white panels. These panels contain dyes that are sensitive to thermal energy in relation to the basic colors utilized in subtractive printing.

The combination of varying amounts of dyes allows for the creation of any color in the spectrum. All the way from white (absence of any dye transfer) to black (complete transfer of all three dyes).

The thermal printing process also makes use of the clear and black panels but in a slightly different way known as “mass transfer”. In this method, a plastic resin is transferred (rather than a dye) when the right temperatures are reached on the carrier ribbon. The black resin is used for applying barcodes and text on the colored image whereas the white (or clear) panel is used to apply a protective coat over the printed images.

A print-head with hundreds of different heater elements

A print-head with hundreds of different heater elements is utilized by the thermal printing process to transfer different amounts of colored dyes onto the printing paper. Each individual heater is controlled separately by software in order to enhance the picture quality.

In case of the colored panels, varying temperatures are used on different colors to vaporize the desired quantity of dye and to permeate the glossy card surface where it is bonded onto the plastic surface.

Because sublimation causes the powdery dye to turn from a solid state directly to a gaseous state, there is little or no mess when compared with inkjet printers. Also, because the dye is infused onto the surface, it is less prone to distorting and fading over time.

Dye sublimation printing creates clear, high-quality images and has proven to be a significant marketing tool for many businesses. Contact our dye sublimation paper supplier today to equip your business with the marketing tools it needs to succeed in today’s world!