The future's here. Dye sublimation (dye sub) performance textile is the latest entrant in the world of functional textiles. Till a few years back, it would have been difficult to believe that such advanced, multi-utility functional textiles could be manufactured. Today the scenario has changed. Dye sub textiles have entered the market and have grown beyond printed fabrics. They are an excellent printing material for making banners of superior quality, graphics displays, theatrical displays, light box frame systems and advertising displays. After printing, the fabric provides excellent colour consistency, with clearer and sharper images in a wide range of colours.

What it means

Dye sublimation process is a new and advanced method of direct printing which requires specially engineered textiles to get outstanding results. A US based international premium textile supplier, Top Value fabrics, has introduced a new range of fabrics especially for dye sub printing. They offer a wide range of dye sub performance textiles which are specially designed to give out excellent results when dye sub transfer technology is used.

The dye sublimation process dyes the image directly onto the fabric. In the dye sub transfer process, a digital image is created and printed on special paper using special dyes. This paper is placed on top of fabric and then heat-pressed. The solid particles in the dye are converted into gaseous form to unite with the polymers of the fabric. This results in the transfer of dyes back to solid form and into the fabric. This process ensures that the dyes seep into the fabric and make the image permanent.

In traditional screen printing, the image is made in ink which then bonds with the fabric and settles on the top of the fabric. Dye sub uses the dyes to permeate the fabric to make the image long-lasting. The fabric itself is special, constructed to make it compatible with dye sub transfer ink. This makes such fabric excellent for printers that use such advanced applications.

Advantages of dye sub

The dye sub method offers unlimited shades of colour in an image without any extra cost. Moreover, it eliminates cracking, peeling or fading of the image in the long run. Any image, including digital photography, can be printed on the fabric. Unlike traditional screen printed images that clog the pores of the fabric, this process allows the fabric to breathe and absorb moisture, making it comfortable for the wearer.

In traditional fabric, the heat and sweat are sealed inside and cause the wearer to feel sticky and uncomfortable. As sublimation is a dye and not an ink, the base colour of the fabric should be light so that the colour of the image does not change. For example, if a shirt is black or very dark, the image will not be visible at all.