Sign & Digital Graphics

February '19

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SPECIALTY IMAGING DIGITAL GRAPHICS Heat Transfer or Direct-Print? Ease and versatility of transfer process gives it a distinctive edge B Y P A U L A A V E N G L A D Y C H DYE SUBLIMATION VS. DIRECT-TO-SUBSTRATE N o matter how popular direct-to- textile printing becomes, it's likely dye sublimation using transfer paper will remain king in the industry. The biggest reason for that is transfer paper can be used on just about any surface, not just textiles. The transfer process offers better "fine line and detail and image quality vs. a coated textile where you are able to lay more ink down," says Victoria Harris, application specialist at Mimaki. "In direct-to-textile you are able to absorb more ink. Where it is important to have high saturation and good bleed through to the reverse side of the fabric, this is a more desirable process." She points out that flags and certain fashion applications work better with direct-to-textile printing. "When looking at the transfer pro- cess, you don't have to have coated fabric. You can select any textile you want as long as it is polyester," says Harris. "Also with the transfer process you are able to do rigid substrates that are polyester coated. Because image quality with the transfer process has better detail because the amount of ink going onto the sub- strate is more controlled, it is [better] for things viewed up close." Paula Aven Gladych is a freelance writer based in Denver. 62 • February 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S These towels were decorated using the Mimaki TS30-1300 dye sublimation inkjet printer. (Image courtesy of Mimaki)

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