Awards & Engraving

August '19

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48 a-e-mag.com • A&E AUGUST 2019 F or sublimation to occur, we need heat and pressure. Who knows, maybe one of these days we will have a sublimation version of "cold fusion," but for now, we need heat to cause the disperse dyes found in sublimation ink to change from a solid state to a gas state. Once in a gas state, the dyes transfer over into the oil-loving molecules found in poly- ester fabric and to those substrates that have had a polyester coating applied to their sur- face. Pressure is important during the gas state because it provides proper contact between the printed sublimation transfer and the substrate, ensuring vivid, crisp image quality across the substrate's entire imageable area. FLAT AND MUG PRESSES Since the early 1940s, the go-to heat source for sublimation decorating has been the traditional flat heat press. As the name implies, this style of heat press is designed to image a variety of flat substrates such as tile, aluminum, hardboard, glass, and fabric. In the 1970s, early sublimation pioneers began coating ceramic mugs for sublima- tion, which, of course, precipitated the introduction of the mug press. While mug presses are a convenient and portable way of producing 11- and 15-ounce mugs, they unfortunately can only produce one at a time and cannot accommodate other non- flat products such as pet bowls or a growing variety of uniquely shaped drinkware. For volume mug production, more and more sublimators have turned to another heat source, the oven. By clamping specially made silicone wraps onto each mug for pressure, ovens and wraps have become the ticket for high-volume shops needing to produce a lot of mugs. In addition to mugs, wraps are available for a variety of substrates including pet bowls, shot glasses, tankards, and drink bottles. Similar to mug presses, standard wraps unfortunately leave an unimaged area where the edges of the wrap don't quite meet, whether the product has a handle or not. David Gross is the president of Condé Systems, Inc. For more than 25 years he has developed and built the Mobile, Alabama based company into the premier source for printers, substrates, and con- sumables serving the graphic art, photography, prepress, and desktop publishing industries. By David Gross ROAD TO SUBLIMATION SUCCESS : REINVENTING SUBLIMATION IN THE OVEN A flat heat press works well for substrates such as tile, aluminum, hardboard, glass, and fabric. ALL IMAGES COURTESY DAVID GROSS Mug presses are a convenient and portable way of producing 11- and 15-ounce mugs, but can only produce one at a time.

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