Awards & Engraving

October '19

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12 • A&E OCTOBER 2019 W alk with me back a few short years into sublimation land. Sublimation was a lonely child that wasn't allowed to go outside and play with the other kids in the neighborhood. Sublimation would look out the window and see solvent, eco-solvent, engraving, vinyl, and other kids playing outdoors. Sure, sublimation could go out for short periods of time here or there, but if sublimation stayed out for too long… bad things hap- pened. It faded and soon didn't look vibrant and healthy. So sublimation decided to stay inside where it maintained its vibrancy and good looks. Don't get me wrong, sublimation wanted to go outside and play, but it just needed the right substrate. That all changed when products such as Duraluxe and ChromaLuxe panels came along and allowed sublimation to go outside without losing its vibrancy. For the purposes of this article, we use Duraluxe to demonstrate the evolution of outdoor sublimation as well as walk you through a tutorial on how to sublimate these items. WHERE DID IT COME FROM? Duraluxe's parent company Decoral is an Italian Company, and in 1994 they patented a process to coat and decorate aluminum with the sublimation process. It started because Italy has old buildings and structures, and they needed to maintain old-style looks while upgrading to newer, more energy-efficient materials. Decoral was able to replicate the woodgrain look on aluminum materials with sublimation. They have continued to create coating processes and materials throughout the years until they launched the Duraluxe line of powder-coated sheet aluminum. Kevin Lumberg has over 18 years of experience in the sublimation industry at all levels from sublimation shop owner, managing the Johnson Plastics Plus dye-sublimation business for over 13 years, and managing the Operations of a Sublimation Cut and Sew Apparel Manufacturer. Currently, Lumberg is responsible for business development of the Duraluxe product line in North America. A transfer with a panel; for Duraluxe, it is suggested that you sublimate by heating through the back of the aluminum. ALL IMAGES COURTESY KEVIN LUMBERG The panel taped to the transfer. After you tape the piece in place to your transfer paper, you don't have to flip the panel and transfer over. The final sublimated panel. innovation takes sublimation outside how to sublimate duraluxe panels By Kevin Lumberg HOW TO FABRICATE IT You can certainly get Duraluxe in many different sizes, but one quality that makes its use ideal for a sublimation shop is that you can shear it to the size you need with a tabletop shear. You can also round the corners with a tabletop corner rounding shear. The coating doesn't chip or flake off on the edges after shearing. You can also bend Duraluxe after sublimating it without harming the coating or the image. This allows you to make multi-dimensional sublimated products such as table tents that stand on their own. HOW TO SUBLIMATE DURALUXE Following is a step-by-step tutorial; if you are working with ChromaLuxe, please consult your supplier for specific information. Step One: For Duraluxe, it is suggested that you sublimate by heating through the back of the aluminum. This is different than most products that are sublimatable. Duraluxe has a special powder coating that gets soft when heated to 400 F for subli- mation. Aluminum is a good conductor of heat, so that is used to our advantage to heat the coating correctly through the back. It also allows you to center your piece on the printout with a little over-bleed. Step Two: After you tape the piece in place to your transfer paper, you don't have to flip the panel and transfer over. Place a piece of blowout paper on the bottom of your heat press, and then place the sublimation transfer paper on the heat press face up. Blowout paper is simply cheap paper that you use to catch any sublimation dyes that may pen- etrate through the back of your sublimation

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