Digital Sublimation - new possibilities for short runs


Strong competition in Point of Sales makes it more important to win new customers through seasonal promotions and events. For such short-term actions inkjet printed POS and signage are the perfect solution. Dye sublimated fabrics, such as banners and flags, are also recommendable for on-demand production of small to medium runs. 

An average of 80% of our life is spent indoors. Offices, hotels and showrooms are therefore more often used as a meeting point, creating a friendly atmosphere. Mood consistent interior designs play an important role here and are increasingly being created using inkjet media. 
Even in the private households, the wish for individualised wall decoration is rising. Mass produced, personalised decoration articles or wallpapers are high in demand, especially in the online shops. In 2015 30 Mio € was given out, online, worldwide for interior decoration.
The market is growing steadily and covers numerous product applications; ranging from digitally printed wallpapers, wall tattoos, window decoration, furniture, canvases, photographs and many more. An important factor in product selection is the functionality, wallpapers should be dimensionally stable, protective, knock resistant and washable and additionally they should bridge cracks in the walls preventing further damage. Self-adhesive products must be easy to apply and be removed without leaving a residue.

Printed fabrics add to the creative scope. Thus, individually designed home textiles like curtains, cushion covers or bed linen can be created to match the wallpaper or printed with a personal photo, resulting in new vertical marketing for dye sublimation printing. Dye sublimation technique encapsulates the colours inside of the polymer fibres, which open upon exposure to high temperatures. Once closed the fibres trap the ink inside the fabric. Classic inkjet printing, however, the inks are fixed to the surface of the substrate or in the coating on the substrate. Through encapsulating the ink, the printed images are virtually indestructible, to the point one could say the printed image will last longer than the fabric itself. Even numerous wash cycles will not lead to the colours becoming faded.

Recently Sihl launched the first glass textile wallpaper for dye sublimation printing. Thanks to its very robust structure, high tear resistance and the possibility of cleaning with disinfectant, even with ethanol, the material is predestined for use in public areas and clinical surroundings.
A further application area for personalisation and design is furniture. To allow the possibility of dye sublimation on hard substrates a special polyester coating is needed. After sublimation of the images, the end product has a very high scratch resistance, lightfastness and water resistance, making them easy to clean. These properties lead to the perfect solution for frequent use furnitures such as tables, metals trays or ceramics. 

Application areas:
o    Personalised mugs/ ceramics/ breakfast boards, etc. photograph gifts / photographic applications
o    Metal plates/ wooden boards/ furniture
o    Cloths  
o    Home textiles – bedlinen/curtains
o    3D Sublimation (mobile phone covers/ shoes) – advertising articles