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A Look at Dye-Sub Printing for Garments

(August 2012) posted on Mon Aug 06, 2012

This article describes effective and profitable ways to integrate a large-format dye-sub printer into your garment-decorating operation.


By Syd Northup

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One of my biggest recommendations and/or selling points with sublimation garment printing is to make a sample with a customer’s logo incorporating a photo or graphics. Take the time necessary to build a good, clean graphic template and import the customer’s logos to sublimate. This introduction can really show the wow factor of sublimation and how it can complement short-run custom capability versus screen printing. Then, downsize the image to a koozie template, sublimate the logo on it, and watch how the sales immediately begin pouring in on the sublimation side.

When introducing the sublimation system, the most frequently asked questions that I get are: What is required for running a large format sublimation system? Do I need profiles? Is it very difficult? Sublimation can be a challenging process at the onset, but if you are you willing to take the time to learn and integrate this technology, it can be very rewarding. I would say that most people who see sublimation at a trade show and become so fascinated with the quality and products produced with sublimation eventually end up deciding not to buy either because they fear that they don’t have the market in place. They also anticipate with fear the cost of a larger heat press. Many of these shop owners need to realize that they already have a customer base that would love to see something different like sublimation and don’t understand that profits can payoff the investment quickly.

One of the other misconceptions with sublimation T-shirt printing is that 100% polyester and polyester/cotton blended garments have come a long way and can now be quite comfortable to wear. Don’t be afraid to bring some test shirts to the next trade show you attend and have some samples run on-site to see for yourself.

Sublimation production
Let’s look at the large-format sublimation printers and what is needed for running sublimation production. In the U.S. market: Mimaki, Roland, Epson, and Mutoh appear to be leading the race. All of these manufacturers make printers with sizes ranging from 44-124 in.


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