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Dye Sublimation is a printing process typically used for photographs, or to produce a photo-quality graphic, onto a wide variety of materials.

The difference between laser printing and dye sublimation:

Most people are familiar with laser and inkjet printers, as they are the most common forms of printing used in the home and office. While the specific mechanisms between these two differ, they both produce images onto paper through thousands of little dots, or pixels. From far away this can deliver a clear image; however, when viewed up close the image can appear grainy or muddy.

Dye sublimation produces a much cleaner image because it does not use dots. Rather, inside the printer there is a roll of film in the four primary colors used in printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (commonly referred to as CMYK). The printer head heats these sheets, which vaporizes and transfers the colored dye onto the product, where it will return to solid form through the use of pressure. As the name indicates, the ink skips the liquid form in transferring from solid to gas and back again.

Benefits of dye sublimation over other forms of printing:

  • A clear image is achieved without pixelation.
  • The colors avoid fading and stay vibrant longer because the ink infuses the material on which it is printed, rather than sitting as an extra layer on top of the product.
  • Dye sublimation can be used on virtually any product, as long as it is pre-treated to accept the dye.
  • Hard substances, such as metal and plastic, accept the dye much easier than with methods involving liquid ink.

Products that are able to utilize dye sublimation:

  • Metal: License plates, name plates, plaques, locker tags, etc.
  • Ceramics: Coffee mugs, plates, and more.
  • Glass: Dishes, glass nameplates and signs.
  • Plastics: Signs and banners, kitchen cutting boards, coasters.
  • Paper: Business cards, photos, folders, posters, etc.

Detroit Nameplate Etching Company offers dye sublimation as one of its many printing processes. We invite you to contact us to learn more, and to discuss how dye sublimation can serve you.