A dye sublimation printer produces high quality digital images by passing an electric current through dye sublimation. This is a process which has many similarities with photo printing but is much slower than the latter. It also provides much greater color accuracy than conventional print processes. Sublimation printers have several advantages over their printing counterparts, including the ability to create high quality digital prints from almost any medium.
A dye sublimation printer works by using adye-based ink that reacts with an extremely hot (over 500 degrees Fahrenheit)sources. The dye sublimates, giving off a visible heat image on the transferpaper when the source of heat is turned off. The dye sublimates on its own,without being changed by heat or any other source of energy. The transfer paperis then used to create a photograph or text on the desired surface. The dyesublimation printer first heats the transfer paper to above 500 degreesFahrenheit, which causes the ink to sublimate and begin its transfer.
Dye sublimation printers have a number ofmajor advantages over traditional printers which are used in most home businessapplications. They are capable of producing high quality digital prints fromnearly any flat surface, including printed papers, photographic paper, metalsheets, leather, and more. The printers can even be used to create images andtext on fabrics and other materials that can not be printed such as thin sheetsof metal and ceramics. These long-lasting printers also make it possible forhome decorators to produce photographic works of art or to reproduce largenumbers of photos and documents without having to purchase, or even worry aboutdeveloping them for long periods of time.
The dye sublimation process involves twomajor components, the solid media to which the dye will be added, and thelaser. When the two are combined the result is a high-quality picture or textthat is detailed, vibrant, and has high-resolution. The final product isusually made from high-quality materials, making it appropriate forprofessional use. The image or text that is created will be clearer, and of ahigher quality than that which could be produced using other methods. Becausethe print is so clear and vibrant, it can often be used to create marketingmaterials, such as business cards and posters. The dye sublimation printer canalso be used in photo processing, creating photographs, artworks, and films.
Unlike other printers which require the useof a transfer paper, most dye sublimation printers utilize an inkset in theirprinter cartridges. This is similar to the inks that are used in laserprinters, although dye sublimation printers are able to process a larger volumeof liquid ink. This type of printer also uses very little heat when printing,which makes it more energy efficient. These types of machines are especiallypopular in printing medical reports, technical drawings, and laboratoryinformation. They are also commonly used in large format office pressproduction, because they are very economical and produce top-quality images.
The dye sublimation printers that are mostpopular are those that are compact, which are commonly used for desktop usage.These are small systems, which can fit on a desk or work cart easily. Some ofthese printers have LCD panels that display the colors and numbers on thescreen, making it much easier for the operator to control the printer.
While dye sublimation printing uses heat totransfer colorants on paper, the technique does not use heat for printingphotos. Instead, the photo-shaping process would require an immersion transfermethod in which the colorant is applied on the photo using a special type ofcarrier. The final step would be to imprint the photo on thespecially-formulated carrier using a heat press, resulting in high quality,long-lasting images.
Dye sublimation printers have various pros and cons. The disadvantage is that this type of printer is very expensive, which makes it impractical for use by many small businesses and home users. In addition, the technology involved in this process has not been fully developed. However, advanced heat-sensitive dyes and carriers are being developed, which should make printing from these printers more practical in the future. Furthermore, the inkjet printer may eventually be replaced by dye-sub printer systems.