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Fabric graphics

Dye-sublimation fabric printing and its advantages.

A dye-sublimation printer (or dye-sub printer) is a computer printer which employs a printing process that uses heat to transfer dye onto medium materials such as paper, or fabric. The sublimation name is applied because the dye transitions between the solid and gas states without going through a liquid stage. Many consumer and professional dye-sublimation printers are designed and used for producing photographic prints.

Most dye-sublimation printers use CMYO (Cyan Magenta Yellow Over-coating) colors, which differs from the more recognized CMYK  colors in that the black dye is eliminated in favor of a clear over-coating. This over-coating (which has numerous names depending on the manufacturer) is also stored on the ribbon and is effectively a thin laminate which protects the print from discoloration from UV light and the air, while also rendering the print water-resistant.

The dye-sublimation printing process is used to print on polyester or other synthetic fabrics. The dye sublimation inks are a pigment suspended in a liquid solvent, like water. Under high temperature and pressure, the dye turns into a gas and permeates the fabric and then solidifies into its fibers. The fabric is permanently dyed so it can be washed without damaging the quality of the image.

Using the fabric graphics on a display has many advantages over the older, magnetically applied vinyl types that have been in use for years. Fabric graphics do not crease, which leaves permanent marks on the vinyl graphic. They also fold up, instead of shipping in a dedicated case or tube. If they wrinkle they can be iron out or steamed to remove the winkles. They are not subject to de-lamination, as they are single surface. They are lighter. They attached with Velcro or clips, so the magnet does not wear out or loose effectiveness.

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