Like most types of printing, successful sublimation printing requires an ongoing process of learning and testing. Such requirement does not only include the printing process, but also for many other manufacturing processes. As you get training and become experienced, you will easily overcome these problems. Here are the 6 most common sublimation problems and the ways to minimize them to help users to get rid of time-and-material costs.
With the right understanding and approach, sublimation printing suppliers will have the opportunity to quickly eliminate sublimation problems that may occur. Even though we may see some specific problems regarding a material or equipment used, if you can come up with solutions to the following 6 major sublimation problems, you will take a great step in terms of print quality and consistency.
Being the most common problem among all digital inkjet printing systems, banding refers to lines of missing ink on the printout. It happens most often due to clogged print head nozzles and naturally streaks of missing ink on the printout. If ink dries inside the print heads, consequently, banding occurs in prints.
If you are regularly printing, even one day in a week, you probably will not have any banding issues. Some suppliers suggest daily maintenance to their users. The best way to deal with this is to run the printer machine to prevent the ink from drying up. You can run a small quantity of ink through the heads on a routine basis by using the head cleaning function of the printer. In the case of some printers, this is done automatically. On the other hand, you will need to perform a manual head cleaning for other printers.
If you’re having an issue with banding, it may have some other causes besides just clogged heads, such as running out of ink. In that case, make sure that you still have plenty of ink in your machine.
Transfer paper and substrate are two key materials to get optimum results in sublimation. If the paper shifts or is not firmly planted against the heat press or the inks is not dry during the pressing, then the result will be ghosting. Ghosting is when the print ends up with a blurry image and an image like shadow. When ghosting occurs, all printing efforts of manufacturers are gone in vain and obviously it will add burden in terms of time and cost. To prevent this, make sure that there is tight fit between transfer paper and the substrate and ink is dry.
Although some users manufacturing short run productions or parça baskı use a minimal amount of tape to secure the transfer to the product, of course, it will not be a good solution since the tape used can leave a mark. Ideally, Transfer papers especially used for wide format printing should adhere to the substrate. The transfer will be lifted off the surface, quickly and cleanly. Alternatively, transfer paper is firmly sticked to the substrate and does not slide along the surface of the substrate, preventing ink overflow and yielding best results without any ghosting problem.
Ink drying problem can cause unwanted results. If the ink is not dry on paper during production with a heat press, ink cannot be able to transfer to its intended target and results in bleeding of image and ghosting problem (as mentioned above) as well as color shifting.
In such a case, firstly, you should protect your transfer paper from moisture absorption. So, you should your transfer paper in dry place. Be sure that transfer paper is stored in its original package. Thus, climate conditions will not adversely affect the paper. You should set the paper at least 24 hours before you use it, allowing the paper to adapt itself to environmental conditions. On the other hand, if there is a high level of humidity, use devices to balance the moisture in printing and storing area. Yet, bear in mind that the ideal operating conditions for sublimation are 25 C with 45% relative humidity. It will also help your print machine and ink to stabilize at optimum level.
In addition, if you prefer “fast dry” coated papers amongst those available in the market, you can avoid potential problems in this regard.
Incorrect Output colors
The problem of color mis-match is not simply result of a defective system, instead, it involves many components. The first and foremost, while the computer monitor displays in RGB mode, the printer prints in CMYK mode. And with sublimation, another pressing process is required to get the final color. It is a sort of like translating from one language to another. Just as there is rarely direct word-word match-up in translation, so we see the same situation for the color management. It should be noted that the color displayed in computer screen may not match the output of the printer, so spending time to match the color is probably a waste of time. It is far better to be sure that the correct color management settings are being utilized to ensure color accuracy for the final product. Many RIP software programs provide free color management tools. For more advanced color management, you can buy a RIP program which provides very precise tools for managing color and controlling production.
Consistency Problem in Quality of Transfer Papers
Due to use of low quality and unknown transfer papers available in the market, we are often having consistency problem in quality as a major problem. It is because papers are not consistent in quality. Therefore, manufacturers using such paper will fail to be consistent their own products’ quality. In repetitive works, we see color problems and it becomes impossible to achieve the same colors. To tackle with this problem, it is necessary to work with reliable paper providers. Those transfer paper manufacturers who are aware of the situation buy their raw materials from globally well-known companies by making long-term agreements. Hence, the quality remains same. Those sublimation printing manufacturers who use high quality and sustainable papers of reliable companies thus prevents the consistency problem.
Consistency Problem in Quality of Transfer Papers
Due to using low quality and cheap transfer papers available in the market , we are often having serious consistency problem in quality. It means paper willl not give consistent results in quality. Therefore, manufacturers using such paper will fail to achive consistent products in quality. In repetitive works, we see color problems and it becomes impossible to get high-quality color images. To tackle with this problem, it is neccesary to work with reliable paper providers. Transfer paper manufacturers are aware of the situation and hence they buy their raw materials from globaly well-known companies by signing long-term agreements. Hence, the quality remains same. Sublimation printing manufacturers using high quality and sustainable papers of well-respected companies thus prevent such consistency problems.
Paper Curling Problem in Flatbed Printing Press
Paper curling in the edges of fabric before pressing process is one of the biggest challenges facing the sublimation transfer printing today. If you press the paper which traps extra moisture due to the ink immediately after the print is finished, the moisture of the paper will evaporate inconsistently and the paper will curl resulting in problems during pressing and exposure. However, if you set the paper without pressing for a while, the paper will evaporate extra moisture arising from the ink. Thus, the paper will not curl during the press and you will have any problem during pressing and exposure processes.