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The Development of Sublimation Printing Technology


Commercial use of transferring sublimated pigments can be traced back to the 1930s where Kartaschoff, a company first discovered the relation between cellulose acetate’s coloration under heated contacts with dispersible dyes. And about 1950 , a substrate of multi-coated paper as a medium to transfer print using a both high pressure and heat with the help of a gravure was invented. This would eventually lay down the foundation for our modern day sublimation paper. Seven years later in France, dye-sublimation printing found its starting point.Then, about 1970,sublimation paper was produced out.

sublimation printing and applications

The first to use sublimation printing were dot-matrix printers was in 1970. The ancestors to the sublimation inks we use today were basically ribbons infused with monochrome particles. It was in mid 1970 where Wes Hoekstra pioneered the use of computers to make image-processing work at the Jet Propulsion Lab in California.

After a short period of time (commencing in the 1970 period), many electrostatic printers became affordable. It wasn’t long before toner cartridges showed up in the market containing sublimation solids within them.  Within few years, sublimation inks and inkjet printers became available and became an affordable alternative to create fully colored images and print transfers. This also saw screen printing becoming less popular amongst the industry leaders.

Sublimation printing is a mature market on a global scale. Forensic science has gone as far out to state that sublimation printing also has practical applications such as examination of evidence in photographic form due to its high quality images.

sublimation  printing

Nowadays, sublimation paper utilizing sublimation inks are used to make watermarks on documents, allowing authentication and examining forgery. The future for sublimation printing industry is bright and prosperous with market forecast depicting a €3 billion value in coming years.

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