There are three integral specifications necessary to achieve optimal heat transfer printing - time, temperature and pressure. All are interrelated to each other during the process, i.e. more time - less temperature; more pressure - less time and vice versa. The relationships are not proportional, but do have an effect on the quality of the sublimation printing.
The period in which the sublimation transfer paper and substrate is subjected to heat and pressure. On a continuous, rotary drum machine, this is a function of belt speed and the length of the heated area. On a platen style machine such as the Astex/AIT 354CR, it is the time that the heads are closed on the machine. Twenty to thirty seconds is a typical range for traditional off-set, screen printed and E-Stat printed paper.
The process by which the sublimation paper and substrate is uniformly introduced to the heat source of the machine. Pressure requirements are relatively low (2 to 6 psi) but it is critical that the pressure is evenly distributed.
Traditional sublimation inks used in the apparel and textile industries for the past 30 years have required temperatures in the range of 400°F. These printed products have to perform well in wash and dry-cleaning tests.
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