Dye-sublimation (dye-sub) transfer printers are a great way to provide high-quality and rich color output. Requiring an additional investment in carrier—or transfer—paper, it is important to have an idea of what is available in the market. Many vendors now offer papers at wider widths to accommodate the growing demand for digital textile printing on a range of superwide devices over 96 inches. Additionally, tried-and-true products stay at the smaller end of the size spectrum to serve traditional transfer projects such as apparel and accessories.
AW Specialty Papers distributes Coldenhove Papier’s Jetcol TA, a thermal adhesive dye-sub transfer paper designed to specifically adhere to fabric during transfer, which eliminates ghosting and loss of detail. This increases the quality of the end product and minimizes waste. “The hottest trend in dye-sub transfer printing is currently thermal adhesive sublimation paper for spot printing onto textiles,” advises William S. Rossi, president, AW Specialty. Jetcol TA is available in up to 64 inches in width from the company and is compatible with most inkjet and bubble jet printers.
In its fourth generation, Beaver Paper and Graphic Media Inc.’s TexPrintXP-HR is the company’s most popular digital dye-sub paper. Promoted for its versatility, the carrier paper works will all piezo inkjet dye-sub printers and OEM dye-sub ink. It is designed to transfer successfully to both hard substrates such as metal and ceramic to soft substrates such as textiles. TexPrintXP-HR is made with a special CMC coating that allows the end user to immediately handle the paper with moist or dry hands without damaging a print. It is available in widths of up to 126 inches.
Coldenhove digital dye-sub transfer papers include its Jetcol HTR series. This is a full range of transfer papers for water-based ink. The newest addition is Jetcol HTR 4000 XL. The substrate is 126 inches wide and weighs 145 grams. It offers ideal transfer yield, printability, runability, and color gamut. Another product part of the Jetcol family is Jetcol TA; a thermal adhesive digital transfer paper that adheres to the fabric during transfer. The paper was recently re-engineered by the Coldenhove team to offer better properties in terms of printability, runability, and drying time. Other papers from the company include Jetcol HS—also used with water-based ink—for fast drying jobs and Jetcol OS for use with oil- and solvent-based ink.
Condé Systems, Inc. offers DyeTrans Multi-Purpose inkjet high-resolution sublimation paper in both rolls and sheet sizes. It is recommended for hard substrates such as FRP, hardboard, and metal.
Graphics One, LLC (GO) recently launched a “green” transfer film technology, GO OT transfer film, which is designed for use with the GO EcoMax system and Sepiax ink. It is Oeko-Tex standard compliant and outputs high-resolution images without cracking or peeling. It is available in 12- and 24-inch by 90-foot rolls in gloss, light, or matte finish.
Manufactured in the U.S., SpectraJet’s SilverBack3 works with solvent-, oil-, and water-based systems. It features stable humidity, high release, and fast drying. Rolls are available in widths up to 144 inches. The substrate is created from the base pulp all the way to the coating, which allows for a sheet that provides bright, saturated colors with high-quality detail. The paper allows the dye to become part of the coating, but prevents it from swelling. It’s compatible with a variety of ink sets, providing users with one carrier paper for all ink.
Trends from the Experts
Manufacturing wider transfer papers coincides with the recent increased trend of digital sublimation printing and its ability to provide personalized one offs and short runs.
“Within these last few years, we continue to experience double digit growth because more people are introducing sublimation products to the industry. Even when households are tightening this budgets, little Johnny is still playing soccer. He wears two to three new sublimated jerseys every calendar year. This is just one of the many sports that’s transitioned in sublimation. The world of personalization reaches out to many markets including awards and recognition, athletic wear, casino tables, trade show exhibits, and signs and banners, which are amongst the hottest dye-sub markets today,” explains Rob Repasi, product manager, TexPrint papers, Beaver Paper.
Marleen van den Berg, sales director, Coldenhove, agrees, citing the hottest trend as the global increase of textile usage for signage and the acceptance of digitally printed products in the world of interior decoration. “These segments are slowly but surely discovering this process and its enormous potential for the personalization and customization of company, institute, and home interiors,” she adds.
“All over printing continues to go viral. More flags and floor mats are digitally decorated. This allows little or no waste with minimal upfront planning for runs. Collegiate and fraternity/sorority markets are just a few of the many segments showing excellent growth,” adds David Gross, president Condé. The company offers its DyeTrans line of dye-sub printers for printing on both soft and hard substrates.
Transfer paper is an essential element in the dye-sub transfer process. Vendors adapt products to support trends. Dye-sub itself continues to grow, as more applications take off in this space. In the next part of this series learn how transfer paper is making its mark in custom tile murals.