Impressions - March 2011 - (Page 57)

EMBROIDERY >> HANDS ON By DECORATING DIGITAL Christopher Bernat, >> Contributing Writer HANDS ON EMBROIDERY HANDS ON DIGITAL DECORATING HANDS ON SCREEN PRINTING HANDS ON TECH TIPS HANDS ON SCREEN PRINTING >> HANDS ON TECH TIPS HANDS ON Perfecting Sublimation on >> Pre-Sewn Garments Follow these premium production techniques for digital sublimation and to increase your shop’s profits. When preparing the heat press for sublimation transfers, proper settings are required and are best when recommended by the garment’s manufacturer. For sublimating on the performance T-shirts used for this article, I dialed in 385˚F and set the timer for 35 seconds. Nearly everyone has considered sublimation as a garment-decorating platform. But only since the recent spike in popularity of performance apparel have people looking for serious volume stopped to take notice of this decorating process. What they see is a laundry list of potential distributors, platforms, inks, raster image processors (RIPs) and a track record for spotty performance. There are plenty of people who proclaim to be experts in sublimation, but that depends on your point of view. To achieve success in production-level sublimation for garments, certain things must be in place. Here are five key factors: 1. A Profit-Friendly Printer Platform. If you are going to make real money with sublimation, you need a large-format printer (42 inches or wider). You need to minimize the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) in the ever-competitive garment business. Large-format sublimation printers, such as the Mutoh Rio, offer a consumables cost structure that supports 2 to 5 square feet of ink per unit of apparel. This simply is not the case with smaller desktop printers, which are ideal for smaller footprint items and are a critical platform for many profitable sublimators. This article is intended for production-level garment companies. So, for this audience, only a large-format printer will do. 2. Attention to Detail. Sublimation is not a type of printing for the disorganized. You must have a process in place and a rigid sense of dedication about following it. Your most focused members of the production staff should be your lead technicians for sublimation. You also should have a written, documented process for this application. As you scale up, this will be even more critical. 3. Clean Freaks Welcome! Apply Within. Clean paper, clean print heads, clean floor, clean equipment, clean hands, clean prepping table, a vacuum cleaner, etc. Get the idea? Seriously, sublimation requires more focus than nearly any other apparel decorating platform on keeping transfers and work environments clean. The good news is that it is worth the effort. By maintaining an extremely clean work environment, you dramatically increase your success rate. 4. A Reliable Heat Press. You should look at the heat press as a long-term investment. Trying to “go cheap” on a heat press makes no sense. This machine will touch every sublimation transfer you print. It will have thousands of shirts placed onto it for pressing. For sublimation, you want a manual press that allows you to have as much as 3⁄4-inch of gap between the platens. Choose a press that is easy to work with and is known for consistent, reliable heat. 5. Room to Breathe, Think and Lay Out. Successful sublimation is all about making it easy to keep things organized. To have that success, you need a great cutting table and Before printing out a sheet of transfer paper, check the spacing of your artwork. It is critical to leave enough open space in between art elements on the transfer paper. the right tools for cutting. Be sure to have space to lay out the garments prior to pressing for inspection and counting. If you try to consolidate the space you are using, it only will increase your error rates and reduce your profitability. Now that the five key factors for production-level sublimation have been identified, let’s discuss some of the tactics needed for your shop to become a profitable sublimation house. PREPARING PAPER & PRESS Sublimation transfer paper should be treated with care after it has been printed. Ideally, keep a proper amount of white March 2011 << Impressions 57

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - March 2011

Impressions - March 2011
First Impressions
From the Show Director
Product Gallery
Mainstream Fashion Drives a Womenswear Evolution
Styled for Her
QR Codes: Mobile Marketing Technology
Design & Digitizing
For Screen Printers Only
Perfecting Sublimation on Pre-Sewn Garments
Online Directory
Business to Business
Ad Index

Impressions - March 2011