Sawgrass to show major advances in sublimation applications at SGIA Expo 2018

October 05, 2018

Sawgrass is reving up to take SGIA Expo in Las Vegas by storm with fantastic innovations for sublimation imprinting that are changing the game for product decorators around the world. At Booth 3739, Sawgrass will showcase how partnerships with Chemica, ChromaLuxe, Forever, PrintLAT, Poli-Tape, Siser and Vapor Apparel are breaking barriers and giving product decorators more options for making money with sublimation technology.

“It’s really about expanding versatility and helping people get more out of their sublimation systems,” said Darcy Mauro, President of Sawgrass. “Sublimation has long been one of the most versatile methods of product decoration. But it had its limitations. The work we have done with our industry partners has broken through some long-standing barriers and enable product decorators today to do even more with their fully integrated Sawgrass sublimation systems.”

Want to sublimate onto cotton fabrics? How about onto products for outdoor use? Both were significant limitations for sublimation imprinting in the past. Sawgrass, however, is shaping the future with the work it is doing with Chemica, ChromaLuxe, Forever, PrintLAT, Poli-Tape, Siser and Vapor Apparel, to help develop transfer media, substrates and precise printing that enable product decorators to imprint items previously only suited for other technologies.

Sublimating onto Cotton

Sublimating on cotton has long been the desire of product decorators since sublimation technology launched. Since the sublimation process only works with polymers, fabric decoration has been limited to synthetic fibers, excluding cotton - one of the most popular fabrics in the world.

Sawgrass’ work with Forever and PrintLAT has fundamentally changed the paradigm of sublimating cotton. Forever’s Subli Light and PrintLAT’s SUBLICOTTON transfer media both enable users to generate prints that can be sublimated onto cotton fabrics. Sawgrass collaborated with both companies to develop specific profile and print settings in Virtuoso Print Manger, which ensure consistently vibrant and accurate color for each product.

Sublimation for Dark Colors

Sublimation inks are semi-transparent, which means that the color of the substrates they imprint upon will affect the final colors seen after pressing. Dark-colored fabrics, especially blacks, have long been excluded for use with sublimation for this reason.

This is no longer the case, with Poli-Tape’s SubliTwill and SubliFlock media, Chemica’s SubliTex media and Siser’s white glitter HTV, all of which are now working with Sawgrass’ Virtuoso HD Product Decorating Systems and Virtuoso Print Manager software. Each of these types of transfer media allows users to print directly onto the media or sublimate the media from a transfer, then cut down to size with a plotter, weed and affix to fabric of any color with a heat press. Many can also be used with cotton, as well.

Sublimation for Outdoor Applications

One of the huge advances in sublimation use this year has been the release of outdoor substrates. Like many other types of inks, sublimation ink can be affected by exposure to UV light.

Sawgrass worked together with ChromaLuxe to develop profiles for use specifically with the new ChromaLuxe EXT panels and ensure that when imprinted with Sawgrass inks, the panels would not fade for the full length of the warranty. This development is opening doors for all kinds of outdoor signage and artwork applications.

All these product applications will be on display at Booth 3739 during SGIA Expo 2018. Sawgrass will also showcase the print quality achieved with fabrics from Vapor Apparel, both with UV-resistant performance polyester and spun polyester, which has a cotton-like hand. The long-running partnership between Sawgrass and Vapor Apparel has greatly advanced the quality for sublimated apparel. Sawgrass SGIA Product of the Year awards the previous two years were based on entries that imprinted on fabric from Vapor Apparel.

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