Computer printer maker Epson is looking at the sportswear-making industry in pushing for its dye sublimation digital printing technology, which uses full-colour artwork that works with polyester and polyester-coated surfaces, a perfect material for dry-performance sportswear apparel.

Epson’s SureColor F Series, for instance, is equipped with an advanced sublimation ink technology to enable the design printouts to be imprinted onto the fabric through heat transfer, known as the dye sublimation process.

Unlike silkscreen printing, dye-sublimation printing maintains polyester’s wicking characteristics. This means that the process allows for air and moisture to pass through the garment since the ink or film, commonly used in traditional methods, does not cover the fabric.

When the sublimation dye is placed next to polyester during the heat press, the fabric’s molecules open. The dye then turns into a gas and penetrates the fibers of the fabric. After heat is removed, the molecules will close, trapping the brilliant colour of the dye and retaining the image permanently in the polyester garment.

Dye-sublimation, as a digital textile printing technology, is also more sustainable and environmentally friendly because of the reduced time in printing personalized garments. The technology also allows for unending creative freedom as it does not limit the patterns and designs that are normally constrained by limitations of conventional textile printing technology.

“Digital textile printing offers endless opportunities, whether in bringing more complex uniform designs to life or in expanding to new markets,” Eduardo Bonoan, General Manager, Epson Philippines. “Our SureColor F-Series is ready to support the local sportswear manufacturers in their shift to dye sublimation with high-performance, high-quality output and low power consumption resulting to overall lowered total cost.”