“Fabrics can consist of anything from heavy bodied weaves to extremely light sheers, so look for a system that is designed to not only handle transport through the printer but to compensate for wrinkling, walking and other inherent issues associated with fabrics,” explains Currier. “Systems that do not overcome these issues will account for high production losses.”
Also look at the system’s RIP and color management capabilities, advises Currier. “Failing to get a RIP that can truly handle dye sublimation ink management will make everything more difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating. Some RIPs offered in inkjet printing do a mediocre job of managing color in dye-sub printing. This is of special concern when compared to systems that use light inks. A RIP that works well enough for UV or solvent printing may not be sophisticated enough for use on a 6 or 7-color dye sublimation printer.”
For example, many light sheer materials and flag fabrics require special attention to ink limiting in order to attain the balance of ink the application requires.
Take note of the dryer system; if it’s insufficient to dry the ink on the fabric there is risk of offsetting onto other portions of the fabric as it is rolled up for sublimation.
“If these points are met, you should be satisfied with a system that allows for productive, efficient fabric printing with high impact, consistent color, and the ability to offer a range of materials that fits your customer’s needs,” says Currier.