Silkscreen VS Dye-Sublimation Printing

Silkscreen and dye-sublimated printing are the most commonly used technologies on ribbons.

Silkscreen printing, which originated in China over two thousand years ago, is a traditional printing technique, while dye-sublimation printing is a modern technology.

Despite dye-sublimation being a modern technology, silkscreen printing still has many applications.

What are the differences between the two, and what are their respective advantages and disadvantages?

Some of our customers have these questions, so we have written this article to help everyone better understand the craft.

Understanding these two technologies will help us choose the appropriate ribbon for our awards.

In terms of technical principles.

Screen printing is the use of screen printing plate graphics part of the mesh permeable to ink, non-graphic part of the mesh impermeable to ink the basic principle of printing.

Printing in the screen printing plate on one end of the ink poured, with a squeegee on the screen printing plate ink parts to apply a certain pressure, while moving toward the other end of the screen printing plate. Ink in the movement of the squeegee from the graphic part of the screen hole extrusion to the substrate. Thus, the pattern is fixed on the substrate.

Thermal sublimation printing is the printing of thermal sublimation transfer ink onto paper (or plastic film) by printing, and then the paper (or film) with the printed graphic is overlapped with the fabric and heated and pressurized, and the dye on the paper (or film) is sublimated and transferred to the fabric in a gas phase state.

Principles of Screen Printing

In terms of process.

Screen printing: design, color separation, plate making, color fixation, storage of screen plates, completion. Heat sublimation: design, printing transfer paper, transfer printing, computer storage, finish.

We can easily see that screen printing is plate printing, while the feature of heat sublimation is that it does not require plate making, saving the process and cost of plate making, so it is suitable for producing printed personalized products.

From the point of view of the printing effect. Screen printing due to “color” and other restrictions, can not be printed similar to gradient colors, clouds, and other high-precision patterns, and heat sublimation printing is inkjet printing, so it is not subject to color restrictions, so from the printing effect, can print multiple colors, gradient colors is the essential difference between the two.

Comparison of the characteristics of screen printing and heat sublimation printing

AdvantagesPrinting is highly adaptable. Screen printing can not only be printed on flat surfaces but also on curved, spherical, and concave/convex substrates.Strong sense of three-dimensionality.The ink layer thickness of screen printing is generally up to about 30 micronsStrong sense of three-dimensionality. The ink layer thickness of screen printing is generally up to about 30 micronsStrong light resistance can be used with various inks and coatings, not only with pastes, adhesives, and various pigments but also with coarse-grained pigments
DisadvantagesMulti-color cumbersome. Possible inaccurate color setsHigh cost of small batch productionLong production cycle (one color on the mesh at a time)Not environmentally friendly (netting needs to be cleaned when used)
 Dye-Sublimation Printing
AdvantagesSimple printing, no plate making requiredAccurate printing position, avoiding manual offset problemsPrintable gradient, natural color transitionEnvironmentally friendly, non-toxic and non-hazardous
DisadvantagesPattern hardening, poor breathabilityThe pattern will be cracked when pulling the car horizontally 
Comparison of the characteristics of screen printing and heat sublimation printing

Both techniques have different ranges of applications. When we have a low budget, a relatively large amount of customization, and a simple pattern, we can use screen printing, and when the pattern is complex, the heat sublimation technique is the best choice!

After reading the article, I believe you already have the clearest understanding.

PeaKeen is a company specializing in custom gifts, we have been deeply involved in this industry for more than 10 years, serving more than 100,000 guests, we believe that professional people do professional things, and because of professionalism so worth your trust.

If you have more questions, welcome to communicate with us.

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