1. Our company’s mission and objectives.
The fundamental principle that guides our team at Poligrafia Szczecin is that “even though the customer may not always be right, they should feel fully satisfied with our services, whether these concern communication or making transactions, and the price the client pays for the goods and services ordered from our company is both remuneration and appreciation of our efforts.” We realise that satisfied customers are vital to the success of every company in today’s competitive market. Therefore, we make every effort in order that our clients are always fully satisfied with our service, regardless of who has the arguments in their favour.
Our second most important principle is one stating that all our employees will always present our clients with nothing but the truth, which means that our clients are always fully informed about the actual situation and know what they are dealing with. Talking to any of our employees, you will find out exactly what we can do for you and how we can do it. Our company aims to supply you with materials and services at the best price in the given quality class according to your order specification, and delivery in Poland takes place on the next working day.
The difficult we do at once, the impossible takes a bit longer, but we do not guarantee miracles.
2. Why should you choose Poligrafia Szczecin?
The first and foremost reason for choosing Poligrafia Szczecin is quite simple. We have been dye-sublimation specialists for many years, with dye-sublimation as well as screen printing and pad printing being our fortes from the very start. Over the years, our company has witnessed and tested the changing technologies, materials, printing methods, and techniques. We share this expertise with our clients most willingly, and absolutely free of charge.
We are a mid-sized company with family traditions and an individual approach to every client. Our employees are not an army of sales representatives obsessed with sales results, but a team of experienced specialists. We believe that it is far better to sell less to a group of trusted, loyal, and, above all, satisfied customers.
Our company takes great care of both its customers and its employees. Therefore, a team that hasn't changed for years and comprises skilled and knowledgeable employees is always at your disposal.
3. Correspondence and payment details.
Poligrafia Szczecin Best Sub Poland Sp. z o.o.
Ul. Myśliborska 8
Polska – Poland
(main warehouse, Lipiany branch, package shipment, printer and thermal press servicing, collection point of waste from electrical and electronic equipment, personal pickup point)
NIP (VAT identification number):
For Polish customers 955-232-67-21
For EU customers PL9552326721
REGON (Polish National Business Registry Number): 321160838
KRS (National Court Register Number): 0000402929
GIOŚ (Chief Inspectorate of Environmental Protection Registry Number): E0015351WZ
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (CET), closed Saturdays and Sundays.Training/personal pickup can also be arranged at weekends by appointment.
General enquiries, sales department, technical support: +48 665 655 653, +48 665 665 653, +48 534 655 653
Landline: +48 91 562 78 47 / +48 91 562 78 48
Fax: +48 91 564 12 98
Company's bank account:
Bank Zachodni BZ WBK 7 Szczecin branch
70 1090 1492 0000 0001 1775 6622
IBAN PL 70109014920000000117756622
SWIFT code: WBKPPLPP
SWIFT BANK CODE NUMBER: WBKPPLPP
Share capital: 1,096,000.00 PLN fully paid-up District Court for Szczecin-Centrum in Szczecin, XIII Commercial Division of the National Court Register
www.poligrafia-szczecin.pl main website and online store, information about prices, products, and services.
www.BestSublimation.pl general information website in Polish
www.PhotoMugs.pl general information website in English
4. What do we do?
Our company specialises in import and distribution of materials for dye-sublimation, photo crystals for UV printing, thermal heat presses, dye-sublimation ink, and all gadgets for sublimation printing. As the only official representative of BestSub Ltd. in Poland, we offer around 2500 different gadgets for dye-sublimation printing from a constantly expanding range.
We also provide direct printing on T-shirts and other cotton textiles of any colour using the DGT method; computer embroidery in any number of colours; plotting; textile overprinting with flex and flock foil; ECO solvent printing (maximum roll width: 160 cm) on textiles, banners, stickers; large format printing, etc.
At present, we do not offer dye-sublimation printing for retail customers. We believe that by selling printing materials and at the same time providing printing services, we would be acting to the disadvantage of our customers. Our company only accepts orders for high-volume and high-quality sublimation printing, which is not in competition with any of our clients. We never set dumping margins and always make fair, competitive offers ensuring the highest quality of service.
5. I want to commission printing, what should I do?
First, request a price quote for your order via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) specifying the size of the printout, the number items in the order, and the type of substrate on which the printout is to be made. Attach a printout design in PDF, JPG, BMP, TIFF, Corel, Photoshop, or other common formats.
We send a ready price quote within an hour of receiving the enquiry. The office operates from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (CET) on working days, except for bank holidays and long weekends.
When the client does not have a ready printout design, the order must specify the size of the printout, the type of item on which it is to be made, and the number of items in the order.
Our current operating capacities for printing are as follows:
Mugs: 1,000 mugs a day.
White T-shirts with direct overprint: 500 T-shirts a day; black T-shirts: 250 T-shirts a day.
Digital embroidery: depending on design, please inquire at email@example.com
All other prints: please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org, providing the quote and details of your order.
We make every effort to complete your orders in the shortest time possible
6. What is dye-sublimation printing?
Simply put, sublimation is an ink printout, transferred due to heat and pressure onto particular surfaces. During the process, the ink transforms from a solid state to gas, migrates, and settles as a mirror reflection upon specially prepared surfaces. Basically, the entire process consists of the following stages:
Preparation of a printing design in any graphic software, e.g., Corel, PhotoShop, etc.
Mirror reflection computer printout from a special-purpose printer using sublimation ink or gel, on sublimation paper.
Paper drying, if required, depending on the type of paper.
The dried sheet is pressed against the surface to which the print is to be transferred.
Heating in a transfer press at a specific temperature, time, and pressure.
After lapse of the preset time, the sublimation paper is removed from the surface and the overprint remains, e.g., on a mug or T-shirt.
And that’s it, as far as the theory of creating overprints is considered. Of course, sublimation has many advantages, as well as technological and material-related disadvantages and limitations, which we will try to explain in the following paragraphs.
7. What’s the difference between dye-sublimation and thermal transfer?
This is one of the most frequent questions from our clients, as dye-sublimation and thermal transfer are probably the most commonly mistaken concepts. In theory, both notions indirectly mean the same thing, and the final effects of both processes are similar. Moreover, both methods use the same presses. Although the terms are commonly used on the Polish market, the methods do differ, as each has its limitations and is used for different products and substrates.
In principle, dye-sublimation, as it was described above, is an ink printing process which, under proper temperature and pressure, causes the ink to transform from a solid substance into gas, and dyes the underlying surface. In contrast, thermal transfer is a type of print most often made with the use of laser printers on thermal transfer film that embeds itself into a surface during heating due to pressure and temperature.
Advantages and disadvantages of sublimation, along with its limitations:
First and foremost, the process of sublimation lacks the colour white, therefore it limits us to printing on white surfaces, where the whiteness of a given product compensates for the lack of this colour. Indeed, sublimation can also be performed on coloured surfaces, although we don’t recommend printing photos or uniform-backgrounds but only images on light-coloured surfaces. In such case, the print itself should be darker than the surface. First of all, sublimation offers the possibility of full colour print in very high resolution, starting from even a single copy and requiring very low investment outlays for machines and technology. Currently, the process makes us dependent on printing on surfaces that are specially prepared, i.e., covered with a polymer coating or “liquid polyester”. Our offer consists of approx. 700 such finished products, whereas the full range of products available on the sublimation market, including the offer of our competitors, amounts to approx. 1,000 products ready for dye-sublimation print. Objects intended for sublimation print must be covered with a special polymer coating. If you wish to perform sublimation printing on a non-standard product, please contact us at email@example.com, as there is a possibility to prepare, at client’s request, any product to be imprinted. The statement that sublimation takes place on a layer covered with a polymer means that it takes place only on artificial surfaces. As far as finished products sold by us are concerned, such information may not tell you very much, yet it becomes truly significant in the case of imprinting on textiles, especially T-shirts. Sublimation printing is possible only upon artificial surfaces. In the case of textiles, it can be 100% polyester, satin, spandex, nylon, stylen, etc., or fabrics made of two or more layers, i.e., 50% polyester and 50% cotton, produced in such a manner that cotton forms the inner layer, whereas polyester – the outer one to be imprinted. Dye-sublimation does not provide for direct printing on cotton. In short, sublimation printing cannot be executed directly on cotton and dark fabric, especially those that are very dark, e.g., black. It is, however, possible to perform such transfers through indirect media, such as sublimation flocks or poly-flocks where sublimation is performed first as a mirror reflection on one layer of such flock, and then the imprinted flock is transferred to 100% cotton light fabrics, in the event of transparent flock or film, and black fabrics – provided that the film is white.
We recommend that the process of sublimation occurs at a temperature of 180°C, as in theory, sublimation ink reaches the optimum temperature at 160°C, while the amount of time needed for hot-stamping usually oscillates between 100 and 200 seconds, counted from the time the press reaches the preset temperature after the item has been placed into the press. Such calculation results from the fact that after inserting an item, e.g., a mug, into a press heated up to 180°C, the temperature immediately starts to drop because the press is hot while the mug is cold, and this set of items, namely the heater and the mug, is not yet at the preset temperature after inserting the mug. It is necessary to wait until the temperature drops and rises again up to the preset one, i.e., 180°C, from which point the time is counted.
In sublimation, there are three parameters that determine the result of imprinting an item: temperature, time, and pressure. While the sublimation temperature is constant and amounts to the recommended 180°C, there are items and surfaces, such as glass mugs, for which a lower temperature must be applied. Glass is more temperature-sensitive than, e.g., ceramics and sublimation sheet metal, which take heat very quickly, or very fragile polyester fabrics. When the temperature is lowered to 150-160°C, the time needs to be extended in order to compensate for the lower temperature. Assuming the heating temperature is determined and the press, whose heating temperature has indeed been examined, is calibrated, the only thing left is to implement the appropriate pressure. Unfortunately, 95% of devices owned by clients on the market are not precise. They are sold “at a guess” and according to intuition and a feeling at tightening. Only professional pneumatic presses are fitted to set the value of working pressure, and there is no one in Poland with equipment for precise pressure establishment in hand presses. “Low”, “medium-low”, “medium”, “medium-high”, and “high” pressures are set only according to intuition (“at a guess”), based on one’s own or someone else’s experience. The last parameter is time, which is the crucial sublimation factor. The general rule says that the longer heating lasts, the more ink from the sublimation paper is transferred onto the imprinted media. Of course, a time limit applies, and if heating lasts too long, the sublimation paper may become brown and wrinkled, while the printout may be out of focus, the ink may go liquid, and T-shirts may even turn yellow. For most surfaces, the maximum time has been established at up to 250 seconds from the moment the press and inserted media reach the preset temperature (applicable to mugs, T-shirts, sheet metal, mouse pads). In the case of plates baked with the reverse tile method, it is approx. 7-8 minutes, while PHOTO granites need approx. 10 minutes. Dye-sublimation is the second most durable printing method, immediately following screen printing. It is also the cheapest method on the market to print in full colour, starting with even a single copy.
The concept of thermal transfer, so commonly used on the Polish market, refers to making printouts from a laser printer on transfer paper using standard ink, and then transferring such printouts onto a particular item in a thermal transfer press. Thermal transfer works rather like a “stamp” instead of a structural surface dye, as in the case of sublimation. Basically, thermal transfer is nothing but embedding a “rubber layer” of thermal transfer paper into an item. To perform thermal transfer printing, a special version of laser printers are required, which activates (applies and exposes) ink on paper in a very low temperature, usually below 180°C. If transfer paper is inserted into a random laser printer or photocopier (such devices activate ink at the temperature of 300°C+), the transfer paper will immediately split into layers and automatically destroy the printer; with the repair being completely unprofitable. In order to purchase an appropriate printer, we recommend you contact a representative of Konica Minolta and enquire about the currently available models. The greatest advantage of thermal transfer is that medium is no limitation, e.g., such printing can be performed on any item of any colour, because its principle is identical to that of adhering a sticker on a T-shirt (or any other media). The thermal transfer printing method is usually recommended to clients who wish to print on cotton, in particular on black and dark fabrics or on items with no cover layer; sublimation is recommended in the case of such items as rare mugs or tankards, trophies, etc. As far as costs are concerned, one sheet of paper for thermal transfer printing costs, e.g., 6 PLN, whereas a sheet of sublimation paper costs 0.35 PLN. Good quality 100% cotton T-shirts cost around 8-10 PLN, the cost of a two-layered shirt suitable for sublimation printing amounts to 15 PLN, and therefore the final cost of imprinting a T-shirt using both methods is similar, as the price of the ink or sublimation dye will also be pretty much the same. Thermal transfer is a lot less durable printing method – inserting a mug imprinted in such a manner into a dishwasher will crumble and destroy the embedded film; in sublimation printing this would not happen. In the case of T-shirts – a hot washed T-shirt will result in film shrinkage and its clumping or crumbling. Thus, if you wish to print on media unfit for sublimation or achieve full colour on T-shirts other than white and on fabrics unfit for sublimation, and you cannot afford to buy expensive equipment for direct printing (e.g., DTG or solvent plotter), the thermal transfer printing method is the most viable solution.
8. Different methods of printing on textiles.
The topic is very broad, as the wide variety of media alone results in a multitude of methods. Below, a few basic methods of printing on textiles are presented:
Dye-sublimation printing: the design is printed on transfer paper in an ink-jet printer with the use of sublimation ink, and then transferred in a heat press at 160-180°C for up to 200 seconds. Printing is done on artificial fabrics and the best results are achieved with white or very bright colours. This method is characterised by very high resistance to damage and is very durable. The method can be used for printing on satin, polyester, nylon, spandex, microfiber, and blends of cotton and polyester with up to 50% cotton. Printing can start with a single full-colour item.
Thermal transfer printing is done with laser printers of low toner-melting temperature on heat transfer paper or transparent, white, or coloured (silver, gold, etc.) heat transfer foil. The printed image is transferred onto the fabric in a heat press. Printing can be done on any artificial or natural surface, regardless of its colour. Times and temperatures should be consulted with the foil manufacturer, as they vary from product to product. The durability of such printing is relatively low but with proper washing or with the use of paper of very high quality, the durability can be described as average. Printing can start with a single full-colour item.
Screen-printing is the oldest and most durable method of printing, and its applications are very wide thanks to the many varieties of ink that can be used. The drawback of screen-printing is the fact that it is usually used for designs in vector graphics, which means that a separate screen must be produced for each of the, e.g., 1-4 colours. The screen then has to be properly prepared and exposed using UV emulsion. In theory, this method can also be applied to printing raster graphics, that is photos, but requires a large number of screens, e.g., 12, and applying design colours from the lightest to darkest, and still the depth and colours cannot match that of digital prints. Screen printing is a manual printing method and allows for printing large quantities at a very low cost of materials. There are no restrictions as to the colour of the background and the kind of material used.
Direct to garment printing, e.g., with a DTG KIOSK printer, is a method which allows for printing a one full-colour item. The fabrics used are usually natural, but can contain up to 20% polyester. If the printer does not use white ink, it can only print on white fabric. If the printer uses white ink, it can print on fabric of any colour. T-shirts are first pre-treated with a polymer primer and heated in a heat press to remove moisture. The T-shirts are then placed on the printer tray and the print is made directly on the fabric. After printing, the image has to be fixed in a heat press. It is a very durable method and its only limitation is the fact that prices of printers start from 40,000-60,000 PLN.
Solvent printing is the most universal method for printing on textiles, as it allows for printing on substrates of all kinds of materials and colours with the use of appropriate foils. Theoretically, there are no limitations to the kind of materials used for solvent printing and their size. Plotters are used for printing on rolls of material. The most common sizes of rolls are between 100 and 260 cm. The print is very durable; its durability is between the durability of sublimation print and screen print. Solvent plotters can be also adapted for sublimation printing. Their only disadvantage is the high price, as quality plotters, e.g., Mimaki or Roland, cost at least 50,000 PLN. Solvent printing can start with a single full-colour item.
With flex foil printing and flocking, designs in vector graphics are cut with plotters and then transferred on the substrate. The designs usually consist of 1-4 colours, as each colour has to be cut and transferred separately. There are no limitations to the colours used or the kind of substrate. Transfer takes place in a heat press, usually at 150-160°C and takes about 30 seconds. It is a very durable method, comparable with solvent printing. Times and temperatures are specified by the foil manufacturers.
Subli-flocks and poli-flocks are a way of using sublimation printing on items on which direct sublimation printing is impossible. It consists of printing the mirror image of the design with sublimation ink on transfer paper and transferring it to one layer of the flock, and then transferring the printed flock in the heat press onto the substrate, e.g., a T-shirt. It is a relatively durable method and even allows for printing a single full-colour item. It can be used for printing on surfaces of any material and colour.
9. Different methods of printing on ceramics.
In principle, all methods used for printing on textiles can also be used for printing on ceramics, with the exception of direct to garment printing, although there are machines designed for direct printing on mugs. The difference between printing on textiles and on ceramics is in the higher temperatures and longer times needed to fix designs on ceramics. Another method that can be used for producing mugs is heat transfer. It is useful for producing large quantities of mugs, as it takes place in furnaces at high temperatures. The advantage of this method is its low cost. Bulk printing is very fast and any kind of mug and ceramics can be used. Use of materials for sublimation is not necessary.
Below are instructions for sublimation printing on mugs:
First, print out the design with any sublimation printer on transfer paper and let it dry for about 5-10 minutes if you are using coated paper, or about 1 minute if you are using ordinary uncoated paper. The paper has to be cut so that it is no wider than the height of the cup. As the most popular 0.33l mugs are 9.5 cm tall and have a diameter of 82 mm, we suggest the height of design of about 9 cm and the width of about 18 cm. This way, the design can be repeated on every mug and there is no waste, as the heating element can properly catch every mug. Some customers may want to do print designs that are 95 mm high and 21 cm wide on the entire mug surface. While this is possible, such surface requires the use of higher pressure, which damages the heating elements, and the quality of print on every mug cannot be guaranteed. Once the transfer paper has dried and been cut to size, it can be put on the mug or other ceramic product and secured in place with heat tape, which does not release colour at high temperatures. To prevent streaks in printing, mugs should be cleaned from dust and ceramics degreased. Transfer paper should be carefully aligned and secured in place to prevent wrinkling in the heat press and ensure even print without defects. Once the paper has been secured, the mugs can be placed in the heat press. Place the mugs in a pre-heated press, applying the appropriate pressure. The pressure should be strong enough to compensate for the imperfections of the mug, but at the same time not too strong to prevent damage to the heating elements and the pressing mechanism. The mugs should be placed exactly in the middle of the heating element and secured in place. The suggested temperature for mugs is 180°C. As the quality of presses on the market varies greatly, it is important to check the actual temperature of the heating element and between the heating element and the mug with a pyrometer to ensure that it is 180°C, even if it requires setting a different temperature on the display. After placing the mug in the press you will notice the temperature fall because of the difference in temperature between the mug and the press. It will fall by about 30-40 degrees and then start to rise. Once the temperature reaches the required value, start the time. It should take about 150-200 seconds, depending on the kind of design. In general, the longer the time, the more ink is transferred from paper to mug, and consequently, the colours are more saturated and the image more defined. However, if the mug is heated for too long, it can yellow and the image will be blurred as the ink will get smudged. The upper limit of the heating time is 250 seconds.
Printing on ceramics, for example ceramic tiles or on granite.
The principle of printing the design is the same as with mugs. However, there are two methods of baking tiles in a flat press. Small ceramic, glass, and granite tiles, e.g., up to 15x15 cm, can be baked in the traditional way. The tile is put on the press on a silicone pad with the side to be printed facing upwards and baked at 180°C for about 2-3 minutes. With this method, silicone sheets with a maximum thickness of 2 mm can also be used between the tile and the heating plate to compensate for the imperfections of the tile. With, e.g., granite, the time needed to fix the image is about 7 minutes. With ceramic, glass, and granite tiles larger than 15x15 cm, the reverse tile method is used. First, the printout from the sublimation printer is placed on a silicone pad on the press, followed by the tile, with the side to be printed facing downwards (contrary to the traditional method described above), and then the press is closed with medium pressure applied. The temperature is 180°C, and time about 10 minutes for granite and about 7 minutes for other tiles.
10. Different printing methods for other promotional gadgets.
In general, all methods for printing on ceramics and textiles listed above can be used, as there are virtually no other methods available. For this reason, the methods listed in points 8 and 9 should be used, with times and pressures adjusted to particular objects according to specification presented in point 11.
11. Printing times and temperatures.
Printing times and temperatures for dye-sublimation printing:
Mugs – temperature of 180°C and time of 150-200 seconds from the moment the temperature reaches the required value. Medium pressure.
Textiles – temperature of 180°C and time of 100-200 seconds from the moment the heat press is closed. Medium pressure.
Ceramic and glass tiles – temperature of 180°C; 2-3 minutes when using the standard method, 7 minutes when using the tile method (see point 9). Time is measured from the moment the heated press is closed. Medium pressure.
Granite – temperature of 180°C; 7 minutes when using the standard method, 10 minutes when using the tile method (see point 9). Time is measured from the moment the heated press is closed. Medium pressure.
Metal sheets for sublimation printing – temperature of 180°C and time of 100-150 seconds measured from the moment the heated press is closed. If metal sheets become matted or paper sticks to them, the time can be shortened and temperature reduced (but to no less than 160°C). Medium pressure.
Hand mirrors, key rings, and other gadgets that require small sublimation plates for printing – temperature of 180°C and time of 100-150 seconds measured from the moment the heated press is closed. If metal sheets become matted or paper sticks to them, the time can be shortened and temperature reduced (but to no less than 160°C). Medium pressure. It is important to remember that protective film should be removed before printing and that the white side of the plate is the one to print on.
Jigsaw puzzles and other cardboard gadgets – in this case, the cardboard needs to be heated up for excess water to evaporate in order to prevent layer separation. Therefore, jigsaw puzzles or other cardboard elements need to be placed in the heated press for about 2-3 minutes without closing it. Subsequently, the press can be closed and the print made. The baking temperature should be set at 180°C and the time at 100-150 seconds. Medium pressure.
Gravestone tiles – the procedure is identical to that used for standard tiles, yet we recommend using a heating element for plates to ensure proper baking on the tile edges.
Lighters – temperature of 180°C and time of 200 seconds. Strong pressure. We recommend using a heating element for plates, as lighters are relatively thick gadgets. Lighters can also be printed using the reverse tile method. Lighters can be printed on both sides, one side at a time.
Pendants – temperature of 180°C and time of 100-150 seconds from the moment the pre-heated heat press is closed. If metal sheets become matted or paper sticks to them, the time can be shortened and temperature reduced (but to no less than 160°C). Medium pressure. Both sides of a pendant can be heated. The printing of both sides has to be done at the same time.
Mouse pads – the procedure is identical to that used for other textiles.
Metal plates – the procedure is identical to that used for gadgets such as hand mirrors, key rings, and other gadgets which require small sublimation plates for printing.
Ceramic plates – temperature of 180°C and time of 2-3 minutes. Medium pressure. It is important to ensure that the printout is smaller in diameter than the diameter of the base of the plate, as the base is not entirely flat. The printout should be no larger than the size of the flat surface of the plate base to enable perfect baking of both the edges and the centre of the printout without the need to apply strong pressure which could cause cracking.
Pet bowls – temperature of 180°C, time of around 15 minutes. Pet bowls should be baked in convection ovens with the printouts secured with clamps.
Beer glasses – the procedure is identical to that used for pet bowls.
Cups – temperature of 180°C and time of 150-200 seconds from the moment the temperature reaches the required value. Medium pressure. Smaller heating elements should be used. We recommend baking no more than two cups at the same time to ensure that the inter-space between the heating element and the cup is the same on the whole surface of the cup. Pressure should be applied carefully, as cups are fragile. If creaking or cracking can be heard, the pressure needs to be slightly reduced.
Clear and frosted glass mugs – the procedure is identical to that used for regular mugs with the exception that the pressure should be lighter, as glass, even toughened glass used for the mugs, is still more fragile than ceramics.
Metal notepads – the procedure is identical to that used for metal sheets for sublimation but the two metal sheets should be remove from the notepad and baked separately in the heat press.
Laptop cases – the procedure is identical to that used for other textiles. Additionally, something, e.g., a thick silicone pad, should be placed inside the sleeve to prevent heat damage of the plastic zip.
Pillowcases with buttons – the procedure is identical to that used for other textiles. Buttons should be secured to prevent heat damage.
Caps – the procedure is identical to that used for other textiles.
Flip-flops – the procedure is identical to that used for other textiles.
12. I want to buy a sublimation printer. How do I choose one?
This is probably the question our customers ask most often.
Basically, you should ask yourself a few questions before you make your decision. Think about how much you expect to print per day or per month, in what format (e.g., A4, A3, or larger), and how much you are prepared to spend. If you are going to use your printer only occasionally, for example, in a photo lab, where you want to print something for your client right away, we suggest gel printers. Sublimation gel ink does not dry out and the equipment is always ready to print. Gel printers are only slightly more expensive than inkjet printers. If you are planning to print more often or in larger quantities, an inkjet printer is a better choice. The quality of print is practically the same for gel and inkjet printers, but gel ink costs around 200-300 PLN for 33 ml, while 33 ml of sublimation ink costs 15 PLN. For example, if you want to buy a set of 6 x 100 ml ink for an Epson P50 printer, you will need to spend between 210 and 300 PLN. The same amount of sublimation gel costs around 2,500-3,000 PLN. While it is true sublimation ink tends to dry out and clog the printer head, it should work until either the rollers or the belt unit wear out and it shouldn’t break because of a clogged head if the printer is used a lot, properly maintained, and vented. Many gel printer sellers claim that gel printers are better, as they use up less ink than inkjet printers. While gel printers may use 10-20% less ink, it does not compensate for the 10-15 times greater cost of gel ink. Even if you have to replace your sublimation printer every three months, it is still much more cost-effective to, e.g., buy a new Epson P50 printer than to buy a new set of expensive gel ink.
If you decide to buy an inkjet printer, you have many options to choose from. To begin with, there are plotters produced specifically for dye-sublimation printing, such as Mimaki and Roland. They can be bought configured for sublimation purposes, with a print width starting from 60-100 cm. Their prices start from 40,000 PLN. Such equipment is dedicated to sublimation and both the printing head and the entire set is covered with the manufacturer’s warranty. It comes with RIP software, separate maintenance fluid cartridge for automatic head cleaning, a timer that can, e.g., automatically start basic head cleaning every four hours, an automatic system preventing ink from drying out, and a maintenance fluid spraying system for moistening the head. The head itself is the size of an Epson S22 printer. The continuous ink supply system for a Mimaki plotter costs 4,000 PLN and it is a vacuum system with ink pressure control feature, etc. All this means that 100% reliable equipment for low-cost dye-sublimation printing costs at least 40,000 PLN. Any other equipment for dye-sublimation printing is a better or worse substitute. For example, you can buy an Epson Pro plotter for 10,000 PLN or more, and use it to print with sublimation ink. It will be relatively reliable, but using ink other than Epson voids the manufacturer’s warranty. Epson Pro plotters can print with large droplets at 1440 dpi. The size of the head allows for quick printing and prevents clogging. If Mimaki, Roland or Epson Pro equipment is outside your price range, you could consider buying a small-format inkjet printer. We offer inkjet printers complete with a continuous ink supply systems and sublimation ink for 600-2000 PLN, depending on the print format and the class of the equipment. Small-format printers, e.g., Epson S22, P50, B110, R1400, etc., have smaller nozzles and offer a print resolution of up to 6,000 dpi. They were not designed for printing with sublimation ink and the ink supply systems used with them are not airtight. Printers adapted for dye-sublimation printing lose the manufacturer’s warranty and are sensitive to the quality of ink. It does not mean they are a bad choice, will not print properly, or require a lot of maintenance work. They are a good and cost-effective choice, on the condition that they are properly used and maintained, as described in the section below.
13. Maintenance and usage of inkjet sublimation printers.
Once you have purchased a small-format sublimation printer, e.g., Epson P50, S22, R1400, etc., follow the basic rules below:
A sublimation printer should print often and should have no major downtime. To prevent the ink from drying out, printing every 2-3 days is recommended.
The continuous ink supply system must be vented regularly. We recommend that you perform this procedure every 2 weeks if the printer does not print too much, or every week if it is used often.
The rubber roller that cleans the head of the residues of dried ink and other waste has to be cleaned regularly, preferably with a clean cloth and moistened with maintenance or cleaning fluid. The drain under the head where the carrier parks also needs to be cleaned and filled with maintenance or cleaning fluid.
It is important to remember that sublimation ink in an open container must be used within 6 months. When you are buying a printer with sublimation ink, take into consideration the fact that after 6 months of opening the container, sublimation ink can start to stratify and clog the head.
To ensure a continuous supply of fresh ink in the CISS, refill the CISS with ink before its levels fall below 25%. We recommend buying only enough ink to ensure a fresh supply rather than stockpiling.
Only clean the head when it is necessary. If the head is cleaned often, the ink supply system becomes airlocked.
To prevent ink in the head from drying out, print something every 2-3 days, even if you don’t have orders for sublimation printing.
If the printer is used regularly and the rules above are followed, it should not malfunction and should work until natural wear and tear prevents further work, that is after printing 3,000 full-colour, high-quality pages. We recommend buying a new ink supply system with a new printer. When the printer is not used extensively but the rules above are followed, we recommend buying a new ink supply system every 6-12 months, depending on the conditions under which the printer is used.
A sublimation printer should be used in a dry, warm, and dust-free place. If it is used in a place where there is a lot of dust, etc., it should be cleaned regularly with compressed air.
Keep in mind that sublimation ink works best at a temperature of around 23°C and at very low humidity. If you use the printer in difficult conditions, ink can form lumps or dry out more quickly.
14. Common problems with sublimation printers and ways of dealing with them Dust generation.
You might notice tiny dots after transfer around the vector graphics, text, etc., which are not visible on the paper after printing, but only after transfer on the finished product, e.g., mug. The problem can also be diagnosed by careful examination of a test printout for the printer nozzle, where gaps of about 0.5-1 mm are visible between clusters of horizontal lines between vertical colours, e.g., 1 mm gap between LM and M and overlap between M and C. As there is no scientific explanation for this, the reason for the fault can be theorised based on the way of removing it. The colours that usually produce dust are Magenta, Light Magenta, and Black, and the problem usually appears in winter. We believe that at low temperatures or with worn out ink supply systems, the tubes become stiff and put too much resistance on the stepping motor, which moves the nozzle carrier and consequently the nozzle misses the proper place. When a printer prints around 6,000 dots per square inch, even the offset of LM dots of 0.5-1 mm will result in a blurred printout. Another reason are worn out supply cartridges or cartridges that are wider or narrower than they should be. This unbalances the nozzle carrier and prevents it from printing dots in the right places. Because the carrier is balanced for the original ink cartridge, installing a continuous ink supply system does not always bring the expected results. This is why it is important to choose the appropriate CISS for the printer while converting it to ensure correct balance. If dust generation is observed, the problem colours must be identified by the nozzle test printout, the respective cartridges in the supply system replaced, and the entire system vented.
Splashing drops of ink on the paper – caused by excessive pressure in the continuous ink supply system. To remove this fault, clean the head and then print 2-3 pages full colour at the highest quality setting. Repeat as needed until the printer stops splashing ink.
Vertical stripes (dots) on the printed page – this happens when sublimation ink does not dry quickly enough on the transfer paper. The cogwheel that guides the paper at the exit of the printer makes dots on the paper. It usually happens when coated paper of poor quality is used or when the room is cold and damp. There are three ways of dealing with the problem: 1 – using uncoated sublimation paper; 2 – placing a fan or a heater at the printer to speed up the drying; 3 – placing a plastic or rubber element on the guide, so that the cogwheels do not touch the paper (it is enough to raise the guide by 1-2 mm).
The printer does not feed paper – this can happen when the paper dispenser at the back of the printer, which moves the paper on the rolls that feed it to the printer, is blocked. In such case, it is usually enough to tap the dispenser lightly to unblock it. Another common reason is that either the paper or the rollers are too slippery. Anti-static spray or another product should be used on the rollers to increase their grip.
Printer error message saying that the internal parts of the printer are worn out or ink absorber needs to be replaced – this means that the internal counter of the printer shows a high value because of very frequent cleaning of the head or a large number of printed pages. You can look for a programme that can reset the counter online, e.g., at www.elektorda.pl, or have the counter reset at the Epson service centre.
The printer does not recognise ink cartridges – there are two possibilities. If the printer does not recognise only some colours, it is enough just to reset the continuous ink supply system with the reset button. If the printer does not recognise any colours, check that the cartridges are properly placed in the head, every cartridge has clicked in properly in the head, and that the power has been reset. If this does not help, the reset circuit has probably been damaged and needs to be replaced.
The printer shows a general error – there may be a number of reasons, the most common of which is jammed paper. In this case, make sure all paper has been removed from the printer and all trays are correctly installed. Then, turn the printer off and on again. If this does not work, contact us and we will help solve the problem.
Lack of one of the colours at the nozzle test or stripes and unnatural colours on the printouts – there are many possible reasons for this type of problem, but in general it means that one of the colours is not printing from the head. This is usually caused by a fault in the constant ink supply system. Because the problem can have so many causes, below is the procedure for diagnosis and repair that we use. Follow the guide or use the information to decide on the course of action yourself:
First, clean the head 2-3 times. If the printer prints correctly after cleaning but problems return, e.g., in the middle of printing a page, it means the printer itself works properly, but the sifter before the head is blocked or one of the cartridges is damaged and does not release ink. It is also possible that either the tube or the external ink tank is blocked.
Remove the CISS from the printer. Take a syringe and broaden the diameter of its opening with a screwdriver. Fill the syringe with cleaning or unblocking liquid, put the syringe in the place in the nozzle carrier where you would normally put a cartridge and empty the syringe. If you feel a lot of resistance when emptying the syringe, only empty half of it and suck the ink from the head before you try to pump the liquid in again, until the syringe is empty. Repeat for every colour that is not working. Then, clean the printer of fluid so that it does not soil the printed paper. Clean the rubber roller under the head near the drain that cleans the head. Clean the drain and moisten the roller and the drain with cleaning or unblocking liquid. The next step is installing a new CISS filled with cleaning or unblocking liquid and vented, and cleaning the head 2-3 times with the liquid. Then print around 10 full-colour pages at the best quality with this CISS filled with cleaning or unblocking liquid.
Replace the cartridges for the colours which did not print, clear the tubes, or possibly only replace the external ink pot. In extremely difficult cases or if the ink is older than 6 months, you can also replace a particular ink colour. Then, vent the entire system and install it back into the printer, and clean the head 2-3 times. Then print around 5 full-colour pages and the nozzle test page. If the test page is correct, the printer has been repaired. If the printer still does not print a certain colour, it means the head is broken and you need a new printer, preferably with a new CISS, if possible.
The printer prints double lines, e.g., vertical or horizontal vector graphics that are split – if the printer and the ink supply system are new, identify the faulty colour, replace the cartridge, and vent the system. If the printer is already partly worn out, do not set the highest quality printing option and the problem will disappear.
15. CISS – continuous ink supply systems.
Here we explain a few things about how continuous ink supply systems work and warn against buying very cheap systems that, as a rule, do not perform well. For example, decent, airtight substitute ink supply systems for Mimaki plotters cost at least 4,000 PLN, while supply systems for small-format Epson printers can be bought on online auction portals or shops from 50 PLN. As all of these ink supply systems are produced in China, please be advised that Chinese manufacturers offer equipment of extremely varying value for money, from very poor to very good. CISS prices on the Polish market range from 50 to 300 PLN. The cheapest systems tend not to be airtight, which causes the head to seize up. Their tubes are stiff, which results in dust production, and neither the cartridges nor the external inkpots are divided. This is why the ink pressure in them is unstable and the printers splash ink or do not draw ink properly. The systems we offer are of average quality at a good price. They are airtight, the tubes are flexible, and both cartridges and inkpots are divided to ensure constant ink pressure. The systems are also equipped with one-way valves that let the air in the system but do not let it out, which slows down the process of oxidation of ink and protects it from pollution. It also comes with a syringe and a USB cable if the system requires a USB connection to reset it.
16. The courier delivered my sublimation printer, what should I do now?
First of all, make sure the package is not damaged and if you can see any signs of damage, fill in a shipment damage report with the courier. Then unpack the printer and, before connecting it to the power, install the drivers on your computer. It is very important to put the external ink cartridges on the same level as the printer. If they are higher, all ink from the pots will dribble into the printer. If they are lower, ink will leak out of the vented cartridges and the system will become airlocked, which may lead to the head seizing up. In the case of A3 printers, e.g., the Epson R1400 and B1100, the ink supply system should be approximately 5 cm above the level of the printer, because in these devices the print head is higher than in the case of small A4 printers. Once the printer and the CISS are properly placed, remove all coloured plugs from the external ink supply system so that the levels of ink in the supply chambers are the same. Then, put only the larger coloured plugs in place and replace the smaller ones with one-way valves, with the thicker end inside, so that air can enter the system. Then, turn the printer on and perform print head cleaning twice (maintenance tab in print preferences), followed by the nozzle test. If the result of the nozzle test is correct, you can start using your printer. If 1-2 lines are missing, clean the head again 1-2 times. When printing with external ink supply systems, the external inkpots should never be closed with the coloured plugs, as the piezoelectric printhead is cooled with ink. When the supply is closed with plugs, the ink stops flowing after a few pages and the printer can be irreversibly damaged. The ink supply system should only be closed with plugs for transport.
17. The difference between 4-colour and 6-colour printers.
The simplest rule of thumb is that the more expensive the printer, the easier it will be to print. However, the durability of Epson printheads using sublimation ink is very similar, regardless of the printer you choose. With proper maintenance and usage, a printer should produce around 3,000 printouts, which means, e.g., 10,000 mugs. When it comes to the differences between 4-colour and 6-colour printers, the situation is outlined below.
When it comes to small-format printers, 4-colour printers, such as the Epson S22 or SX Series models, are the most economical and very simple in construction. Of course, the durability of a sublimation plotter or equipment such as the Epson Pro, which costs 10,000 PLN, cannot be compared to that of an Epson printer for 300 PLN. Due to the basic CMYK colour model to produce images used in 4-colour printers, they have a simple printing process, without excessive sophistication. The printing process is as follows: with each stripe (change to “in each strip”), the lightest colours are printed first, followed by darker ones, and ending with black. This is why small format printers print more slowly. 4-colour printers produce a nicer, deeper black and have the option of printing only black, but produce less smooth transitions between tones.
6-colour printers, using the CMYK colour model extended with LM and LC, print faster due to combining all colours in on stripe and produce much smoother transitions between tones, but do not have the option of printing with black only, and the images they produce are more appealing, less saturated, and more contrasting.
Both options have their enthusiasts. We recommend 6-colour printers because of they are better made.
18. Colour profiles.
This is quite a broad subject and our customers often ask about it. As there are many opinions and myths about this particular subject, the subject is described here in detail. To begin with, if somebody is offering to sell you a sublimation printer or ink together with the colour profile, it must be a hoax and the only thing you will gain from it is a good feeling and the belief that you have a colour profile. When we sell a sublimation printer or sublimation ink, we do not provide a colour profile, but we do provide reliable information. Adding a general profile to a printer or ink makes no sense and is more likely to do harm than good. A proper and correct colour profile is made for a specific printer, not a model, because with small-format Epson printers at the lower end of the price range, no two printers are 100% identical. We noticed this while testing three sublimation printers at the same time. Three printers of the same model, with the same ink supply system and the same paper, perfectly vented, with perfect nozzle test results, new and working in the same atmospheric conditions, produced slightly different test printouts. We even noticed that each of these printers produced different sounds while printing. In addition to this, making a colour profile is a process where all variables, that is paper, ink, substrates, and their shade of white, as well as transfer temperature and time, must be clearly specified. What is more, the graphics software and the printer itself must be set up with appropriate values. It must be also mentioned that there are 4-, 5-, 6-, and 8-colour printers and each of them prints a bit differently, which is why providing general colour profiles makes no sense. We believe that much better effects can be achieved through using appropriate settings of the graphics programme and correct transfer, which together render 90% true colours. If you decide to use colour profiles, we currently have universal profiles for Epson P50 printers, made with our HQ ink, on our standard paper, and standard substrates. For this model, we have profiles for ceramics, ECO mouse pads, 100% polyester, and T-shirts with 50% polyester and 50% cotton content. These profiles can be made available on request by email and can improve the quality of print, provided that the printer is working properly, uses fresh ink supplied by us, and you are printing on our materials and our paper. If you would like to have a colour profile made for your printer for a specific substrate, paper, ink, etc., we provide this service through our online shop. If you are buying a new printer from our shop and would like to receive a colour profile, you need to purchase this service through the online shop. The service takes around 2-3 days, together with converting the printer for sublimation printing and dispatch. We offer different colour profiles to suit your needs, made with 400, 600, 800, and even 1,000 readings. In special cases, we can adjust the profile to your needs, e.g., if you are printing billboards for Coca-Cola, where the predominant colour is red, you can order a basic profile extended red. In addition, e.g., the entire red spectrum can be defined, from 400 to 1,000 spectrometer readings. If you are printing billboards that will be illuminated, we can produce a profile that takes this into consideration to ensure the true colours of print under the conditions it will be displayed. We send profiles by email, complete with the description of the conditions under which it was made and directions for applying it to the printer. If you would like to order a profile, a printer, and ink, paper, and substrates you are already using, this service is also available for you. You need to send the printer, in good working order, by courier. (PLEASE NOTE we do not accept responsibility for any damage to the printer in transport.) The printer should be supplied with fresh ink and print correctly. If we find the printer loses settings or is supplied with ink of very poor quality, we will not do a profile, as it would be pointless. When sending us a printer, also include paper on which the profile is to be made and specify the substrate, e.g., ceramics or satin.
The principles we follow when performing profiles are as follows:
Any printer that does not have an RIP component, even if it uses a CMYK colour model, prints the same way as an RGB printer.
If you would like to have a profile made for CMYK, you must send us your RIP software, otherwise all profiles will be made based on the RGB palette.
First, we check the condition of the printer. We make sure the system is vented and the nozzles are not clogged. We also check the quality of paper and ink if they have not been bought from us.
We make the first profile on sublimation paper to characterise the printer. Spectrometer readings are taken 10 minutes after printing to make sure the paper has dried.
Profiling charts are printed with all standard printer profile settings and colour controls switched off. The parameters at which the printer produces profiles are described for the customer.
A profile made in this way is then loaded to Corel and the program is set to import and print with RGB. We then print pages for reading, using the first profile of the printer.
After printing, the paper must be allowed to dry for about 10 minutes, and then the image is transferred onto the substrate in a specified period of time and at a specified temperature.
Readings of colours are then taken with a spectrometer from the transferred image and the final version of the profile is made and sent to the customer, together with a description of the settings of the whole process, so that it can be repeated and the profile works properly.
Please be warned, there are companies that offer colour profiles based on printouts made by the customer from files sent by the company. A profile produced in this way is wrong in principle, not to mention the fact that it must be very narrow because of the small number of colour patches. We believe it is better to print without a profile but with well-adjusted settings of the printer and the graphics software than with an incorrect profile.
19. The quality of ink on the Polish market varies greatly. How do I choose?
To begin with, we recommend making reasonable decisions after careful consideration of resources and plans, so that the final economic balance makes sense. Currently, the prices of sublimation ink on the Polish market range from 30 to 300 PLN for 100 ml. There is only one company in Poland that sells original sublimation ink, although we cannot provide its name here officially. The prices of original ink range from 250 to 300 PLN for 125 ml. There are only two companies in the world that own patents for sublimation ink and their products are very expensive. Any other ink available on the market has been produced in China or Korea and its quality may be very good or very poor. This is why we would like to make it clear here that any company selling “original” sublimation ink for, e.g., 50 PLN for 100 ml is not being honest with its customers. What they do is pour ink from large, 1 kg or 20 kg bottles to 100 ml pots with nice labels and sell it under fancy names with pretty advertising, but it does not make the ink original. Purchasing original ink at such high prices is reasonable on condition that you have a very good printer and expect the highest quality possible. Buying original ink for a 6-colour Epson S22 or P50 printer which costs 300-450 PLN will set you back 1800 PLN (6 x 300 PLN) and makes no sense. The ink would be 4-5 times more expensive than the printer, but it still needs to be used within 6 months. Incorrect maintenance and usage of the printer will clog printheads regardless of the price of the ink. Likewise, we do not recommend buying the cheapest ink as their parameters are wrong and, e.g., black comes out brown or yellow, or is very light rather than being a deep, saturated colour. We were interested in importing the cheapest ink for a short time, but after trying them we realised that it was a wasted effort as the colours were so distorted it was impossible to make a colour profile for this ink. Despite the correct nozzle tests, the printed images were distorted and blurred. This is why we warn against buying ink from unknown sources or extremely cheap ink. We currently offer two varieties of ink: ECO, for large-format printers and older printers with larger nozzles that print with maximum resolution of 1,440 dpi, and HQ ink for new small-format Epson printers, which print with up to 6,000 dpi. Our ink is manufactured in China by BestSub. They offer good value for money and produce true colours, with a slight tendency for increasing contrast and saturation. Most importantly, they are stable and do not stratify within their “best before” period. The tendency of our ink to oversaturate the colours could be observed if, for example, we took a photo of a person sunbathing on a green meadow with a high-quality camera, e.g., Nikon D3, in raw image format. In the photo, we would see muddy green grass and a person with naturally pale, pinky skin. If we then printed the photo with our ink, we would see greener grass and the person would look a bit more tanned. The colours would not be true, but they would be nicer to look at, smoother, and prettier. Who wouldn’t prefer to see themselves prettier and more tanned? This is the kind of effect our ink produces. Our ink is not suitable for professional photographers who expect printed images to show the colour as seen through a lens of a good camera. However, with a well-profiled printer, this is not entirely unattainable with our ink.
20. How do I reset a sublimation printer?
All small-format Epson printers are fitted with an internal counter, which counts the pages printed, the number of times the head was cleaned, and ink consumption based on the original cartridge capacity, which, depending on the printer, is between 6 and 11 ml. As a sublimation printer with continuous ink supply system has 6 x 100 ml of ink, after every 20-30 A4 pages printed, or after cleaning the head about ten times, we can see an error message: “unoriginal ink cartridges”, “unrecognised ink cartridges” or “ink has run out, replace cartridges”. All of these messages mean that you need to reset your printer.
The process of resetting ink cartridges in a printer with CISS is as follows:
First, check that there are no printing jobs queued up in the print manager and remove any waiting jobs.
Then, in Windows Control Panel > Printers find your P50 printer and choose printing preferences. Choose the Maintenance tab and click EPSON STATUS MONITOR 3. You will see an icon showing crossed out ink cartridges and you will see two buttons: MAINTENANCE and JAK. Click JAK. An ink cartridge replacement wizard application will open.
Keep clicking “next” and “OK” until you see the message “press next to move the head to ink cartridge replacement position”. Click next and wait for the printer to move the head to the ink cartridge replacement position, that is, to the window on the right, and stop.
Press the reset button, which you will find between the cartridges in the head carriage and hold for 3 seconds, being careful not to break it.
Keep clicking “next” and “OK” in the ink cartridge replacement wizard, and at the end click “exit”. You will be shown the “loading ink cartridges, please wait” message and a blue status bar moving from left to right. Once it reaches the end, you can click “exit” and keep printing.
21. Different types of sublimation paper.
Regardless of brand, size, or quality, there are basically two types of sublimation paper. The first is standard non-coated paper. With this paper, the ink enters the structure of the paper so that after the printout is ready, it can be immediately placed on, e.g., ceramics, and the transfer can begin. The second type of sublimation paper is coated paper. With this paper, the ink does not enter the paper itself, but only its coating. Therefore, the printout needs about 5 to 10 minutes to dry. Coated paper is more expensive but printouts made with it have sharper contrast and more vivid colours.
22. What is the difference between ordinary paper and sublimation paper?
The key difference between ordinary paper and standard sublimation paper lies in the fact that neither high temperature nor pressure make sublimation ink migrate on sublimation paper, which ensures a sharp image on transfer. In theory, ordinary paper can be used for sublimation, but an image transferred with ordinary paper would be blurry and would not render the colours properly.
23. Selecting the right heat transfer press.
In order to select the best heat transfer press, it is necessary to consider whether the overprints will be made in large quantities, what format they will be in (e.g., A4, A3, or larger), and whether you are going to use it for providing services. If you are considering engaging in services, we recommend a combo transfer press. For a reasonable price you can get even an 8-in-1 device, which offers a complete selection of sublimation printing options. Combo presses are characterised by a very elegant design, but they are a relatively delicate machines and as such are not suitable for mass production, as they would quickly wear and depreciate. If you are planning large quantities of transfers, it is better to purchase each machine separately, i.e., a separate machine for flat printing, for caps, etc. Such single-purpose machines do not look as good as combo presses but are much simpler and therefore long lasting, virtually failure-free, and can operate 24 hours a day. When it comes to the quality of transferred images, both types of machines are comparable. It is also necessary to consider the maximum temperature you will need the machine to reach, as combo presses are standard dye-sublimation machines and as such do not heat up to more than 180°C, while presses with separate heating elements can reach much higher temperatures. It is important to consider whether a combo press with a maximum heating temperature of 180°C will be sufficient for all your transfers.
24. The myth of uneven heat distribution in horizontal presses.
This is a question that almost every client purchasing a new horizontal press asks. The client wants to be reassured that the press distributes heat evenly and heats up to a set temperature. The clients very often read posts written by sales representatives or rival companies on online forums in which they claim that it is “best not to buy a press manufactured in China, as such presses do not distribute heat evenly and do not heat up to a set temperature”, and go on to recommend a purchase from company XYZ. Here, we would like to debunk the myth of uneven heat distribution in horizontal presses. However, we do not do it in order to promote our company but to refer to a general conviction that applies to all products, regardless of their manufacturer. The rule is simple: if any press, even one manufactured in China, is correctly assembled and does not have any manufacturing defects (e.g., a slanting lid) it will heat perfectly well. Of course, we are not discussing the durability of the machine, but only the quality of transfer. Until recently, transfer technology was very expensive and some people used linen presses with sensitive thermostats to make transfers. Irons were also used for transfers and the effects were satisfying. The times have changed and now the choice is great and the prices reasonable. The construction of thermal presses is very simple and therefore very hard to confuse. It is impossible for a horizontal heat transfer press to distribute heat unevenly. The heating top itself is nothing more than a spiral heating element in cast iron with a thermostat connected to electricity. The correct procedure for heat transfer is as follows: after connecting the press to the power source and setting the temperature, we wait for the press to reach the set temperature. Then, we need to wait for a minimum of five minute, as even though the press may display the desired temperature it does not necessarily mean that the entire surface of the top (e.g., 38 x 38 cm) has reached that temperature. Usually, the press first reads the temperature from the thermostat placed in the middle of the heating element. Therefore, when the thermostat displays the desired temperature it is better to wait for at least 5 minutes to ensure that the heat has been distributed evenly throughout the whole surface of the top, and then proceed with making the transfer. We also recommend setting a margin of about 1cm along the top edges. For instance, if the press surface is 38 x 38 cm, we recommend heating objects covering a surface no larger than 36 x 36 cm. Pressure is also very important and should be adjusted to a given item. Any unevenness resulting from a fault in the products used or the heating top itself will always be corrected by the silicone base of about 10-15 mm placed on the bottom part of the heating element.
25. Different types of mugs for sublimation printing.
Currently, there are many different types of mugs available on the Polish market. Different types of finish are available: matt, gloss, super gloss, semi gloss, and soft colour, etc. The same applies to shades of white, which can be suited to the importer or client's individual preferences. However, the variety of mug colours, shapes, and sizes are also subject to availability. The availability and different quality classes and types of finish for a standard 11 oz (330ml) white mug are presented below:
ECO white mug – the cheapest and most basic mug on our offer, with dye-sublimation primer coating suitable for hand washing, high brightness of white, and high gloss finish. Although the polymer coating is designed to resist hand washing, it is also quite resistant to dishwasher cleaning. These mugs are usually chosen for high-volume printing or promotional printing of low- or medium-complex designs. The mugs are suitable for both welding machines and furnaces. An ECO mug is not a premium quality production ceramic, which means that the diameter and height has a 2-mm tolerance.
Class A white mug – specification similar to that of an ECO mug except for the higher quality of ceramic production.
Class A+ white mug – is a high quality product characterised by very high brightness of white and very high gloss finish. Although the dye-sublimation primer coating used for this mug is designed to resist hand washing, it is also quite resistant to dishwasher cleaning. This mug is designed for medium to high-complex designs, and is suitable for baking in both welding machines and furnaces. Class A+ mugs are suitable for both individual and bulk orders, as the maximum diameter and height tolerance is 1 mm. The mugs are made with reproducible, carefully selected ceramics.
Class AA+ mug – specification similar to that of a Class A+ mug, with the addition of a semi-dishwasher resistant coating, higher quality of ceramics, and greater brightness of white.
HARD – the best quality mug on our offer; ultra white, an extra smooth surface, very reproducible, made with carefully selected ceramics with a dishwasher-safe coating that guarantees the highest quality of print. HARD mugs undergo the strictest quality control.
26. Heating elements for sublimation heat transfer presses for mugs.
We offer heating elements for sublimation heat transfer presses for mugs, together with the complete range of spare parts for all heat presses sold by our company, even for models which have not been on offer for a long time or have been replaced with newer models. As our clients most often ask about purchasing replaceable heating elements for heat transfer presses bought from other importers or machines from lesser known brands bought on online auction portals, we need to clarify that we only sell heating elements and spare parts for machines that are sold by us.
In theory, our heating elements may be compatible with ones sold by other Polish importers, but it is not a rule. Over the phone, we can provide information concerning such compatibility based on our experience. It is important to remember that there are different types of heat transfer presses available on the market: with 300W and 500W heating elements, powered by 3-pin or 4-pin plugs, and with male or female plugs. Heating elements can also have different designs: the heating mat or heating coil (spiral) in a rubber pad, they can be mounted with a connector or with 3, 4, or 5 screws on each side with combinations for horizontal and vertical presses. Finally, it is important to add that there are thousands of sensors for reading the temperature of a heating element, e.g., on the DIAC or the thermocouple, which makes it virtually impossible to select appropriate heating elements and spare parts for machines manufactured by the lesser-known companies. It is much simpler to buy a new machine. Very often, clients unable to find a proper replacement, buy a random heating element. In most cases, a mismatched heating element is instantly broken when the machine is turned on, or quickly damaged by either short circuit or overheating. There are also cases in which the heating element is working but the thermostat is incompatible and does not regulate temperature, which results in the de-lamination of the heating element, which then simply burns.
27. Warranty policy.
All thermal transfer presses we sell come with a 12-month warranty provided by our company, not the manufacturer. The presses come with a full warranty for parts and labour. All mechanical, electrical, and electronic elements, as well as heating elements in T-shirt presses, are under warranty. However, the warranty does not cover heating elements with a silicone (rubber) base for, e.g., mugs, as these elements are operating parts of machines and their proper use guarantees their reliable operation until they wear naturally. Every machine we import is disassembled and then reassembled, checked and calibrated before being introduced on the Polish market. We also specify what setting on the panel corresponds to the actual temperature of 180°C in the thermal press. Thermal presses with heating elements on a silicone base are covered by a basic start-up warranty. Since the presses do not bear identification plates, a VAT invoice or receipt is the warranty document. If either or both of the documents are lost, it is enough for the client to give their NIP number (VAT identification number) or website login for the warranty service to commence.
We also offer a wide range of post-warranty services at favourable prices. Service time depends on the complexity of the problem. With simple repairs, it takes one working day, while with more complex repairs it may take from three to seven working days. The printer should be sent to our address in Lipiany (different street address: ul. Jedności Narodowej 9) together with a description of the problem, proof of purchase or the stamped information card with the client company name, and contact number.
We only provide a basic start-up warranty for dye-sublimation printers, as this equipment is converted to enable dye-sublimation printing and as such is not covered by the manufacturer's original warranty. The warranty provider, the general importer – EPSON Poland, will cancel the manufacturer’s warranty and refuses to provide free technical support the moment a printer is tampered with or printing is done with non-original ink. To ensure that your printer functions properly and for as long as possible, please refer to points 14-19 in the technical support section.
28. Printer service
Our company offers service of Epson printers with sublimation ink fed by continuous ink supply systems or refillable cartridges. Due to the time-consuming nature of such servicing, we only service printers purchased from our company together with the ink and CISS. We do not service printers purchased elsewhere. Printhead cleaning and clearing, cartridge/reset chip replacement, etc., comes free of charge if our client purchases the whole set converted for sublimation printing from our company and is using our ink. If the client only purchased the CISS, or the printer, etc., the service cost will be calculated only after the device has been delivered to our company's address. Service time depends on the complexity of the printer problem. With simple repairs, it takes one working day, while with more complex repairs it may take from three to seven working days. The printer should be sent to our address in Lipiany together with a description of the problem, proof of purchase or the stamped information card with the client company name, and contact number.
29. Post-warranty service of thermal transfer presses.
Post-warranty service of thermal transfer presses purchased from our company is identical to the warranty service, the only difference being that the cost of such a service is 30 PLN (gross) plus, if necessary, the cost of extra parts (which come free of charge unless they need to be made to order).
If the thermal transfer press was purchased elsewhere, our highly qualified staff can carry out any desired repairs. The cost will be calculated only after the thermal transfer press has been delivered to our company's address. Usually, the cost ranges between 30-100 PLN (gross), depending on the spare parts needed.
30. Environment protection and recycling.
At our company’s base in Lipiany, apart from the main warehouse, there is also a collection point for waste from electrical and electronic equipment purchased from our company. Any client who purchases a heat press or sublimation printer from us can send us waste equipment for recovery and/or recycling by post or courier free of charge. Clients may also deliver equipment for recovery in person or can exchange an old piece of equipment for a new one at a one-to-one rate when they order new equipment. All waste management costs are borne by our company under the Environment Protection Act.
31. Purchase and shipment costs for customers outside Poland.
Companies based outside Poland, but within the European Union, can make purchases from our company. The shipment cost of one package weighing up to 30 kg within the EU ranges between 11-25 EUR. Companies with a valid EU VAT number do not have to pay VAT in Poland. In such cases, the binding product prices will be net prices. Conditions for being exempt from paying VAT in Poland are: a valid EU VAT number and shipment outside Poland. Due to the fact that we also offer margin-free products that were either manufactured by our company or purchased in Poland, we cannot offer customers from outside Poland zero VAT on certain items. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about detailed quotes for your individual order.
32. Different shipment options for Poland and the EU.
We offer the following shipment options within Poland for packages weighing up to 30 kg:
Economy Shipping (secured only with the original product packaging and stretch wrap, with no store warranty to cover breakage or other damage during shipment).
- pre-paid: 15 PLN (gross)
- paid on delivery: 18 PLN (gross)
Premium Shipping (secured with a unique system patented by Poligrafia Szczecin) 100% warranty covering breakage or other damage during shipment.
- pre-paid: 25 PLN (gross)
- paid on delivery: 30 PLN (gross)
Delivery to EU countries is only available in the premium shipping option due to very high transport costs. Shipping costs are calculated individually based on the distance, weight, and number of packages in a given order, and the quote is sent to the client via email.
Any compensation for damage during transport is only possible on the basis of a damage report made in the presence of the courier. The damage report should be submitted on the day of delivery (through the courier service) or within seven days by email, sent to email@example.com
All complaints should be submitted in either of the following ways:
By phone: +48 665 655 653, +48 665 665 653, +48 91 562 78 47, +48 91 562 78 48
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By fax: +48 91 564 12 98
By post/courier service to the following address:
Poligrafia Szczecin Best Sub Poland Sp. z o.o.
Ul. Mysliborska 8
34. 100% customer satisfaction and other issues.
Our company is proud to consider the issue of 100% customer satisfaction very seriously. If you have any questions or issues that need to be addressed at any stage of dealing with our company, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will do our best to resolve them. We are always at your disposal.
If you have any other doubts or questions about sublimation printing that have not been answered in the FAQ section, please do not hesitate to contact us.
35. Our online videos at www.youtube.com
You are welcome to watch our videos at www.youtube.com. Type the phrase “poligrafia szczecin” in the search bar and find video tutorials on the sublimation method and many other topics connected with printing.