Cobra Ink. No name ink from China. Sawgrass Ink. When it comes to sublimation, it seems like there are a lot of choices for the ink that can be used, but that’s a bit misleading. Yes, there are a number of inks that advertise themselves as sublimation ink, but not all of them work the same way in your printer. An ink that isn’t high quality can cause nozzles to clog, print heads to break and designs to print with reds that aren’t red and blacks that look gray. The quality of the ink you use matters, for a couple of reasons.
The first is the fact that calling sublimation ink by the name ink is a bit of a misnomer. Sublimation ink is made up of a carrier fluid that carries dye solids. Because of this, sublimation ink has a high viscosity and, at times, more trouble going through standard inkjet print heads. Keep in mind, this is not in all cases. We have countless examples of customers who have printed successfully for years with their Ricoh 3110 or 7700 printers. Still, sublimation ink does have an increased potential to cause problems when used in a standard inkjet printer. One of the reasons that the Virtuoso Printers were created was so they could be designed specifically to meet the special needs of sublimation ink.
Another issue that can create problems for sublimation printers is refillable cartridges. When it comes to printer systems, there are generally two types, a closed system and an open system. A closed system is one in which the cartridges are prefilled and installed directly into the printer. In this type of system, there is no opportunity for dust or other contaminants to mix with the ink. By contrast, an open system, one where ink from bottles or bags is poured into refillable cartridges offers the opportunity for air bubbles or contaminants to mix in with the ink. The result can, at worst, be damage to the print head.
Those of you reading this, after even a cursory glance at the sublimation section of our website, will probably notice that we carry Sublijet Ink and Virtuoso Printers and may, as a result, conclude everything we’ve said up to now is biased, but you’d be wrong. EnMart, or EnMart’s parent company, Ensign Emblem, has been working with inkjet sublimation practically since the process existed. We were instrumental in bringing inkjet sublimation to the industrial laundry and rental uniform community. After years, even decades, of sublimating emblems, and occasionally making mugs and mousepads and shirts, we understand how sublimation works, and we know that the products we sell will provide the best finished goods, because we use them too.