In an ideal world, should there be such a thing, our sublimation printers would be in clean rooms with perfect temperature, perfect humidity, and not a speck of dust or lint anywhere near them. In the real world, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Most sublimation printers probably share a shop with other machines. They’re most likely to exposed to some temperature and humidity changes. It’s also likely they’ve seen their share of thread lint or dust. Sometimes they may sit unused for days, if orders are slow. That’s just the way it is.
Since the vast majority of us can’t afford a clean room, it’s simply good business to know what conditions are optimum for a sublimation system to perform its best, and then to try and replicate those conditions as closely as possible. If you’re looking for the best possible performance for your machine, here are some things to keep in mind.
Humidity – Humidity matters when it comes to ink and also when it comes to paper. If the air in your shop is too humid, your paper can absorb water from the air and won’t work its best. I wrote a post about this particular problem a while back. Ink can also be impacted by humidity. Sawgrass recommends, for optimum ink performance, that your shop have a humidity level above 35%.
Temperature – Temperature is another variable that can impact how well your sublimation system works. Sublimation ink works best at between 59 and 77 degrees. Sudden drops in temperature can impact the ink which is, after all, a liquid.
Sunlight – Most humans love to bask in the sunlight, but we know that too much sunlight can do us more harm than good. It’s much the same with sublimation paper and sublimation ink. Too much exposure to direct sunlight can cause both the ink and paper to fail. If your shop gets a lot of sunlight, make sure your ink and paper are stored in a space that is protected.
Lint and Dust – If you have an embroidery shop, thread lint is a fact of life. Debris from old ink, dust and other random particles probably swirl through the air of your shop every day, and can settle on all your machines. Make sure to protect your sublimation printer from debris in the air, and to run head cleanings to help ensure the heads stay clear.