How Your Blueberries Are Made: Part 5
Last week I hope you learned a little about how our products are printed here in-house.
This week I wanted to tell you about what happens once we have finished printing and we are ready to transfer the prints to our fabrics. This is a very delicate process with many moving pieces, called sublimation.
Sublimation is actually the process of transferring ink by heating it at a high temperature and turning into a gas in order to transfer onto a specific material.
But first things first. Let us explain it step-by-step.
First, we load the printed paper we just printed from step 4 and adjust settings so that the paper is tight when it's pulled through the heat press. Next, we load the material that we wish to print on. As I'm sure you are aware we have many different materials in which our diapers are made and each one has to be set to a different heat and speed setting as it runs through the sublimation machine.
Once everything is loaded we adjust the heat setting which is typically somewhere around the 400° F mark. This step is probably the most important because just one or two degrees off can change the brightness or vibrancy in the finished product. Which, of course, can cause the same diapers to look different (something no one wants). As the material runs through the machine it is pressed tight and protected by tissue paper to make sure colors don't bleed and sublimates flawlessly. Once inside the belt, it runs though for the designated amount of time we previously set based on the material. A typical time to remain on theheat is about 14-15 seconds and once it's out of the heat no more sublimation is needed. As the material makes its way to then end of the machine it is slowly rolled onto a core so that it can wrap without wrinkles and allows us the ability to ship easily. For our manufacturers it allows them to be able to roll out the material rapidly to cut into those fabulous diapers you've grown to love! On average we can sublimate 60 yards worth of material an hour but must be watched by multiple people to make sure everything runs smoothly. We watch for wrinkles, quality of the print, and have to cut the material and prints based on the numbers we need.
Obviously, there is much more to it, as to master this machine and feel comfortable working with it takes at least a month. This is one of the most important steps in the whole process of production.
We'll continue the process of "How Your Blueberries Are Made" next week in Part 6!
If you have other questions or concerns, please call customer service at 1-888-838-7987 or [email protected]