Wearables

Advances in Tech Decoration

Keeping up with mobile electronic trends requires a focus on how imprints are designed and applied. “Customizing and decorating objects are hot trends right now, regardless of the type of product,”says Lily Hunter, product manager, textiles and consumables at Roland DGA (asi/18201). “People are personalizing just about everything these days, from apparel to tech accessories, as part of a growing desire to individualize and differentiate themselves.”

Dye-sublimation is an effective choice, whether the tech accessory is soft or hard. It can take the wear and tear of daily use. “Dye-sublimation offers outstanding durability because during the sublimation process, the inks actually become part of the polyester or polymer coating,”Hunter explains. What that means is the sublimated inks will not rub or wash off. Roland offers its new Texart RT-640 dye-sublimation printer, which can be used to sublimate onto poly-coated hard-shell phone cases or polyester products, like cleaning cloths and smart-pad sleeves. “The RT-640 is a transfer sublimation printer,”Hunter adds, “so regardless of what your end product is (hard substrate or soft polyester fabric), you start off with the same process – printing onto a transfer paper. The sublimation or transferring of inks from paper to a polyester/polymer-coated substrate occurs during the heat press.”

When it comes to the functionality of tech accessories, decoration definitely becomes an important consideration. Gloves are a good example. The printing method and materials utilized by Pop! Promos (asi/45657) allow for the gloves’ imprint to move and stretch with the glove, ensuring its longevity. “The tips, which can also be Pantone-matched, are woven with a microfilament that creates the touchscreen sensitivity,”says Kelly Shermer, marketing assistant at Pop! Promos. “We choose the best imprint method based on the product, a logo and its complexity to make sure a quality promotion. For example, a tech wallet can be outfitted with a full bleed digital imprint, ensuring that just about any image can be put on the wallet.”

Location of an imprint as well as the need to apply it to a variety of products should always be a consideration. “With Mobile Edge’s preferred decoration method using a molded logo patch, we have the ability to use the same patch on virtually any product we produce,”says Matthew Ovivolo of Mobile Edge (asi/71854). “That means if a customer wants 25 briefcases for men, 15 totes for women and 10 messenger bags for salespeople, we can accommodate them by using the same patch. This makes the setup and run charges less expensive for the customer, and allows them the flexibility to mix and match products to suit their customer’s individual needs.”

Material matters too. Leather, for example, can be subtly debossed. Nucom/Burk’s Bay (asi/74600) offers high-end lambskin touchscreen gloves. To match the upscale gift, the supplier offers in-house debossing. Jonathan Walther of Burk’s Bay says, “An adeptly placed logo on the top cuff area of the left glove will enhance the value of the gift for both the recipient and provider.”

What You Need To Sublimate

  • Lily Hunter, product manager of textiles and consumables at Roland DGA (asi/18201), breaks down the equipment and materials you need to dye-sublimate tech accessories in-house:
  • A dye-sublimation printer, like the Texart RT-640, and premium-quality sublimation inks. Roland’s Texart SBL3 inks are formulated to bring out the best in the RT-640 for vibrant color and excellent detail.
  • A quality coated transfer paper, such as Roland’s Texart Sublimation Transfer Paper, or transfer film (for 3-D vacuum presses).
  • A heat press to suit the type of object you’re sublimating onto.


A variety of tech accessory decorations are available from Pop! Promos (asi/45657; circle 77 on Free Info Card), including screen printing for its touchscreen gloves and silk screening or full-color/full-bleed digital printing for sticky wallets, sticky stands and sticky cleaners.


The new Texart RT-640 dye-sublimation printer from Roland DGA (asi/18201; circle 80 on Free Info Card) is versatile enough to sublimate phone cases or soft products like cleaning cloths and smart-pad sleeves.