Guest blogger Eva Annys: ‘Where has sublimation taken me so far?’

Universal Woods EMEA is growing fast and the company keeps expanding: I am the latest new colleague since January. I am writing after only three weeks of experience in the sublimation process and I’m aware that I am the new kid on the block. Although this might sound strange, I feel that with my background and constant eagerness to learn, I found the perfect job!

It is actually so, that the sublimation technique brings me back to the precision and approach which I am usFeatured imageed to from my conservation and restoration days. To obtain a successfully sublimated print a lot of factors need to fall into place. I have learned that once you have a suitable picture (of which I am sure an article about this will appear on this blog sooner or later) a special printer and compatible paper and inks are required. With these steps taken, my job at the heat press begins.

Right from the start I decided to keep track of important data for every panel I sublimate, a good tip if you want to get to know your equipment. I list the following parameters: date | item number | material | finish (White gloss, White matte, Clear gloss, …) | size of panels | number of panels under the press | temperature | time | remarks.

With these data I will come to a conclusion for the best pressing time at the best temperature and this for every material and product size. In the future one of my tasks will also be to give you detailed advice on this matter. So far I have discovered that it is not always straight forward as to how long you need to heat a panel. Under-sublimation gives a blurry and cloudy result. Sometimes only 30 seconds can make the difference!
In my brief time at Universal Woods I helped prepare for two exhibitions, made sample kits, prepared and sent sample requests for clients and prospects. Sometimes I was so carried away by these activities that days flew by.

Before I end I want to give you a small tip on how to remove the foil from our coated panels. A video was sent to us from our manufacturing plant in the US, showing how a colleague removes the protective foil that protects our products in a few seconds, using double sided tape. It involves placing a short end of double sided tape to your working surface and then sliding a foiled panel over it. This unleashes a little corner so you can easily grab the foil with your fingers and pull it off. I have tested this technique on several materials and coatings and found out it works well for MDF or Hardboard panels. For aluminum it is not always timesaving though!

Any questions on our materials or in need of a good tip to help you out with a specific product? Don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail at!

At thFeatured imagee beginning of January 2015, Eva Annys joined the Universal Woods EMEA marketing team as Sublimation Specialist. As a hands-on technical marketing team member her career path leads to one goal: sublimation! Eva obtained a master degree in conservation-restoration studies in 2005 at Hogeschool Antwerpen (recently listed under University of Antwerp). For many years she was active in this field, both in teaching and cooperating in various prestigious art conservation projects in Belgium and abroad.


How to produce and finish tabletops (+video)

Achieving the best quality, avoiding problems and having a seemless production flow, is the key of your succes in your production environment. To produce end results that show those vibrating colors and ultimate image clarity, you need to know the correct way of handling, manipulating and finishing your product. Giving you less stress and helping you to refine your workflow is why I write this monthly blogpost, that will cover mostly technical subjects. After all, time is money, and knowledge is the power of your business.

tabletopUniversal Woods, the leader in professional sublimation products,  launched in 2014 a new and unique product, called “TABLETOPS”. These tabletops, made from our strong MDF panels and covered with multiple coatings to last long, are eye catchers in every restaurant. They are finished with a black plastic border and they are – as are all our other products – scratch resistant.

In the next 10 minutes you will learn how to sublimate our table tops in a correct way. Table tops exist in square and round dimensions and you can order the blanc table tops from your local ChromaLuxe distributor. They come in 2 sizes: 60 x 60 cm and 75 x 75 cm and have a white semi-gloss finish.

Always store your blank table tops in the same room as where your heat press is located, to avoid big differences in temperature and humidity. As for all our other products, humidity is the enemy in sublimation.

Print your image on your sublimation printer (you need at least a printer that can handle 36inch/92cm rolls of paper) with a professional RIP software. Be sure that your image has 0.75 cm bleed on each side. Let it dry for at least 30 minutes after printing (do not put your printed paper on top of your heat press!).

Remove the protecting foil from the blank table top and clean it with a soft tissue to remove dust. Clean the edges with a Magic Sponge (Mr Proper) to remove left over glue between MDF and the plastic border.

Attach the printed paper with heat resistant tape on 2 sides. Put the table top on the heatpress (face up) and cover it with a sheet of Endura (you need a heat press that is slightly bigger than the table top you want to sublimate). Set your heatpress to 185°C – 5.5 bar – 6:00 minutes and start the sublimation process.

Remove the paper immediately when the sublimation process is done and let your table top cool down (horizontally). Because of the moisture, the table top can be bended slightly. To straighten it, put the table top again on the heatpress, with the printed side face down and heat it again for 1:00 minute (protect your image with a clean paper). When completely cooled it will be straight (If necessary, put some weigth on your table top to straighten).

Finally, use the Magic Sponge again to remove left over glue/paper on the edges. Screw your tabletop to a nice foot and your table is ready to use.

ITEM # 4397 – Square Tabletop 60x60cm
ITEM # 4398 – Round Tabletop 60x60cm
ITEM # 4399 – Square Tabletop 75x75cm
ITEM # 4400 – Round Tabletop 75x75cm

stevieSteven Roesbeke has a huge experience in the graphical industry with a lot of expertise in color management and output solutions. Since 2013 he is the Technical Support Field Engineer at Universal Woods EMEA. Read his technical blog posts to discover helpful tips & tricks and learn more about the do’s and dont’s of (large format) sublimation. You can always contact him at

From the ridiculous to the sublime.

Let’s turn around the famous idiom “From the sublime to the ridiculous” which, by the way, is first attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte when his attempted invasion of Russia fell apart!

I’ve been very closely involved with photo printing for more years than I care to mention – from black Featured imageand white printing at home in my bathroom (where I even tried coating my own paper – truly ridiculous) to the very latest digital print technologies.

In those years I worked first at Durst and later at Fujifilm, always involved in printing. In recent years I was in charge of Fujifilm Europe’s Large Format Printing division so I have worked with many print materials, both silver halide and inkjet.

Two years ago I discovered metal sublimation printing for the first time at Loxley Colour Labs in Scotland. During a visit I saw their Alumini prints on ChromaLuxe and was truly amazed. These were the most stunning photo prints that I had ever seen. With a luminescence and almost 3 dimensional look, my reaction was simply ‘Wow!’ – a term I heard used quite often at our Photokina stand last September when people saw large format ChromaLuxe prints for the first time.

For me, dye sublimation had previously meant little 10x15cm printers using extremely un-eco friendly red/green/blue dye ribbons producing medium quality photo prints in seconds and built for use in instant print kiosks. What I saw at Loxley was totally different.

These prints were made using 8 colour inks on an Epson printer and then sublimating them onto a specially coated 1,2 mm aluminium panel using a 200oC heat press. The colour gamut was equal to top quality silver halide prints and the colours ‘popped’. Added to which it was incredibly durable – scratch and chemical resistant – and lightweight for transport and easy hanging. Unlike the ribbon dye sub system, print life is 100 years plus. The final print was literally ‘sublime’.

In the 1980’s Victor Kiam advertised the Remington electric shaver. His famous catchphrase, “I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company”, made him a household name. Sadly I couldn’t afford to buy the ChromaLuxe company, but it has been a real pleasure to be able to join the team and promote their product.

So from coating papers in my home darkroom to promoting ChromaLuxe prints for gallery and exhibition printing, this became a story of “the ridiculous to the sublime”!

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Charles Henniker-Heaton has over 30 years experience in the imaging industry, first at Durst and then at Fujifilm as a senior manager involved in retail photo, chemicals and since 2006 as European Marketing Manager for large format printing. He joined ChromaLuxe EMEA in 2014 in charge of European Business Development for large format.

All well that starts well !

Starting a blog is like starting a relationship: it’s exciting, fun and you hope it will last forever. Above all: to keep everyone happy, you need discipline. All well that starts well though. I’m happy to welcome you to Configuration_46this blog which will be all about sublimation in the EMEA-region (Europe-Africa-Middle East), about bringing your sublimation business to the market and we’ll also be offering you a bunch of technical tips and tricks. The blog will be powered by ChromaLuxe, so do excuse us when we take live examples to pimp our story. ChromaLuxe, Unisub and SwitchCase might not be far off on many occasions.

We, I say, because I also want to welcome my co-bloggers. Every week of the month we have another writer that talks to you from his/her field of expertise. Charles Henniker-Heaton will write every second Tuesday about sublimation, looked at from the perspective of an expert in the world of photographic printing, but a relative newcomer to sublimation. I know he recently sublimated his very first Unisub items at a Christmas Fair, I’m very sure he’ll be happy to share with you how that went.

Steven Roesbeke is our Technical Support Engineer: the person to follow when you want to learn more about the do’s and don’ts of (large format) sublimation. Steven will write about how to get perfect results when sublimating, but also which accessories to look at. He might also throw in some free tips and tricks. Mark your agenda the 3rd Tuesday of every month!

The 4th Tuesday we’ll have a guest writing the blog, a different one every month. We try to look for fun, interesting or surprising stories from the sublimation business.

4 times during 2015 there is a 5th Tuesday in the month. These weeks our Managing Director Erik Wiegman agreed to end every quarter with a story about the most remarkable encounter he had, area he visited or lesson he learned during the last 3 months.

We are sharing this information to let you have a look inside our exciting world of sublimation. Please follow us, share us, ask us questions and make suggestions. We always appreciate a peek back!