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.