UV printing on ceramics tiles
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Overlaying a stone product is a simple and effective way to make it unique. Pools, chimneys, facades, walls and floors – The field of UV printing on stone is wide and varied. UV inks and UV stone printing help you create original finishes, including one-piece, quickly and at minimal cost.
Premium quality image printing on stone facade panels DUAL KHERR. Such panels are the basis for creating designer radiators CLIMASTAR. Where are ability to render any image on a stone facade: a picture of your favorite artist, images of cartoon heroes or even a photo from your family archive.
From tiles to glass, digital ceramic printing technologies enable direct printing to fragile materials. With this capability, the benefits of digital—fast turnarounds, reduced set up, and cost-effective short runs—expand to new markets.
Ceramic printers are commonly used to decorate ceramic surfaces and tiles. The technology is well suited for applications in architecture and interior décor for items like facades, balustrades, canopies, dividers, partitions, doors, and kitchen and shower glass; automotive and transportation, including digitally printed replacement glass, train windows, buses, and coach glazing; appliances like refrigerators, ovens, glass cookers, tabletops, and cupboard doors and tops; and awards and personalization from custom interior décor to personalized titles for recognition.
Printing to Ceramics
There are several ways to print to ceramic materials, including, but not limited to digital. Both dedicated machines and multi-function UV flatbed printers serve the demand for digitally printed ceramics.
Compared to an analog process, a digital process eliminates the cost involved in set up for screens or films, making turnaround time quicker and enabling short runs while maximizing revenue return.
According to Norbert von Aufschnaiter, manager ceramics printing division, Durst Phototechnik AG, this lessened cost is also seen at the buyer level. “Customized products are at reasonable prices thanks to things like minimized downtime—designs can change without the substitution of mechanical parts.”
Andrea Annovi, engineering director and Luciano Bastardi, automation engineering manager, System Ceramics, a System Spa division, explain that digital print technology makes it possible to produce original surfaces “capable of imitating the finish of rusted metal, the feel of wood and its natural vein, and nature’s most precious marbles—allowing for unlimited creativity.”
Yuval Nahum, head of marketing, Dip-Tech, a Ferro Company, says the advantages of combining ceramic inks for glass and wide format, vivid digital printing processes include UV durability in outdoor conditions, supreme adhesion, and chemical and scratch resistance. “Ceramic inks can be laminated, bended, and double glazed, and can also be printed first surface,” he continues.
Digital printing allows vivid or single-color design with full personalization and no setup costs. According to Nahum, opaqueness or transparency, light transmission, and see through or privacy can be controlled. In addition, large scale projects can be divided for different glass panels for the ideal match. “It is also easy to match color digitally and to achieve elegant gradients and frost glass effects.”
Traditionally, ceramic ink is printable on flat glass by screenprinting. “Screenprinting may be acceptable and cost effective if no customization is needed,” suggests Nahum. He adds that it is suitable for many one-color applications.
Flat glass can also be printed with UV printing and organic inks, printing in an interlayer and laminated in between two pieces of glass. “However, there are challenges to using these methods. UV organic printed ink can have adhesion issues with the glass, scratchability issues, and UV resistance challenges. This type of printing is therefore mainly used for indoor wall cladding—for example, kitchen backsplashes—where it can be protected with back painting. The installation environment also needs to be considered for environmental durability issues,” continues Nahum.
The challenge for transitioning to digital ceramic printing is meeting requirements for speed, affordability, and compliance with respective industry standards. “But this revolution is already happening as faster and more competitive return on investment solutions are introduced,” says Nahum.
It is also important to educate the market. Dip-Tech is dedicated to training the architectural and interior designer communities around the world to the possibilities of digital ceramic printing. “Educating the market segments is done in different channels, including but not limited to exhibitions for architects and designers, seminars, webinar training, and online activity to expose the advantages of using our technology,” shares Nahum.