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Ceramic Inkjet Printing:
Digital printing machines changed the dynamics of the manufacturing processes and delivering innovative new products to the market. The ceramic tile industry is very dynamic, driven by consumer trends and retailer demands and, as such, is changing rapidly. The main market drivers as seen today are:
- Shorter life cycle of products
- More frequent design changes
- Desire for greater product differentiation
- Customization & personalization
World has become digital, So why should your tiles be left out?
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Digital printing technology is outselling conventional analog systems (Flat, rotoscreen, roto cylinder) due to its versatility and flexibility. Though, the Ink jet inks used in Digital printing costing more than conventional inks, this is outweighed by the cost saving in the print rollers, the time saved in setting up analog systems & reduced inventory levels. There has been a steady evolution of printer electronics, printing software, print-heads, inks, pigments and chemicals. Of course, strong competition among different companies has been a catalyst for this. Ceramic inkjet decoration machines perfectly fit into the existing production lines and improve efficiency.
Advantages of Digital printing machine:
- - Printing long runs of single design not required for economies of scale. (Short run lengths and cost efficient production)
- - Creation of colour profiles independently and autonomously. High quality profiles with maximum chromatic separation
- - Quick pattern change & short runs, simply add new file. (Short lead times and no set-up time)
- - Drastic reduction in pigment & glaze use with a consequent reduction of inventory
- - Elimination of screens, screen rollers, silicon rollers, devices to engrave, etc. and easier testing at lower costs
- - Machines fit seamlessly into present production lines
- - Can replicate natural stones, marble & wood
- - Better consistency & repeatability of design because storage and control of all printing parameters are easier
- - Can be used to print reliefs, tile edge decoration & full relief decoration. (Printing of textured tiles)
- - Digital Inkjet printing is non-contact and helps reduced wastage & breakage
Advantages of Digital printing over traditional printing:
- - Short run – labour costs of set-up and job change can make traditional printing impractical for unique projects and uneconomic for a short print run
- - Printing of textured tiles and tile edge decoration
- - High production cost of one-off tiles for sample purposes.
Plus, of course, traditional print does not cater for the current need for rapid change which demands "just-in-time" solutions and economic methods of handling short print runs with both acceptable production efficiencies and levels of non-productive down-time (it takes 30 minutes to change rollers on the traditional printing machines and 1.5 hours to adjust the colour). With inkjet and digital technology, changes in images and print jobs can be done quickly.
There are more advantages but we must also admit that digital printing cannot always substitute for traditional methods of printing, especially when we need higher thicknesses of paste or when we need strongly colored surface areas.