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Technical Evolution of Ceramic Tile Digital Decoration

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The first digital systems to appear in the traditional decoration of ceramic tiles were for the manufacture of photolithographs, screen printing screens, and rollers. However, since these systems do not allow direct digital decoration of the ceramic tile, they are not very versatile and constrain productivity.

The formulation of inks with soluble and vitrifiable stains enabled inkjet printing technology to be introduced into ceramic tile decoration. The incorporation of milled inorganic pigments into the inks then broadened the available colour palette. The colloidal instability of these inks and the own constraints of the printing heads made it necessary to reduce the particle size of the pigments used, thus limiting colour saturation.

In order to overcome this technological challenge, pigments with larger particle sizes need to be used, making it necessary to introduce other digital decoration techniques, such as xerography.

The adaptation of this technique to ceramic tile decoration entails the development of ceramic toners and the adjustment of the printing machines. A system has been developed that is able to print ceramic tiles by contact, which has required adjusting the mechanical and electrical properties of the transfer roller.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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