Trends and Technologies
A higher level of excellence through digital printing technology
Ink jet printing has revolutionised ceramic tile decoration, taking our industry to a whole new level of competitiveness and excellence. By enabling unlimited flexibility and intricacy of design, it’s allowed the development of cutting edge trends. These designs, in turn, have become an integral element in contemporary interior design.
As well as creating a surge of new contemporary styles, technology has helped create demand for natural effects, like marble, stone and wood. Authentic replicas can now be printed on any surface and high-definition print quality, combined with print consistency and a combination of glazes, is creating results that can sometimes appear more authentic than the real thing.
Creating individual designs is an intricate process. Fine droplets of different coloured inks are released onto the tile surface, with some machines transmitting up to 4000 drops per second and 1000 drops per inch (dpi). To create more complex patterns, different coloured inks are applied in multiple layers and throughout the process the individual droplet size and transmission rate is controlled by computer. As well as producing honed tiles, textured and embossed surfaces can also be created by layering ink. Unlike traditional methods which leave a narrow frame around the edge of the tile, designs can also be printed right to the border, providing uniformity. There’s also no limit on the number of pattern repeats.
At the very forefront of this technology, new high-definition Nanopix Digital print technology is giving designs even greater distinction. The advanced technique uses ‘tri-dimensional’ nanometer photographic technology to create multi-layer, high definition decorative tiles. Printing in three dimensions, in fine nanometer-grade, sharpens quality and gives greater depth; the resulting fresh colour and vivid effect is incomparable.
This new technology is becoming a key industry tool that allows companies to assert leadership in design and quality. It has the unique ability to cater to the distinct aesthetic demands of customers worldwide, as it makes it a lot easier to conceptualize, develop and implement creative ideas and schemes.
There are now a stunning array of digitally printing tiles being introducing, drawing inspiration from architectural structure, natural materials, fashion and art. At the forefront of the digital printing revolution, RAK Ceramics has introduced a number of natural Nanopix effects. They include Stone Art, a stone-effect series; the marble-effect Orion Collection and wood finishes, including the 45x45 Wood Series.