Digital glazing for the printing of textures
Characteristics and advantages of the new Durst True Digital Tile Manufacturing 4.0
Although the tile decoration process is now fully digitalised, digital technology for glazing and above all for printing textured surfaces is still the dream of all ceramic companies as it would enable them to manage the entire production process with greater flexibility, optimise batches and offer unlimited potential for developing innovative products and designs quickly and cheaply, including solutions for large slabs.
A fully digitalised production line requires systems in which only digital files (rather than mechanical parts) need to be replaced during product changeover.
After years of hard work, Durst has now achieved this revolutionary goal with a digital glazing process called Durst True Digital Tile Manufacturing 4.0 which features:
- Flexible press with a smooth mould, complete with digital size and thickness changeover controls using technology readily available on the market and widely in use;
- Glazing and digital printing of textures using Durst Gamma DG printers equipped with Durst RockJET™ printheads, a solution that is currently undergoing field testing in the facilities of two well-known Italian manufacturers;
- Durst Gamma XD digital printers for synchronised decoration in line with Gamma DG and for creating natural-looking designs with total gradient effects;
- Durst ColorGATE CMS ceramic colour management system, which reduces times for trial runs, setup and machine stoppages while ensuring efficient production of small batches with excellent long-term repeatability;
- True digital material finishing with Durst Gamma DG, which allows wet material to be applied for unique and visually striking effects.
Durst True Digital Glazing technology, which uses products with similar properties to traditional ceramic glazes, is considered an even more significant innovation than digital decoration. At the heart of this innovative process is Gamma DG, the first high-performance single pass printer for digital glazing of ceramic tiles using water-based glazes with large particle sizes (> 45 microns) and high viscosity. The system achieves unparalleled resolution and quality of detail while guaranteeing maximum reliability and flexibility. The design is modular and configurable with 1 or 2 bars and different printing widths.
Gamma DG is equipped with the Durst RockJET™ proprietary printhead technology, which for the first time ever is able to perform high-resolution digital glaze application with the laydown of significant quantities and with a high degree of precision. This is the most delicate part of the process because of the significant value that is added to the product during this stage.
Durst technology allows for the creation of an unlimited number of unique and innovative designs with stunning visual and tactile effects. The extremely faithful reproduction of the graphic designs on the tile surface texture makes for a very natural result, setting the tiles apart from those decorated solely with digital printers on repetitive textures. Along with high-definition printing quality, Durst RockJET™ offers a high degree of versatility thanks to the possibility of decorating the tile with two different glazes at the same time. This technology also allows for on-demand production of small batches, contributing to warehouse optimisation.
Durst is currently conducting Gamma DG field tests at two important Italian ceramic companies, and the first industrially-made products will soon be presented to the market as a tangible demonstration of the advantages of the technology.
Digital printing of textures using Durst Gamma DG also brings significant advantages during the industrial development of new products as multiple texture variations can be tested on a single tile or slab rapidly and without additional costs.