Digital Decoration Of Products And Surfaces


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Xennia's Tim Phillips describes the markets for digital product and surface decoration, including laminates and furnishing, ceramic tiles, wall coverings and glass. He then describes the challenges and opportunies for digital printing of these products. This talk was presented at the Decorative Surfaces Conference, Munich, Germany in April 2011.

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Digital Decoration Of Products And Surfaces

  1. 1. DIGITAL DECORATION OFPRODUCTS AND SURFACES Dr Tim Phillips Xennia Technology Ltd Presented at the Decorative Surfaces Conference Munich, Germany, April 2011
  2. 2. TALK OUTLINE 1. Introduction to Xennia 2. Product and surface decoration 3. Technology issues 4. Application examples
  4. 4. Xennia helps customers lower operating costs, increase productivity and simplify mass customised productionby revolutionising manufacturing processes
  5. 5. Background Xennia is the world‟s leading industrial inkjet solutions provider 14 year history, over 300 customer development programmes World class reputation underpinned by a strong IP portfolio Unique expertise in inkjet chemistry with strong engineering capability Headquartered in UK, sales offices in US and China Awarded Queen‟s Award for Enterprise in 2010 Offering reliable inkjet process solutions: Inkjet modules and inks for OEM partners with market access Printing systems and inks for end users through our distributors
  6. 6. From inkjet ideas ... to production reality Feasibility studies Process development System design Production solutions
  7. 7. Xennia develops & supplies digital solutions based on inkjet modules, systems and inks for industrial applications
  9. 9. Product decoration Huge demand for digital production decoration of products Key drivers are: Reduced costs Print on demand means no need for large inventories Increased productivity Printing system spends the whole time printing Faster response to customer demands New designs can be introduced rapidly Products can be personalised/customised on the fly
  10. 10. Key industrial applications I Textiles Ceramic tiles Digital decoration of textiles: Reel-to-reel textile production Digital decoration of: Clothing Ceramic wall tiles Flags, banners, awnings Ceramic floor tiles Soft furnishings
  11. 11. Key industrial applications II Architectural glass Flooring & furniture laminates Digital glass printing applications: Architectural features Digital decoration of: Frosted effects Flooring laminates Appliance glass Furniture laminates (Automotive) Direct product printing Edge banding
  12. 12. Key industrial applications III Product decoration Wall coverings Digital decoration of: Digital decoration of: Consumer wallpaper Automotive glass/headlamps/fairings/parts Commercial wallpaper Safety/automotive helmets Commercial vinyl coverings Security wristbands/identity cards Optical fibres, wires and connectors Consumer appliances/products etc.
  13. 13. KEY APPLICATIONSApplication Market Size Market Requirement OpportunityTextiles Printed textiles $165Bn Cost effective RTR printing High productivity RTR with(Reel to reel – RTR) with fast design aqueous dye inks introductionCeramics 8Bn m2 tiles printed Wall/floor tile printing with High throughput fixed array +(Tiles) annually digital capability ceramic inks Yearly equipment sales Digital ceramic decal XY + ceramic inks (sampling) >$800m printingWall/floor/furniture Decorative laminate Fast high quality digital wall High throughput fixed array +coverings market $21.2 Bn covering printing solvent/aqueous inks globally High productivity digital XY + UV inks laminate/decor printing Rigid furnishingsGlass Printed glass $1.3Bn High productivity High throughput fixed array +(Architectural) production printing high temp inks(Appliance) Fast turnaround batch XY + PVB inks/UV inks printing Ability to print non-flat
  14. 14. Textiles market RTR digital textile market 2010 Hardware $137m (6% growth) Ink $454m (15% growth) Printed output value $1.3Bn (13% growth) DTG digital textile market 2010 Hardware $184m (23% growth „opportunity for ~10,000 high end units‟) Ink $145m (32% growth) Printed output $2.45Bn (35% growth) Systems from Mimaki, Roland, Mutoh (low end) Robustelli, Reggiani, Konica Minolta, Osiris (high end) Inks from Huntsman, Dupont, Xennia, Dystar, BASF, Kiian, Sensient etc Source: IT Strategies Spring 2009
  15. 15. Textile market drivers Drivers towards digital printing Reduced time to introduce new designs (few hours versus several days) Lower energy consumption Lower water and materials consumption Reduced cost to introduce new designs (no requirement to make screens) Competitive for shorter runs Example: lower cost below1,200m for 8 colour screen versus typical digital Current typical digital cost €3-5/m2 Average run length decreasing Now below 2,000m, was 3,500m in 1994 Promise of even lower digital costs, lower at all run lengths Huge potential for digital textile printing Source: Gherzi 2008
  16. 16. Textile market requirement Market requirement for RTR textiles Printing system High productivity (>300 m2/hr) High reliability (>98% up time) Cost effective High quality (600+dpi, greyscale, 6+ colours) Inks Excellent colour performance (competitive with analogue) Excellent fastness performance (competitive with analogue) Ink costs that give printed cost < analogue for required run length
  17. 17. Ceramic tile market Worldwide ceramic tile output > 9,500M sq m (2010) Production focussed in Asia and EU (2009 numbers) Asia 65.1% (+7.1% from 2008) EU 12.6% (-24.8%) Central/South America 10.5% (-0.8%) Other Europe (incl. Turkey) 4.6% (-10.4%) Equipment sales in 2008 > $800M Difficult economic conditions in 2008 Good recovery now Inkjet growth accelerating Source: Ceramic World Review 2010
  18. 18. Ceramics market drivers Shorter product lifecycles and print runs Natural randomisation Desire for greater product differentiation Bevelled edges Textured surfaces Customisation and personalisation Wider range of tile types Different firing regimes for different materials Thinner tiles use less material (inkjet is non contact) Cost reduction – reduced inventory Higher yield Better quality
  19. 19. Ceramics market need Market requirement for ceramic tile printing Printing system High productivity (>900 m2/hr) High reliability (>98% up time) Cost effective High quality (300+dpi, greyscale,) Good colour performance (4+ colours) Inks Excellent colour performance when fired Good reliability in system Lower operating costs
  20. 20. Decorative laminate market US decorative laminate sales $6.4Bn in 2009 Forecast to rise 3.3% p.a. to 14 Bn ft2, $8.9 Bn in 2013 Global market > $21.2 Bn in 2009, Europe ~ 28.5% Asia Pacific sales projected to exceed US sales by 2012 US demand breakdown (2008) 29% low basis weight papers 13% decorative foils 22% saturated papers 16% vinyl films 18% high pressure laminates 2% edge banding Source: Pira Industrial Inkjet 2009, Freedonia Group
  21. 21. Decoration market drivers Currently dominated by screen and flexo Drivers towards inkjet Move beyond commodity designs Experimental fashions Customised surfaces – logos & murals Customisation and short runs Market requirements Flatbed digital printing of rigid furnishings up to 1.5 x 1.0 m UV ink Continuous printing of flexible laminate films/decor paper (width?) Solvent/aqueous ink Source: Pira Industrial Inkjet 2009
  22. 22. Wall covering market Overall wall coverings market forecast to reach $26 Bn by 2015 Boosted by recovering world market and expansion in residential construction UK: wall covering expenditure £315m, compared with £440m on ceramic tiles (2009) Down 6.5% on previous year Source: Durability and Design, 2011
  23. 23. Wall covering market drivers Currently dominated by flexo and gravure Drivers towards inkjet Faster introduction of new designs Experimental fashions Customised printing – murals etc Shorter run lengths Market requirements Continuous printing of paper & vinyl wall coverings Solvent/aqueous ink Source: Freedonia
  24. 24. Glass decoration market Worldwide fabricated glass market $66Bn in 2010 Standard flat glass plus value-added - laminated, insulating etc Growth 5% Applications Construction (65%) Automotive (25%) Speciality (furniture, mirror) (10%) Printed glass market $1.3Bn Mainly architectural and appliance (plus automotive) Mainly screen at present Source: Pilkington Glass Report 2009
  25. 25. Glass decoration drivers Drive to value-added products Environmental, safety including earthquake, hurricane Dominated by screen printing at present Market requirements
  27. 27. Solution requirements Industrial inkjet solutions must have the following: Excellent image quality Good durability of the printed image Required productivity Production reliability User friendly and powerful software
  28. 28. Inkjet printing software Image processing Geometrical transforms RIP Colour management Printhead-specific data System integration Managing system components Receiving external commands Variable image printing Generating each image Tracking and verification
  29. 29. Image quality Goal is: To create images with best possible look To deposit materials with minimum error The quality circle relates: Customer perception (image quality) e.g. sharpness, colourfulness, contrast Physical image parameters (print quality) e.g. optical density, line acuity, dot placement Technology (ink, printheads, printer, etc)
  30. 30. Image durability Durability of the printed image is vital Durability must be sufficient for the application Effects on durability from Substrate (material, surface properties, dirt etc) Ink (binders/monomers/oligomers) Process (pre/post-treatment) Adhesion of ink to required substrate Cross-hatch tape/Scratch/Scuff/abrasion resistance Film hardness Solvent/water/specific chemical resistance Fastness Water/wash/humidity, Rub/crock, Light/UV, Dark/ozone
  31. 31. System productivity Printhead/ink drop ejection frequency Print resolution Number of printheads/nozzles Fixed array/scanning array configuration Motion system Post-treatment (drying/curing) system
  32. 32. System reliability Ink/printhead/nozzle interaction Printhead connections/wires/electronics Ink system/pipework Maintenance system Software UV systems Verification system Motion system/substrate handling
  33. 33. Major developments Key driver Ink chemistry Key developments UV/pigment inks Greyscale printheads Recirculating ink technology Inkjet modules Fixed array systems Diagonal printing systems
  34. 34. Inkjet solution design Balance between: Quality Productivity Cost Reliability Ink/printhead/substrate interaction has to be understood Inkjet process has to be robust and meet requirements Inkjet process has to complement existing manufacturing process Process has to be industrially robust
  35. 35. Integration – the key challenge Wetting, drying, curing Fluid control Ink chemistry Substrate Printheads Motion systemEncoder/product detect Drive electronics, software
  36. 36. Process cost Capital cost Development cost/number of systems System supply cost Running cost Ink cost Ink usage Productivity/availability Consumables Maintenance/spares Utilities
  37. 37. Cost comparison with analogue Cost factors to be taken into account Analogue versus digital print run costs Fixed costs £14.00 £12.00 System cost/depreciation/finance/spares £10.00 Analogue run cost (£/m2) Print run cost (£/m2) Digital run cost (£/m2) £8.00 Energy costs/operator costs £6.00 Inventory storage (zero for digital) £4.00 £2.00 Running costs £0.00 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 Print run length (m2) System productivity/utilisation Analogue versus digital print run costs Run length £14.00 £12.00 Setup time/setup cost £10.00 Analogue run cost (£/m2) Print run cost (£/m2) Digital run cost (£/m2) Print yield £8.00 £6.00 Ink coverage/cost/wastage £4.00 £2.00 Consumables £0.00 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 Print run length (m2)
  39. 39. Glass decoration Fixed array production system for high volume Flatbed scanning system for small batches Print onto: Glass during manufacture PVB film prior to lamination Glass after manufacture All need specific inks Firing ink PVB compatible ink UV inks
  40. 40. Furnishing laminate decoration Requirement for high throughput printing Flexible laminates – papers and films Also direct printing onto wood, MDF etc Laminates Solvent or aqueous inks Compatibility with existing lamination process vital Direct printing UV (or solvent) inks Edge banding UV inks Requirement for colour matching/metamerism
  41. 41. Typical laminate printing system Fixed array high productivity system Scalable width Compatible with variety of processes UV Solvent Pigmented inks Compatible with any flexible substrate
  42. 42. System in action
  43. 43. Ceramic tile printing 560 or 720mm print width Fixed array single pass printing 29m/min throughput 4 colours (expandable to 6) Double throughput/double density version Requires specialised inks
  44. 44. Wide format printing Textiles, graphics, wall coverings etc Printing configurations have pros and cons Single pass fixed array wide area swath continuous web printing High productivity High complexity and cost High risk (missing nozzle shows up) Single pass Maintenance difficult without stopping No error tolerance Scanning XY systems Multiple passes Low productivity Low complexity and cost Low risk (nozzle redundancy) Maintenance easy Error tolerant
  45. 45. New concept Reciprocating diagonal continuous single pass printing 1.6-3.0m Two print bars printing complementary patterns WO 2009/056641
  46. 46. Diagonal printing High productivity All nozzles are used efficiently Continuous substrate motion Quality Greyscale high resolution printing Disguise missing nozzles & head variability through software algorithms Redundancy in software, not spare nozzles No banding Maintenance without stopping line Same proven technology as XY systems High reliability printheads Flexibility to vary time spent on maintenance
  47. 47. System in action
  48. 48. Textile printing inks Reactive dye inks Suitable for cotton and cotton/polyester blends High optical density even in single pass applications High stability and fixation Acid dye For high quality silk printing Disperse dye For durable printing onto polyester Pigment inks UV cure inks Including white for printing onto dark coloured textiles Broad textile application - no post treatment required Heat set inks Advanced chemistry means competitive costs
  49. 49. Digital finishing Major benefits of “digital finishing” provided by inkjet Benefits Multi functionality Single sided application possible Two sides can have different functions Patterning Functionality applied efficiently to textile surface only Highly consistent coat weight Environmental and energy savings Applications Slow release technology, Digital dyeing, Hydrophobic coatings UV blocking, Fire retardant, Antimicrobial
  50. 50. Typical flatbed printer Up to 6 colours (2x white) Print area up to 4m x 2.6m Throughput up to 100m2/hr Optional vacuum table to secure product(s) Optional turntable for easy load/unload Recirculating ink systems Integrated print software
  51. 51. System in action
  52. 52. Summary Digital printing of decorative surfaces a very promising application Key market drivers for personalisation and shorter runs Technology challenges need to be understood and addressed Important to develop specific solutions for particular applications