Any image can be applied to the glass through digital ceramic printing. The image could be a pattern or even text. The invention of this method opened brand new possibilities and also improvements in glass treatment and decoration. The list of benefits includes a high percentage of customization and opacity control. Light transmission and light diffusion can be controlled, which can also helps to reduce bird collision instances.
Challenges of glass
The glass is radically different from fabric or paper as it is transparent and non-absorbent. The digital printing technology used is crafted to adapt to challenges brought forward by the characteristics of the glass itself. The first printing on glass was made possible by silk screen printing in 1907. The process of screen printed transfers gained popularity during the 1930s. Modern technology is now in the form of UV pinning and using curable inks. This method enabled complex digital printing on glass. The only problem was that the UV curable inks do not fuse with the glass. Ceramic inks do and thus can be used in architectural glass and automotive glass applications.
Ceramic printing on glass involves the firing or tempering of the glass to fuse inks with glass. The extreme temperatures involved with this process means an inevitable organic additive decomposition along with the ink binders. The ceramic frit then fuses with the substrate and the pigments. The voids are then expelled to result in a compacted structure. The result is a surface formed with all the desired properties. A successful process will make a bubble-less layer of homogenous pigment dispersion and constant ceramic thickness within the concerned glass.
Digital glass printers used in ceramic printing comes in the form of flatbed digital printers. These are designed with the print heads to jet the ceramic inks onto the glass in a direct manner. The glass remains in the same place and the printer carriage moves across the print table. The droplets of ink dry instantly to stop the drop gain. The ink fixation helps the print carriage to make a single pass even when it prints multi-color and multi-layer files. This drop fixation makes possible double vision printing. The double vision is the creation of a different vision which is dependent on the viewer standing on each side of the glass. The inline dryer was developed to make this possible. Color switching systems are included so that operators of the machine could shift between the print jobs.