Durst boosts glass decoration market with sol-gel ink
By Barney Cox Monday, 07 December 2009
Durst has developed an ink that can be printed directly to glass to meet the developing market for architectural interiors and furnishings that feature decorated glass.
The sol-gel ink is a UV-cured ink that is printed directly to the glass with no primer, then bonded to the glass by baking.
"We will create a new market for glass interiors," said Durst sales and marketing manager Michael Lackner. "The key thing is it opens up lucrative opportunities, it's potentially huge."
Applications for printed glass include partitions, kitchens, furniture, mirrors and gaming machines. Images can be front or back printed and double-hit printing can be used for backlit applications. Pricing is twice that of standard UV-cured inks.
The inks can be used in modified versions of Durst's Rho 700 and Rho 800 Presto machines, which can be configured to run inline with an oven that bakes the glass for eight minutes at 200 centigrade. The baking process covalently bonds the ink to the glass to form a water-, steam- and chemical-resistant image suitable for permanent indoor fixtures and short term outdoor applications. An outdoor durable ink is also in development.
The inks are available in Durst's standard CMYK and white colours and also what Lackner called ‘satinator' which produces an etching or sandblasted effect.
The sol-gel ink is the first product to come about from Durst's investment in fundamental research. In the spring it will open its own research and development facility that will evaluate inks and printheads and their interaction.
"We want to differentiate ourselves by understanding the properties of inks and printheads," said Durst sales and marketing manager Michael Lackner. "It's an important advantage for us as a supplier to be able to offer more tailored applications.
"The industry is in transition with the arrival of the latest fast machines. Big companies running those big bits of equipment lower the cost of print. Those lower costs will make it tougher for mid-sized printers, who will need to either become bigger themselves or become niche players."
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