Foshan City, in China’s Guangdong Province, is the home to such a concentration of ceramic manufacturing expertise that it’s widely known as China’s ‘Ceramic Capital’.
“It is because of the significant advantages of Xaar 1001 printhead that we chose Xaar and work with them to produce digital ceramic inkjet printers.” Mr Lu, Vice General-Manager from Meijia Ceramic Equipment Co Ltd.
In recent years Meijia Ceramic Equipment Co Ltd has emerged as one of the city’s most important companies, a major force to be reckoned with in ceramics manufacturing. Meijia’s products, which include glazed tile polishing machines, packaging lines, auxiliaries, accessories, and parts, have won a significant market share in all the sectors the company serves. Meijia’s machines are exported to more than 20 countries, including Italy, Spain, Turkey, USA, Brazil, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, India and Iran.
According to Mr. Yonghua Lu, Vice General-Manager of Meijia, scientific and technological innovation is the decisive factor in his company’s sustainable development. To achieve this, Meijia has a long history of cooperative partnerships with overseas technology companies and, as a result, a track record of innovation. In 2001, for example, Meijia successfully manufactured the first roller printing machine for ceramic applications in China.
Meijia chooses its partners with care, and only chooses the best, says Mr. Lu, so when the company decided to enter the fast-growing market for digital inkjet ceramic tile decoration in 2009, it was natural to partner with Xaar, the world leader in digital inkjet printing technology. Xaar has been researching, developing and supplying industrial printheads, inks, system components and solutions to commercial printing and industrial manufacturing markets since 1990. Since its launch in 2007, Xaar’s ground-breaking Xaar 1001 piezoelectric drop-on-demand printhead family, comprising the Xaar 1001 GS6 and the Xaar 1001 GS12 variants, has revolutionised digital ceramic tile decoration thanks to its innovative Hybrid Side Shooter™ (HSS™) architecture and patented TF Technology™ ink recirculation.
Two years after starting to work with Xaar, in 2011, Meijia launched the Digital Carnival series of digital ceramic inkjet printers, incorporating the Xaar 1001 printhead. The Digital Carnival’s combination of automation, reliability, and ease of operation impressed the industry at once, winning significant orders from domestic and overseas markets.
Meijia now manufactures eight models of the Digital Carnival DP-X inkjet printer series, all of which incorporate either Xaar 1001 GS6 or Xaar 1001 GS12 printheads, depending on the requirements of each customer. The Digital Carnival DP-X printers deliver high resolution for sharp images, rich colour, stable performance and include an easy-to-understand user interface in both Chinese and English. Automatic printhead cleaning allows each printing bar and printhead to be cleaned in less than one minute, either independently or together, making for simple operation and maintenance. During printing, there is no need to stop the line to reload patterns, so seamless non-stop image changes enhance production efficiency.
A key contributor to the success of the Digital Carnival has been the Xaar 1001’s HSS™ architecture and patented TF Technology™ ink recirculation, which deliver unrivalled reliability and maximum uptime in harsh ceramic tile manufacturing environments. As well as an inlet and an outlet for ink flow, HSS™ has a separate nozzle in the side of the ink channel – not at the bottom – through which the drop of ink is fired perpendicular to the flow of the ink. Added to this, Xaar’s unique TF Technology™ – the only true ink recirculation system – enables the ceramic ink to flow across the back of the nozzle during drop ejection at a very high flow rate, carrying any particles or trapped air bubbles away from the ink path, not forcing them into the nozzle. This means nozzles are continuously primed, keeping the printhead fully operational. The Xaar 1001 is self-priming, so recovery is fast after, for example, a mechanical shock.
The Xaar 1001 printhead family consists of two variants. The established Xaar 1001 GS6 model jets 6-42 picolitre drops, which is ideal for the production of pale shades and detailed tile designs viewed at close quarters such as wall tiles. The latest Xaar 1001 GS12 can jet larger 12-84 picolitre drops, delivering even more ink for deep colour intensity and bolder tile colours and effects. Alternatively the Xaar 1001 GS12 can give the same ink coverage as the Xaar 1001 GS6, but at double the print speed. With both printheads Meijia’s customers can achieve stunning replication of natural materials. In addition, Xaar’s printheads are industrial strength and are designed for robust, reliable operation in manufacturing environments.
Mr Lu says the Xaar 1001 printhead has been a major factor behind Digital Carnival’s success, and has fully justified Meijia’s decision to work with Xaar. “The digital inkjet printing technology represented by the Xaar 1001 printheads is the leading technology in the ceramics sector. The advantages they deliver really meet the needs of the ceramics industry: non-contact printing, short turnaround time, short-run job flexibility, personalised print-on-demand, creativity, low investment and cost, reduced stockholdings, high production speed, and so on. The Xaar 1001 has revolutionised the industry in recent years, and it is the printhead of choice for both ceramic tile printer manufacturers and producers of ceramic tiles.”