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End-to-end digitalisation of ceramic tile manufacturing processes is set to become a reality with the new Xaar 001 piezoelectric drop-on-demand printhead by Xaar, the ceramics industry’s leading inkjet technology specialist.
Featuring a selectable drop volume of up to 200 nanolitres (nL) – 2,300 times larger than the Xaar 1002 GS12 – the Xaar 001 jets digital glazes and other fluids such as heavily-pigmented inks with particles up to 25 µm with consistent precision and accuracy – laying down up to 700 g/m2 on a tile, compared to 10 -20 g/m sq. for the decoration phase.
The all-round capability of the Xaar 001 ‒ unmatched in the digital ceramics decoration market – enables the application of decorative coloured glazes, structure and flood glazes. Ceramic tile manufacturers can now use digital techniques to create exciting new tile designs that stand out from the competition whilst benefitting from leading edge tile production efficiency.
For use both before and after decoration, the Xaar 001 complements the market-leading Xaar 1002 family of printheads to build up layers of different materials, adding structure and contrast to flat tiles. The traditional methods currently in use for adding structure are expensive and inflexible. However, adding structure digitally with the Xaar 001 now allows manufacturers to vary the relief pattern on every single tile. Because the Xaar 001 has the ability to lay down up to 700 g/m sq. of fluid it can also be used for other applications, such as applying engobe and glaze to the tile body. Digitalising this process will reduce the amount of fluid used potentially saving costs and allows further creativity such as mixing effects on a tile. Also possible is the addition of functional coatings to tiles – such as non-slip, antibacterial, water repellent or other layers.
For unrivalled reliability under the harshest production conditions the Xaar 001 features Xaar’s TF Technology™, which continuously recirculates the ink past the back of the nozzle during drop ejection. Combined with vacuum-cleaned nozzles, this ensures the printhead is continually primed and keeps large particles in suspension, minimising the production interruptions that blocked nozzles can cause, and ensuring fast start-up times and rapid recovery from mechanical shock.
“The ability to apply glaze digitally to ceramic tiles has generated considerable interest from leading machine manufacturers and tile producers who recognise the major benefits it can bring to tile decoration,” says Richard Barham, Sales and Marketing Director, Xaar. “Our vision has been to ultimately digitalise the entire tile decoration production line and, with the introduction of the new Xaar 001 printhead, our vision will become an exciting reality.”
The Xaar 001 makes its global debut this week at Tecnargilla (22nd-26th September, Rimini, Italy). Xaar OEM partner Intesa Sacmi (Booth 001 in Hall B1) will show its new Xaar 001-based DHW 700 printer. Plus, on its Booth 010 in Hall D1, Xaar shows a selection of tiles demonstrating some of the effects possible using Xaar 001-based machines.