Redefining home appliances glass printing. Digital.
Introducing VEra – Redefining the home appliances glass industry with digital printing
Industry quality. Multicolor. One run. There’s a game-changer in town.
Created in partnership by Ferro and its digital glass printing arm Dip-Tech, the VEra inline digital glass printer is set to redefine home appliances glass printing. Powered by the new Ultra-FIX technology and supported by the newly developed Ferro Ultra-FIX inks, VEra transforms the possibilities for appliances glass by enabling multi-color printing of any design, in efficient industrial production runs.
The digital era begins
Just about every home has a range of appliances like cooking ovens and stovetops, many with glass fronts or surfaces. That’s because glass is transparent, light transmitting, durable, attractive, easy to clean, and is perfectly suited for the increasingly popular touch panels in today's home appliances.
However, although home appliances are mass produced, the current printing method, screen printing, has some disadvantages, especially for multiple color designs. That’s why a new solution was needed.
Joint innovation for revolutionary printing on appliances
Ferro, the leading global supplier of functional coatings and color solutions, already has a strong market share in the appliances domain. This includes an extensive portfolio of porcelain enamels for metals, and ceramic color enamels for glass used in multiple products such as cooktops, oven doors, refrigerators and more. These color solutions are all specially designed to meet the specific demands of the appliances industry in terms of performance, durability, and safety standards.
Dip-Tech for its part, as the pioneer and leading provider of digital ceramic glass printing solutions for almost 15 years, has been inventing and evolving from day one with state-of-the-art, patented technology. It started out with black and white digital glass printing for the automotive industry. Then, as the technology and market demand evolved, Dip-Tech made the move to full color digital glass printing for architecture and interior-design.
New markets have always been of interest to both companies. However, due to unique technical challenges, providing a solid serial production solution for multicolor home appliance panels required a dedicated technology. And that’s where the partnership came in.
Since Ferro acquired Dip-Tech in August 2017, the two companies have worked together to create a new solution based on each party’s expertise. Together, this powerful duo is proud to bring something entirely new to the appliances market with the VEra dedicated inline and automated digital glass printer and accompany inks.
“Both Ferro as a leading supplier of pigments and colors for the appliances market and Dip-Tech as the principal force in digital glass printing, take the need to innovate seriously,” says Alon Lumbroso, Managing Director of Dip-Tech “That’s why we’re especially pleased to partner and to create the first and only fully dedicated digital glass printing solution for appliances. With the powerful utility, proprietary appliances inks and patented technology, we’re excited to see the many ways this new solution will be used for industrial production by home appliance producers, big and small.”
The clear and colorful advantages of going digital for appliance printing
Although there certainly remains a strong need for screen printing on appliances, there are many advantages offered by a digital glass printing solution.
Screen printing, after all, can be a laborious process if more than one color is desired. It requires much human-power, time, and space, with the need to set up each screen, print, and dry repeatedly for each color. The same goes for short runs. As such, it’s time-consuming to print more than one color and becomes logistically impractical to print more than two or three colors.
With the new Dip-Tech VEra digital glass printer, the whole process is quicker, easier and more cost-effective, with everything done within one machine -- printing of multiple colors, color fixing, and drying. This makes it possible to easily print multiple colors in one run.
How it all works
• A dedicated inline and automated printer, VEra can print up to 6 colors at once, at industry quality within a few-second cycle. After printing, the glass goes through an IR dryer to dry the glass and then to tempering.
• Designed from scratch for implementation in appliances glass processing factories, VEra ensures minimum interference with the production environment, maximum similarity to the current screen printing interface, and maximum compatibility with both existing and new production lines.
• This revolutionary printer is perfectly complimented by Ferro’s new Ultra-FIX digital inks for appliances. These high-performance inks were developed according to Ferro’s high-standards.
• Working together, the Ultra-FIX digital technology and inks are able to surmount the challenges of printing thick layers of ink on glass as well as fine texts and marks. This is done with technology based on a Dip-Tech patent that ensures the liquid ink layers are already stable from jetting time, much like a ceramic enamel. This prevents migrating of colors and bleeding, keeping the border lines and edges where they have jetted, sharp and crisp. It also means several colors can now be printed in high opacity, with no gaps between their graphics, for appliances of all sizes, at industry quality.
Industrial-level opportunities and applications
Designed exclusively for appliances glass lines, this new Ferro solution is fully industrial and automated. Exceptionally versatile, it is suited for a wide range of home appliances.
Apart from offering an alternative to tedious, costly multiscreen print, VEra allows product designers to create just about any design or pattern in a multitude of colors.
This expands design boundaries beyond functional elements with minimum investment, enables appliance manufacturers to stand-out from the competition with unique and colorful designs, and helps simplify the design and sampling process.
In other words, with so much potential to be tapped, the appliances glass market is on the brink of a boom, with the freedom and capabilities offered by digital print.
The big reveal at glasstec 2018
With glasstec 2018 coming up (Dusseldorf, Germany October 23-26), the Ferro and Dip-Tech teams have been working hard to create the buzz this disruptive technology deserves.