Mentioning decoration glass, if you only know ceramic fritted glass by screen printing, UV printing, you are already out-of-date.
Digital printing on-glass has been introduced into glass printing industry 20 years ago. The printed pattern is single color-black which was used in automotive industry.
With time goes on, printing technology becomes more advanced. No matter how rich and complex is the color, can all be printed digitally.
The Eiserfeld Municipal Bank’s glass façade was the first to be printed with the Dip-Tech Digital Ceramic Glass Printers and Digital Ceramic Inks in 2007. A multicolor satellite image of the town of Eiserfeld and its surroundings was printed directly onto the glass.
From then, digital ceramic printed glass was widely used in architectural glass industry.
Dip-Tech is the only pioneer and the leading provider of digital ceramic glass printing. With state of the art printers and unique vivid and durable ceramic inks, it delivers superior printing productivity and quality solutions for architecture, interior design, industrial & automotive glass.
The challenge of this technology includes:
R&D of ink color, rich ink types, Printing on a transparent and non-absorbed glass surface, durability of inorganic ceramic ink and consisting jet submicron glass particles by printing heads
Meanwhile, integrating standard graphics digitally with glass printing is also a huge challenge.
So what’s ceramic ink?
Dip-Tech Digital Ceramic Inks are developed by Dip-Tech chemistry experts, working together with world-leading academic institutions. The inks are fused into the glass during the tempering or annealing process, creating vivid designs. This formula results in glass that can be laminated, bended and double-glazed.
After tempering, the printed glass can be insulated, laminated and bended per your need.
Workflow of Digital printing:
Thus, screen printing is only used in architectural industry to print simple dots, lines and those regular, geometric pattern/color.
If you want to print any diversified pattern, like vivid design, such as wood/marble imitation, stone, fabric or other textures, screen printing technology (glazed glass) is never possible to do.
Case 1: Origami Building of Paris
The architects had originally planned to use real marble for the façade, but opted for digitally printed glass in order to maintain control of structural and aesthetic quality. Using digitally printed glass avoided the danger of decrystallization that can occur with extremely thin slices of marble.
The result is a stunning, intricate pattern, visible from both outside and inside the building that adds depth and interest to the building façade.
Case 2: Glass farm
The MVRDV Design Institute in Holland, which never follows usual route, has also presented a bold, avant-garde, full glass architecture with this technology.
Because of the ink layer, the limitation of screens, architects cannot achieve flexible gradient, merge effects sometimes. More and more people are aware of the limitations of screen printing and its non-promising future.
Meanwhile, Dip-Tech can achieve 1410 DPI on the resolution. HD/perfect print quality makes the visual effects amazing.
(Case 3: IAC office building by world famous architect, Frank Gehry)
Combined with the merge of lighting, the whole building looks more obscure and mysterious.
Compared with screen printing, though it can do, hundreds of screens are needed which will cost much more than digital printing.
More projects with this similar application. Such as:
(Case 4: Canada Ryerson university)
In addition, speaking back to the Eiserfeld municipal bank we mentioned in the beginning, it’s still new without any color change after 11 years exposed under sun and rain.
Proven outdoors in thousands of projects around the globe and on millions of automotive glasses for over 10 years, Dip-Tech digital ceramic inks also add functionality such as solar control, light diffusion and transmission to glass.
Starting from 2009, China began to introduce this high technology into architectural field. With the vigorous development of China’s construction market, many architectural landmark projects with local characteristics have attracted much attention just because of using digital printing glass.
（case 5: Wuhan Wanda Plaza）
（Case 6: Guilin Wanda exhibition hall）
（Case 7：HE Homme boutique Store）
In addition, digital printed glass is also widely used in the interior (partitions, background walls, floors, shower doors, etc.), home appliances, furniture, automotive. It already became an popular industry trends.
Digital ceramic ink can control light scattering, transmission rate and realize different energy-saving efficiency, temperature control, privacy level, and special anti-stick property provided for the automobile industry.
Especially in terms of the energy-saving index of glass curtain wall, digital printing glass can help architects to achieve a certain heat transfer coefficient K or U values and the shading coefficient SC ( it’s an ability that shows glass block or resist the solar energy. Full Name: Shading Coefficient, Abbreviation: SC).
Nowadays, digital printed glass has greatly exceeded glazed glass due to its additional effect, cost-effectiveness and additional value.
（Case 9：Mansueto Library in Chicago）
Digital printed glass completely liberated the limitations of glass design. What we think is what we get, easy to achieve any of our design. What’s more, the cost is highly accepted by all the markets.
In case of any abstract pattern layout, multi-elements or very rich/colorful patterns, digital printed glass has been proved to be the only solution and much cheaper than screen printing.
In conclusion, digital ceramic printing can provide many benefits:
- Inks are fused into the glass, providing unmatched resistance to scratching, acid, UV light and weather. Precise micro-drop printing allows accurate photorealistic and graphic designs.
- Using this technology can assist with LEED and other environmental certification.
- The printed glass contains no toxic heavy metals.
- It is an excellent building material for preventing bird collision.
- Printing a new design on glass panels is well-suited to urban renewal projects where redesigning only parts of buildings is preferable to demolition and rebuilding.
With more than 10 years’ development, many architects have boldly adopted digital printed glass on projects all over the world. Each reflects a completely new possibility of decorative glass.
In the end, let’s take a look at some ingenious projects by the world’s famous only with digital printed glass
By Jean Nouval, Malaysia, KLCC Office building
By Shigeru Ban, Zew Zealand, Cardboard Cathedral
By HOK, USA, Harlem Hospital
By Gensler, USA，Columbia university
The Ferro portfolio, accompanied by Dip-Tech digital glass print technology, offers a complete solution across the glass market. Ferro brings vast experience in the ceramics, electronics, glass and pigments markets, and proven abilities to customize solutions according to customers’ needs and requirements. This is complemented by Dip-Tech’s renowned expertise in digital printing including superior glass printers, durable and vibrant ceramic inks, incomparable image processing software, and access to its professional teams.
Together, Ferro and Dip-Tech are able to offer each customer the best individualized solution. This includes more choice and increased possibilities spanning both traditional screen printing and the new era of cutting-edge digital glass printing for enhanced productivity and flexibility.