We had a fantastic week at Tecnargilla 2014 showcasing the new Xaar 1002 GS40, Xaar 001 and XPM. With some beautiful tiles on display, we demonstrated the different effects that can be achieved with our printheads. The Xaar 1002 GS40 allows ceramic tile producers to digitally apply strong, heavy-pigment colours and glazes, and to create textures in order to significantly expand the range of 'added-value' tile designs on offer. TheXaar 001 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.
On Monday 22nd September we held a successful press conference, introducing how the Xaar 1002 GS40 and Xaar 001 printheads offer the end user big colour, big effects and big advantage. We think it's important to continue to work closely with our ink partners and OEMs, bringing new technology to market, so were happy to be joined by Miguel Angel Jovani from Colorobbia, and Juan Montero Ortells from Itaca. They presented their new fluids which take advantage of our new printheads. The combination of the new printheads and their fluids is creating a step change in the creativity on offer to tile manufacturers globally, giving the market new designs to set new trends.
Tecnargilla Design Awards
The 3rd Tecnargilla Design Awards were also held on Monday and we are proud to say that Colorobbia was announced the winner. The beautiful tiles were produced using a combination of traditional black glaze and stunning silver detail printed on the Sacmi HW printer using Xaar 001 printheads.
Using the combination of Xaar 001 with traditional technology enabled a design which had a very eye catching 3D effect, which had never been achieved on a tile before. The Xaar 001 allows lay down of high volumes of large particle fluids into an unbelievably deep recess on the tiles to create a very tactile finish.
At the show, Sacmi also showed some wonderful tile designs which were produced using Xaar 001 and Xaar 1002 printheads. Again, the designs showed perfectly how the two printheads work well together to deliver truly exceptional tiles.
It's not hard to imagine that high end designers around the world will pick up this design technique as it enables a unique and beautiful feature on any wall.
Ceramics Town Weekly dinner
On Monday evening we were pleased to host a dinner for a Ceramics Town Weekly delegation from the Chinese ceramics industry. The 90 delegates, representing the major players in the ceramics industry in China, enjoyed dinner at Palazzo di Varignana near Bologna with senior representatives from Xaar. Bob Bobertz, Xaar's General Manager for Asia Pacific, said "We were very pleased to be able to welcome and thank our customers in China for their continued support. Through events such as this we are able to stay in touch with their requirements in order to build on our product offerings for the future".
We presented our Xaar 1002 GS40 and Xaar 001 printheads, plus our partners' new inks, which generated much interest. Conference delegates headed straight to the Xaar booth afterwards to see exactly what these printheads can deliver.
It was also nice to see we continue to be regarded as the technology leader, with all of our OEMs and ink partners referencing Xaar during their presentations.
What does the future hold?
This was a very interesting show. Since the last show in 2012 tile designs have come a long way. Two years ago designs centred very much around replicating natural materials. The Xaar 1001 (our ceramics printhead at that time) was popular in part because it delivered such a fantastic print quality that patterns were almost perfect replications of natural materials like stone. We remember visiting the show and being really impressed too by the wonderful wood effect tiles that were so popular and which generated a lot of interest.
This year things were different. The tile designs on show were a world away from what we saw two years ago. The tiles entered into the 2014 Tecnargilla Design Awards were a wonderful demonstration of just how much tile design has changed, and just how creative it is possible to be. And all over the show we saw examples of tiles with texture, structure, new inks, glazes, metallic, matt, gloss, even a combination of old and new techniques (produced by both digital and analogue technologies). We were really seeing Big Colour and Big Effects.
For us, the key take away from this year's show is how important technology has become with regards to driving change in the ceramic tile industry.
For example, Xaar's 001 printhead was used by the Sacmi printer to produce Colorobbia's winning entry for the Tecnargilla Design Awards. A number of the tiles in the winning entry were only possible because of the technology used. And it goes without saying that Xaar technology is the enabling technology.
Looking to the future, what can we expect? Certainly digitalisation of the whole manufacturing process is already on everyone's agenda, and specifically digitalisation of the glaze processes. We will see this drive ever more creative designs, which is what's at the heart of Xaar's 2014 theme of Big Colour, Big Effects and Big Advantage. We look forward to seeing you at the next show!