The number one talking point at Ceramics China 2016 has been "Polished Tiles". These are hard wearing, high gloss tiles that are used in commercial heavy "traffic" locations such as shopping malls and public buildings. There is a healthy market for these tiles in China and India.
The majority of polished tiles are still produced using traditional techniques and since the process is relatively unsophisticated, patterns obtained are restricted to fine grain stone-type effects in a limited colour range.
However the launch of the Xaar 1002 GS40 last year enabled manufacturers to achieve the high fluid laydown necessary to produce these tiles, so that replacing traditional techniques with digital technology became a real possibility. In addition, with Xaar's TF Technology, manufacturers could achieve the very best in print quality as well as maximum production uptime delivered by the unrivalled reliability of Xaar printheads.
An important element in the success of transitioning this niche market to digital technology are the fluids used. Xaar has been working closely with local ink suppliers to produce the soluble salt ceramic inks. Dowstone's inks were the first to be approved for use in Xaar printheads, but all our major ink partners are developing soluble salt ceramic inks for our Xaar 1002 GS40 printhead.
Some of the benefits switching over to using Xaar's printheads for the production of polished tiles include:Patterns that are extremely lifelike - reproduction of marble and other natural materials so that tiles are almost indistinguishable from natural materialsEvery tile can be different and even personalisedUnlike with the traditional process, the variety of patterns is virtually limitlessTiles can be produced on demand leading to a reduction of stocks of finished goods.