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Published by: naughty_angel18071989 on Mar 29, 2011
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Sefar AGHinterbissaustrasse 129410 Heiden – Switzerland
Phone +41 71 898 57 00Fax +41 71 898 57 21
Ceramic Tiles
Screen printing is the most versatile decoration method for printing challengingglazing materials onto the unique, uneven surfaces of ceramic tiles-an indispensabletechnique that can cover the demanding needs of modern ceramic designers.
Ceramic tile designs are stronglyinfluenced by fashion. The mostcreative designs require printingmethods using a variation of decoration materials and inks such asceramic powders, metal components,fine gold particles and classic glazingmaterials. Complex surface imitations,such as natural stone, leather, carpetand wood also require a printingmethod which penetrates into theuneven printing surface.Because of its versatility to provide solutions for both ink and substrate challenges,the screen printing method has been recently rediscovered by designers anddecoration specialists. Screen printing is also a cost effective decoration method thatprovides competitive pricing, and is an attractive solution for short print runs.
Screen Printing Process
Ceramic tiles are decorated using bothflat screen and rotary screentechniques. Except for decoration of 
Sefar AGHinterbissaustrasse 129410 Heiden – Switzerland
Phone +41 71 898 57 00Fax +41 71 898 57 21
special pieces within the sector of “Third Firing,” the various colors areprinted wet-in-wet with a single firingprocess at the end of the decorationline.However, there are no limits within thecreativity of the designers-modernprinting lines can be equipped withseveral different printing heads, and itis common to find screen printingstations in combination with laser engraved cylinders on the sameprinting line.The screens for direct printing ceramic tiles are selected based on: type of design,surface of the tile, mineralogical composition of the printing components, andexclusiveness of the finished tile. The design determines the composition of the following screen printing components:
The printing materialsare mostly water-based inorganicpigments, ceramicglazes, frits, stains,precious metals, andsoluble salts/third firingproducts
Wall tiles, floor tiles,porcelain stoneware
Mainly high moduluspolyester mesh from 8to 40 theads/cm (20 to103 threads/inch),some polyamide(nylon) mesh for veryabrasive applications,and wire and nickelmesh for dry powder printing (specialties)
Mesh selectionArtwork
Special effect printing on ceramic tiles does not require high resolution artwork,and therefore conventional films are adequate. Artwork for marble imitations,however, does require attention; the halftone range and the line-art incombination with the mesh count need to be carefully selected in order to avoidmoiré effects.Automatic centering of the artwork on the screen has also become increasinglyimportant because it can significantly reduce printing machine set-up time. For this reason, computer-to-screen equipment is becoming popular for directprinted ceramic tiles.

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