Printing Technology of Tiles
The look/the print of the tile is what makes the decision. Clients are always after a particular look, whether that is marble, stone or terrazzo. Personal choice and preference determine what to choose and how to match the tile with its future environment. It is important to choose tiles, which are of high-quality printing, in order to achieve the best look. Especially that is even of more importance if they choose if going for marble and precious stone looks. The veins, the depth at different levels can make the tile look impossible to distinguish from the natural stone or it can make the tile look like a cheap copy. You can get away with that for more plain colour tiles, concrete looks, etc., but more sophisticated looks need to be of the highest printing quality to provide the best look. And that is exactly what Kaolin is specialized and known for.
720DPI vs 400DPI
One of the biggest down falls of porcelain tiles to this point has been the digital inkjet print limiting design and creating a tile that was very easily picked as a poor imitation of the real stone. This was mainly due to technology only offering ceramic printing to a maximum of 300-400dpi and a binary or single size ink drop. This old technology can easily be seen in transitions of pattern to plain areas and fades as pixilation.
Kaolin’s factories use the latest ceramic printing technology available of 720dpi greyscale or multi size drop printing, offering almost double the number of pixels per square inch and an ability to create seamless transitions between printed and plain areas of the tile.
The multi-size droplet technology allows us to print as small as 6pl which is almost invisible to the naked eye and 10 times smaller than the industry standard 60pl. This opens up a world of fine detailed inclusions and realistic prints not offered to the market previously.
12 LAYER PRINTING
We take this technology further with tiles like our Precious Stone and Showpiece ranges printing up to 12 layers to create a depth to the tile usually reserved for natural stone.
Tiles are normally printed with just 4-5 layers or channels, one for each of the main ink colours (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) plus Black and then a finish or texture print. Kaolin will print this base range to create the basic design but then layer the tile with additional features of print sitting much higher in the glaze layer creating an almost 3-dimensional effect.
NO PRINT LINES
Another benefit to multi-layer printing is there is no print lines that are often seen in other digital printed tiles.
These lines come from one of the print nozzles being blocked in one of the colour layers. Similar to how a home inkjet printer will print when the heads are dirty or old, it will create straight lines with either no colour or a slight off colour for the full length of the tiles. It is common and there are normally multiple lines across the width of the tile although they can be very faint, they are noticeable with the naked eye. It is more evident with heavily patterned or darker tiles as they require more print/ink than a carrara or light tile.
With Multi-layer printing, if there is a blocked nozzle on the 1st layer of print of that colour it is picked up or covered when it is run through the additional layers or channels of print. Kaolin tiles never show any evidence of these printing faults, even when magnified.