The growing trend towards product individualization is giving rise to a flood of new surface technology processes and solutions. These include everything from sanding, brushing, pressing, rollering, spraying and polishing to 3D and digital printing. Digital printing is perhaps a special case among these technologies because it provides a cost-effective means of responding swiftly and flexibly to short-term fashions and trends.
We asked our exhibitors from this sector for their thoughts and views. Read on to find out how EFI, Electronics for Imaging, Inc., is dealing with the challenges currently facing the surface technology sector.
1. How important is the technology of digital printing for your company? Which challenges lie within the processing of wood and wooden materials / wood composites?
José Luis Ramón, Vice President / General Manager, EFI Industrial Printing:
Digital technology is EFI’s core business, indeed. EFI provides digital printing solutions to different industries under a unique Ecosystem for Digital Decoration that includes printers, inks and specific color management software. This is the case of signage, textile, ceramics and building materials, corrugated and also wood.
The challenge in wood industry lies in the integration of digital decoration in the whole manufacturing processes, with applications or final use of the product as the main driver.
2. Which aspects of digitization, respectively, Industry 4.0, have to be considered in surface technology and which roll plays the high level of automization?
Industry 4.0 is in EFI's DNA. Obviously, inkjet decoration as any digital process facilitates the digitalization of the manufacturing line.
In addition, EFI provides productivity software under specific suites addressed to different industries for years. So, Industry 4.0 is not a concept to believe in for future but part of our business. I.e. Corrugated Packaging Suite.
3. How can digital printing be implemented within the process techniques and flows of a furniture production line?
We see two possible scenarios. One of them is the high productivity scenario in integrated plants where digital decoration is a great source of efficiencies and, also able to provide new added value to final product.
The second scenario is that of multi-pass decoration, at the last part of the value chain where thanks to Fiery management software customization is easily achieved and, then, a range of a taylor-made products are born.
4. Does the application of digital printing techniques result in an unlimited number of possibilities in designing surfaces?
Digital printing opens a world of decorative possibilities on wooden materials not yet exploited. Beyond this, it also opens the functional dimension where digital technology can continue to expand the possibilities of wood as a raw material using, for example, luminescent inks, conductive ones, bactericidal treatments, etc. In fact, Rialco, part of EFI, developed a special polymer that improves outdoor usage of wood resulting in the innovative Accoya wood.
Thank you for talking to us today.