The glass printing must be done with ceramic ink
Ceramic printed glass ?! What’s this ?
Possibly the first time you’ve heard of it, or perhaps a printer comes to mind but you’re probably thinking about something to do with advertising, right? Well, Indeed, there is something called a UV printer, that can print on glass and is used in the advertising industry but that’s not it !
That kind of printer has several problems, some of them major; it scratches at the lightest touch and actually has minimal resistance to UV rays and strong chemical agents!
There are many other negative aspects of the UV print but, since we’re not here to make a comparison between the two printing methods, we’ll stop there.
So, how is it done?
Well … there really is a printer! And it’s huge!! But the very fact that it is so big allows us to print images as grand as your desires, on one-piece glass panels! Well, maybe not as grand as your desires, I exaggerate for effect but the only limitation we have is the width of the printer. As for length, we can go on printing for as long as we’ve got glass to print on. There is a glass that comes in 18m lengths but in order to keep prices sensible it’s best for the print size to kept up to 4400x2400mm which, thanks to the technological performance of the printer, looks good! Very good!
Then, there’s the resolution. Incredibly, the printer can print up to1440dpi; even high definition photographs rarely come with that sort of resolution! We do need need to pay attention with the form though, in terms of whether the image is portrait or landscape … It’s a little difficult trying to print a landscape glass using a portrait photo. Bearing that in mind, it’s best to consult on each image printing.
What is being printed ?
Printing is done using a ceramic ink made of rock! Yes, you heard right! Mother Nature provides us with the necessary “paint” but, unfortunately, she also limits our range of colours. We try to provide prints made in near or similar colours to the RAL palette but, for now, it’s impossible to reproduce colours like purple, for example.
That’s why it’s so strong!
I’ve described above, in general terms, how the print is done and where the ink comes from, without mentioning the resilience of this type of print! After the glass has been printed, it undergoes the tempering process, during which time the ceramic paint (rocks, remember?) fuses permanently with the glass. That’s why it is practically impervious to abrasion and chemical agents or UV rays for that matter! You certainly won’t find those qualities in mere UV printed glass !
My job involves Construction surveying at the various sites where we have ongoing projects and then designing the finished products, which we fully realise in the Glas Expert production halls. My duties also include troubleshooting installations and finding optimal solutions for execution, commissioning and exploitation by the final consumer of the glass products we made. These solutions are discussed and established together with the designers and architects, or directly with the project beneficiary.
Sometimes tempered glass breaks without an obvious cause. When this happens breakage could be caused by; the glass being impacted in the same place over time (breakage can occur then or at a later time due to accumulation of tension in a particular area), pressure points in places where there are metal fittings (such as the screws in the profiles), the continuous tensioning of the glass (defective assembly, when the glass is tightened – when the fixing points are not coplanar), when the glass is too tight in the frame, if the glass edge is not finely finishing, shaving remains on the edges of the glass or if nickel sulphate inclusions are left in the float glass.