Digital Printing of Roof Tiles
Digital printing ceramic roof tiles expands design possibilities
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Surmounting the unique design challenges of roof tiles with Ferro’s digital print technologies
Ferro has a long history in the tile industry. Already in the late 1990s and early 2000s, through our early association with machine manufacturer KeraJet in Spain, we were the first to commercialize ceramic inkjet printing on ceramic wall and floor tiles.
Building on this success, we recently introduced our digital printing technology to the ceramic roof tiles market.
Digital printing of roof tiles presents some unique challenges. Unlike floor and wall tiles, ceramic roof tiles are in most cases curved. Accessories in particular have very diversified shapes. And there is a wide variation in terms of roof tile bodies and firing conditions.
However, the considerable advantages of inkjet printing for the roof tiles market is an important driver to overcome such challenges.
- The design possibilities with this technology are almost unlimited, compared to traditional application methods, and it makes effects such as wood, marble, stone and slate achievable.
- For the manufacturer, materials waste is significantly reduced, as there is no overspray compared to usual methods of engobe or glaze application, and production reproducibility is more or less perfect, once the machine is set up with the Ferro inks.
- Typical of digital printing on other substrates, the roof tile inkjet printers also enable fast changeovers and are ideal for production of small lots and rapid prototyping.
Tejas Borja, based in Valencia, Spain, was the the first roof tile company to use inkjet printing in the industrial production of ceramic roof tiles, using Ferro inks. A family-run business since 1899, Tejas Borja has since successfully commercialized a range of inkjet-printed ceramic roof tiles with many unique design features, simulating marble, wood, stone and many other effects.
Thanks to innovators like Tejas Borja, we expect the use of digital print for roof tile decoration to take hold in Spain, as well as other markets in Southern Europe, like Italy and Portugal. We also anticipate future growth in France and Germany, and look forward to supporting the expansion of this exciting technology with our innovative colors and inks.