As the Chinese ceramic tile industry begins to rebound, leading manufacturers are showing an increased interest in EFI Cretaprint Hybrid technology from Electronics For Imaging, Inc. for on-demand manufacturing of digitally printed ceramic tiles, using either eco-solvent or eco-friendly, water-based inks and glazes.
Hybrid printers and other EFI Cretaprint solutions generated significant interest among attendees at the Uniceramic tradeshow last month in Foshan, China, where EFI completed nine orders for systems from manufacturers, including Champion Tile and Marco Polo.
EFI Cretaprint participated in the show with Zibo, China-based distribution partner Cremix.
“Uniceramic attendees were able to see that Cremix and EFI are very closely aligned in our partnership,” said Cremix’s Founder and GM Eddie Cheng. “We are both dedicated to supporting our customers’ businesses with innovative solutions, and excellent service is our common target.”
One of the Cretaprint printer purchasers at Uniceramic, Champion Tile, is a long-time EFI Cretaprint user that chose the new Hybrid system because of the productivity and sustainability advantages it provides.
“We have been looking for a real innovation in ceramic decoration that may help us to differentiate our company,” said Tang Zhineng of Champion Tile. “The EFI Cretaprint Hybrid printer, with its ability to use water-based inks, is definitely an evolution aligned with our product and brand strategy.”
The Hybrid printer’s ability to use water-based inks and glazes reduces VOC emissions by more than 90% compared to solvent-based inks, and carbon emissions by an average of 73%.
In addition, water-based inks and glazes require less drying time and deliver a more homogeneous application of glaze, guaranteeing high quality in large format pieces and slab manufacturing.
The printer is available in widths from 700 to 1400 mm, with up to 12 printing bars.
“This technology has been proven in the field, and it received the prestigious Alfa de Oro award during the Cevisama trade show held in February,” said Evandro Matteucci, VP and GM for Building Materials and Packaging at EFI. “Now, we are seeing growing interest in Greater China, reflecting both an increased desire to reduce the environmental footprint of ceramic tile manufacturing and the entrepreneurial spirit of manufacturers who are aggressive in adopting the latest state-of-the-art technologies to differentiate themselves.”
Long-time Dongguan, China-based Cretaprint user Marco Polo, a large-scale manufacturer and distributor of architectural ceramics for the home, acquired an EFI Cretaprint Shield system and two EFI Cretaprint P4 printers to enable full digital production at its Jiangxi Wonderful subsidiary.
Jiangxi Wonderful’s Shield system – the first such solution sold in China – consists of satellite bars for digital glazing and other applications.