María José García

María José García

Tuesday, 01 September 2020 20:14

3D Ceramic Printing Brands & Applications

We all know ceramics have been on the market for so long and they have even been a trending material for a while when it comes to 3D printing materials. Obviously when it comes to ceramics, the first thing that comes to my mind is kitchenware and pottery (even its applications have a wide variety of markets) and I bet you are surrounded by ceramics at home without even acknowledging it.

3D ceramic parts are a bit challenging and most of the time the cost increments to much. This has led companies to wander and try different and new printing techniques.

There are brands that provide 3D ceramic printing services and we are giving you a few of them for you to start your business or to provide new and different products with these techniques.

3DCeram

3DCeram is a French company with over 15 years of expertise in 3D ceramic printing. Their focus on applications is aerospace, biomedical and jewelry. The brand offers serial production services and they develop and create their own ceramic 3D printing. They believe in a “support-free” system which relies on a technology that doesn’t leave any support marks on the printing parts surface.

Kwambio

Kwambio is a company that focuses on ceramic materials. Being a New-York based brand has let them to work with different designers and artists to create different products. Its main applications are artistic, kitchenware, sculpture making, industrial products, jewelry. Their actual production is in Ukraine with their self-developed 3D printers.

Formatec

Formatec is a brand based on The Netherlands which specializes in developing and manufacturing ceramic technical components. The brand is mainly focused on ceramic injection molding (CIM) processes to produce the ceramic parts. They create high quality parts by using DLP (Digital Light Procesing) technology which also helps to create even larger volumes of products. It’s main applications are medical, dental, industrial design, aerospace parts.

In-house production Printers

Obviously outsourcing is a great idea for many applications in the ceramic printing world, but in some cases an in-house production can save you a good amount of money. So, it’s important for you to know that there are a few great options in the market if you decide to give it a try. These machines are expensive, but it’s always nice to know or even have an idea of what kinds of printers are out there.

  • CeraFab S Series: The CeraFab System can incorporate up to four production units. In comparison with some previous models, these series work with an increased building speed, which lets a production time faster, increasing its productivity. It also works with a database that stores printing jobs so it facilitates the process. With a resolution of 2560x1600 pixels ensures the absolute precicion of the printing component.

  • CeraFab S Series. Photo courtesy of Lithoz.


  • Admaflex 300: Released in late 2019, the Admaflex 300 is meant to produce large-scale parts with a volume size of 200 x 200 x 300 mm. This printer works for both ceramic and metal materials, according to your needs.

  • Admaflex 300. Photo courtesy of Admatec.


  • X1 160Pro: This printer is capable of printing several materials. ExOne is well known for its metal 3D printing systems and they recently announced new ceramics like alumina and silicon carbide, which are materials often used in the medical and aerospace industries. With a very large volume size, this printer can print 800 x 500 x 400mm.

  • X1 160Pro. Photo courtesy of Businesswire.


    So, if you are interested in ceramics, you should definitely dive into the 3D printing industry and give it a try since there are more launches and there is a growing process of materials range.

    Summer is here, but we actually are spending much more time at home these days, so it’s important for you to feel comfortable and good in your own space. The best thing about the quarantine, is that people is spending their time by upgrading and sprucing up their homes.

    Since it is summer, it is obvious that trends come with bright colors and bold patterns, so here are some ideas for you to add the summer vibe to your homes while the quarantine is still on:

    PLAID everywhere

    Plaid, gingham and check have returned from the past and they are strongly seen on décor trends, so adding some fresh colored plaid like lime or pistachio in cushions, a bold wallpaper, a flower pot or even a kitchen decor can easily update your living room or any other area in your home.


    Plaid cushions

    Plaid cushions. Photo courtesy of Freedom Tree.


    Flowers and many more flowers

    Who doesn’t love flowers? Vibrant and giving so much life to any room, flowers are the best way to brighten up a space. A statement vase is also a great way to focus the eye. Even flowered wallpaper could be a nice way of changing.


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    Flower wallpaper. Photo courtesy of Domino.


    Tropical twist

    Any tropical print screams summer immediately, so adding touches of this colorful print is a good one.


    Tropical wallpaper decor

    Tropical wallpaper decor. Photo courtesy of Amazon.


    Some shells

    Shells are a great way to add little details to your space and if you can’t go to the beach right now, you could bring the beach to you. It spreads the summer vibe around the room and it also can look really nice if it is done correctly. An example could be a jewelry little dish, a lamp shade or even a towel holder on the wall.


    Shell decor

    Shells for home. Photo courtesy of Anna Spiro, House Beautiful.


    Desk lamps

    Changing lamps or just lamp shades could be a great and easy upgrade to a room. You may want to try some rose gold applications, or any vibrant color like yellow or any warm color that matches your room decor, also marble details looks really good.


    Vibrant lamp shade

    Vibrant lamp shade. Photo courtesy of Anna Spiro, House Beautiful.


    Natural wood elements

    Obviously any wood could work great all year long, but if you are trying to have a little more of a summer vibe, definitely try lightest woods and try to match it with whites and lighter colors.


    Light wood home decor

    Light wood home decor. Photo courtesy of Aedriel.


    Tie-dye trend

    Tie-dye is definitely not for everyone, I know this, but the truth is that this trend from the past has had a strong comeback this year and many people is wearing it on their clothes, but how fun would it be to add a touch of this popular trend on a cushion, a flower vase, or why not, a sheer curtain?


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    Tie-dye trend for home decor. Photo courtesy of HGTV.


    Pastels and calm

    Pastel colors give a soft, calming feeling to your home. Some ways to implement it is through wall paint or wallpapers, or if you want to go easier, you may try little accessories and decorative elements.


    Pastel home decor. Photo courtesy of Wallsauce.


    So now you have some ideas, but there are tons of ways you can spruce up your home and give it a summer vibe on these time of the year.

    Home décor trends have been evolving and changing over the years and they have led and shaped the way our spaces are being designed and decorated these days. These trend changes are notable through the decades and some of these are still being used but maybe with a twist or a renovated style, keeping the essence of the vintage vibe.

    Home décor is a great way for people to express themselves and to show their personalities through their walls, furniture and any other decorative piece. What we definitely can see through times is that people are more daring now when it comes to designing and creating a space.

    Here are some design practices since 1960 and back to these days to compare how time had past.

    1960s

    Heavily influenced by the pop art movement from the 50s and pop artists as Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, there were bright colors, mix different materials, bold patterns, interesting shapes and clean lines for furniture, usually darkened wood. Wallpaper were absolutely present on this time. The excess of combining florals or geometric patterns was a thing and it went out of style with the time, but it definitely has a comeback now.


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    Interior décor at the 60s. Photo courtesy of Decoratorist


    1970s

    First, who remembers the typical bold patterned linoleum floor? My grandma still has hers at the home and it’s so funny that these trends, that I never liked before, are actually coming back and it looks GOOD!

    Bean bag chairs were all over the stores and everyone had one or wanted one. Wood paneling and bold paint colors, crocheted blankets (usually with squared patterns), lava lamps, huge boxed TVs and radios or record players, floral couches. All of these were a thing back in the 70s.


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    Interior décor at the 60s. Photo courtesy of Decoratorist


    1980s

    Using lively colors were still there, and some striking statement pieces from the 70s, continued into the 80s. Pastel colors went on trend. Window and shower curtains were light blue or baby pink everywhere. Some couches were still floral, but the patterns were not as bright and neon as 70s and 60s.


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    Interior décor at the 80s. Photo courtesy of The gikitiki.



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    Interior décor at the 80s. Photo courtesy of Showcase of interior design: Pacific Edition 1992.


    1990s

    In the 90s, after years and years, people started to relax with the extravagant colored walls and wallpapers… Also, furniture was on a more neutral color scheme, mostly beiges and woods were there, but most wood colors were seen. Huge recliner couches were the sensation on every living or family room.


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    Interior décor at the 90s. Photo courtesy of shechive.


    2000s

    Starting a new century led people to want a more modern home. This decade we saw brighter and bolder designs, as well as more clean designs. People started to buy futuristic pieces for their homes. Lightning started to be a focus point. Furniture had cleaner and more neutral and plain colors. Some walls started to be re painted with bold colors as accent walls, but most people left them white, because of the freshness and calm the whites spread.


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    Interior décor at 2000. Photo courtesy of Rensup.



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    Interior décor at 2000. Photo courtesy of Artificial Plants and trees.


    2010s

    I would describe this decade as clean, fresh, calm, and some greenery. Light colors everywhere, on walls, furniture, pillows, curtains, etc. Some touches of colors and patterns as focus points, but whites were a huge thing on early 2010s. Ending the decade, we could saw wallpapers and bold wall colors are strongly coming back.


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    Interior décor at 2010. Photo courtesy of Katie Hodges Design.



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    Interior décor at 2010. Photo courtesy of istock.


    2020s

    This era is really exciting because people is innovating, creating, developing their imagination to create really cool interior design. We can see that lightning plays a huge role, accent walls with wallpaper or bold paint is really on trend right now. Playing with different materials, patterns and lights are totally in right now. So let’s see what else is this decade made of for interior design.


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    Interior décor for 2020. Photo courtesy of House Beautiful.



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    Interior décor for 2020. Photo courtesy of Love Property.



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    Interior décor for 2020. Photo courtesy of Sherwin Williams.


    Have you ever printed something where the quality just doesn’t fit your expectations? The printing industry is huge and competition get tougher and tougher with the time, so having the best quality would make you be a first choice to your customers. There are a few steps and simple rules to follow when creating a file to print on a T-shirt. Make sure you take notes, so you can get the most from your printed T-shirt.

    Here are some points to keep in mind at the moment of creating and sending your file for print:

  • The first thing you need to know is that the maximum printing area is 12 x 16 inches, so that’s your base but the best thing for you to do is visualize that measurements on your shirt for you to have a better idea of the space.
  • Printing quality is (in my opinion) the most important part. A pixelated logo will always look bad. The quality for the resolution will depend on the size of the piece, usually the minimum is 150 DPI but it’s best if you use 200DPIs. A recommended size is a maximum of 400 x 400 pixels trying not to exceed 10MB so the file can be easier to load.
  • Respect transparencies. Some people are fully aware of the differences between JPG and PNG but for those that don’t, you may think your image doesn’t have a background but if you are using JPG the white part will show, so always remember (if you aren’t sending an editable file) to use PNG for transparencies.
  • Keeping in tune with the previous point, you should know that PNG will always have a better quality so it can be always a good idea when comparing with JPG. However, PNG files are always heavier so sometime you could struggle to send that kind of files.
  • In the other hand as previous point, it can be best if you decide to send your files in an EPS format. This will be easier to decide which is the best way of printing.
  • T-shirt characteristics: if you want to have the best results, you should know your products, so having all the information required from the T-shirt if crucial. Be sure of what is the correct size of the T-shirt to make the correct logo or image size, know about the material of the garment, so your image can be printed properly.
  • Always remember that T-shirts have a texture and feel when printing, and some logos may look slightly different. This will also depend on the fabric you are using.
  • T-shirt printing can be a fun experience if you consider these previous points. And a proper use of T-shirt printing may get you great results if you’re planning to make it for your business, a cause or any other purpose.


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    T-shirt printing at FESPA Munich 2019. Source: FLAAR-REPORTS



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    T-shirt printing at APPPEXPO 2019. Source: FLAAR-REPORTS



    Get-the-most-from-your-printed-T-shirt

    T-shirt printing at FESPA Munich 2019. Source: FLAAR-REPORTS



    Get-the-most-from-your-printed-T-shirt

    T-shirt printing at APPPEXPO 2019. Source: FLAAR-REPORTS


    Do you remember when you were little and sometimes (or always) you found yourself using a T-shirt with your favorite character on it or a simple quote, or anything to just give a message? I remember I used to wear them all the time... and sometimes as a grown up, I still wear them eventually.

    T-shirt market is huge and these days can still be used as a market strategy to promote basically anything. This market has enormously developed in the last couple of years and it is expected to cross 10 billion USD by 2025.

    Here are 8 reasons why T-shirt can still be on trend on 2020:

    Branding

    An easy way of branding is through items that people use daily. They can be for staff members because it can play as your presentation card or even for customers. T-shirts can be easy items to promote your brand and make a presence. Just keep in mind T-shirt designs are not the same as 20 or even 10 years ago. Nowadays design matters and if your planning on somebody using your T-shirt, its because it looks really nice and also doesn’t scream your brand on every single corner. So something subtle may work best instead of putting a huge logo. Obviously, everything will depend on the market you are working for.


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    Is-T-shirt-printing-still-current

    T-shirt Branding. Photo courtesy of
    Weareutopia

    Customers

    As I mentioned before, they can be used by clients. Why? Everybody knows that client loyalty is the key for a business to succeed, and having a happy client may be an opportunity for more clients to approach you. T-shirts can be a complementary gift or a sign of appreciation.

    Off-work promotion

    A well-designed T-shirt that looks good may not be a problem for workers to use it after their working hours finish and this is when branding can be present with a unique image anytime.

    TV and movie characters

    Living in this era has made us have almost any movie or TV series just a click away and at a reasonable price, so it’s really common that you, your family, your neighbor, etc. are watching the same TV series or movie at the time. Not only it is a nice way of expression to use a T-shirt with your favorite TV show character or quote, but also, it’s really trendy to see anyone on the street wearing one of it.


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    TV series T-shirt. Photo courtesy of Amazon.


    Promoting team work

    Not every owner or boss knows that creating a solid team could make your business succeed. This is because customers and tasks are being taken care by employees and almost everything is done by them. Custom T-shirts can be a motivation for your staff to build a bond with the brand and create a bond with the rest of the team. Therefore, accomplish more goals and objectives.

    Costs

    Compared with some types of promotional items for events, T-shirts are a much more affordable option to produce. Also, a great printing quality helps it to prolongate its lifetime so the visibility of the brand will be for an extended period.

    Fashion statements

    The truth is that these days, almost anyone can design a T-shirt art that fits his or her personality, so as a great way of expression is a perfect tool for outstanding and to give a personal and unique message.

    Causes

    Promoting different causes is an excellent opportunity not only to get funds but also to promote your cause with more people and make an unconscious awareness about it. For example a Save your Planet cause, in which you are being allowed to change people’s mindset about nature just by making them wear them.

    So, if you want to try it, T-shirts could be a great and easy tactic to level up and make your business to stand out.


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    T-shirt printing at APPPEXPO 2019, Shanghai. Photo from FLAAR Archive.



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    T-shirt Branding. Photo courtesy of Printshome


    There are tons of UV curing applications, its constant innovation has led to consider that UV curing is one of the most versatile market in the world, this without mentioning that its characteristics provide multiple advantages and great results over many different materials.

    Faster production and lower costs are some of the most common challenges for automotive manufacturers and suppliers face.

    UV Curing is a great potential solution when it comes to industrial coatings and to transform automotive parts and body manufacturing.

    Here are some of the many benefits of using UV Curing coatings instead of heat:

  • Reduce floor space and utility costs, UV Curing doesn’t require large ovens to execute the process.
  • Coating process time. UV-cured coatings can take a few seconds to cure, so there is no comparison with the 30 minutes baking cycles. This also helps reducing sag, dirt defects and oven cleaning processes.
  • Reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can be harmful chemicals. UV curing operations ranges from 0-15%, while traditional baking processes ranges from 40-60%.
  • Improving resistance to scratch and marks.
  • Durability and resistance to chemical degradation.
  • The filter effect of UV absorbers protects the substrate against color change and photochemical degradation, which can lead to delamination.

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    Drying and curing of coatings, photo courtesy of Heraeus


    The benefits of using UV Curing lights on automotive manufacturing are high and manufacturers must step up and start implementing UV. So basically, UV is changing the entire game to improve automotive processes and deliver better quality products in less time.


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    UV Curing for car coatings, photo courtesy of Auto Body Connect


    We all know UV Curing is a very extended market that has been there for many years when it comes to the wide format printing world. Its applications are involved in multiple industries around the globe and in different trade shows, we can expect new releases and new possible applications to use UVC.

    One opportunity for the UVC world is to reduce the Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) by automating the process in the current hygiene protocol integrating UV with health care equipment. UV curing brands making medical equipment are creating smaller UVC LEDs to develop portable and handheld disinfection devices to improve the protocols. UV Curing LEDS are a major upgrade for HAI preventions, they deliver targeted UVC light in the optimal disinfection wavelength range and the energy consumption is little.


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    UV Curing LED lights, photo courtesy of Banggood


    Using UV Curing LEDS to address a specific surface and to achieve a specific log reduction has allowed to re-create better designed devices that complement chemical disinfection by delivering a uniform and efficient UV disinfection process. Here are two potential applications into the HAI industry:

    Reduction of Clostridium Difficile (C-diff, a pathogen that can survive weeks or even months over a surface. It can be present on clothing and high-contact devices such as mobile phones, laptops, stethoscopes, diagnostic tools, etc. Nowadays this is commonly treated with isopropyl alcohol disinfection wipes but they have an offensive odor, dries the skin out and can damage equipment. UV Curing LEDs can be applied in an easier way, and without being so invasive as alcohol.


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    Clostridioides difficile Infection, HAI, photo courtesy of CDC.


    CLABSI or Central Line-Associated Blood Stream Infections cleaning are also being disinfected with alcohol for preparing catheter hubs. The process involves a 30-second scrub with alcohol and other 30 seconds to dry and be effective. This process is completely manual so the risk of human error could be very harmful and fatal, that’s why a LED device, attached to an infuser and delivering a consistent, trackable UVC dose could be a more efficient and process.

    UV Curing LEDs has made their way into the health industry, and it is great to see how more brands are joining the market as it is a great opportunity to implement and improve healthy and cleaner habits into hospitals.


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    Hospital operating room, courtesy of Medical News Today.


    Workflow has always been a part of the printing process in every printshop. Thanks to the development of new resources and new products, automation has been on the loop for a while now and with the time, many more companies are intrigued of how it can be implemented on their businesses due to the idea of having less dependency on human hands and more on technology. As we do in many other daily used products (like smartphones or virtual assistants at home, for example).

    Nowadays, technology has become part of our lives and routines and why not taking the best advantage of every industry? Machines and software controlled by technology is a great idea and the process of using it has revealed many benefits. First, optimizing time in every process, cutting down hours spent on each workstation by one or multiple people. Effectiveness and significantly decreasing production, detecting errors and progressively improve quality.

    Choosing the best solution for your business will depend on your needs, budget and your business goals. There are many products in the market so you need to be clear and also realize that this will not be your magic wound and everything will be solved in your printshop. There may be some limitations, pros and cons, depending on the product you choose. Some of the existing workflow solutions in the market need third party tools to work correctly on the entire printing process, so it’s crucial to pick whatever fits you best.

    Konica Minolta AccurioPro Flux

    Konica Minolta launched a flexible automation software series that targets Central Reprographics Departments (CRDs), Print Service Providers (PSPs), and in-house print shops of schools or companies. This technology has been developed to let customers to automate and streamline operations, expand their print services and allow delivering high-quality digital prints in a quicker time.


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    AccurioPro-flux, courtesy of Print Innovation Asia


    AccurioPro Flux has three modules for workflow; the Essential Module contains all print room need for prepress and make-ready management, Premium includes a server to enable collaboration between clients and print team, and the Ultimate version adds a web-to-print function. AccurioPro Flux increases productivity in many ways:

    • More efficient prepress workflow by automating recurring tasks.
    • Minimizing the manual labor required to conventionally sync color and mono printouts.
    • Maximizing the use of different printers to achieve greater efficiency without human intervention.
    • Take up a large amount of the operator’s time.
    • Make-ready function decreases time spent on pre-flight test.

    AccurioPro Flux Essential – Prepress and Output

    It is the entry-level product of the print automation software series. It offers prepress processes, centralized tasks and control of all production machines. It also has a ready-to-use tool which allows to do some editing without switching to a separate app. Basic preflight check is available, which detects printing problems due to incorrect PDF files, missing fonts, images with low resolution and transparencies. Third-party devices allowance is integrated, so the user can control all machines in the printing room, including machines from another manufacturer.

    AccurioPro Flux Premium – Automation and Collaboration

    Premium version of AccurioPro Flux not only offers every aspect of the Essential module, but also a server designed for even greater automation and collaboration. With Premium module, users are able to work from anywhere through the app, whether from a PC, Mac or a mobile device. Users are also able to process print jobs directly on the printer through de Flux Panel, checking, previewing and editing. Besides detecting errors, the Flux server can be synced with third party system such as ERP and MIS for a more streamline process. It also facilitates collaboration between team members and every operator can have a personal and individual account so everyone can work at different workstations at the time. Print steps can be sent to clients through email updates automatically.

    AccurioPro Flux Ultimate – Web-to-print

    This last module of the software includes a web-to-print functionality. This allows clients to submit their orders through the online shop and 24/7. Documents by clients can be automatically preflight checked before printing them. The flux Document Converter allows uploading up to 300 different file formats to the web-to-print platform. This online shop can be also integrated into IT environments.

    So Konica Minolta has provided a great option out there in the market so print shops can become not only automated, but improving in many aspects of their businesses including printing speed, the reachability for clients to deliver documents to printer queue, faster and larger communication between user-machine and at distance, so if you are considering stepping up your print shop, this may be a great solution.


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    Konica Minolta AccurioPro Flux, Courtesy of Konica Minolta


    When it comes to sustainability, there are some industries, brands or products that immediately come to our minds, but when speaking about fashion you may be aware that it’s one of the most polluting industries of the world. Fast fashion has become a gigantic market and thousands of people buy clothes constantly and without measure. Huge fashion chains are growing nonstop and it’s not only shocking how much waste they produces per year, but the amount of carbon, heavy metals and plastics that end up in the sea are slowly hurting our planet. Fortunately for us, there are big brands that are environmentally aware of that and are doing something about it. That’s the case for Kornit Digital.


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    Fashion environmental impact, courtesy of The Guardian.


    Kornit Digital is a company that has been on the market for a while. Founded on 2002 and with offices in the USA, Europe and Asia Pacific. Their products are being sold in more than 100 countries all over the world. They develop and manufactures different types of products for the textile industry. Well-known for their NeoPigmen process and their sustainability standards Kornit have been implementing green practices to their processes to contribute to reduce the high impact the textiles industry creates.


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    Kornit Atlas t-shirt printer exhibited at FESPA Munich 2019, FLAAR-REPORTS archive.


    The company is very vocal about their beliefs and their actions to become a more sustainable brand each day. Kornit, as a leader brand in the fashion industry, as they mentioned, work with a zero-water waste and low carbon footprint policies, also they avoid manufacturing un-purchased clothes. All of this to reduce or minimize the environmental footprint. They believe in creating this mindset to performance better and greener practices in every steps of their processes.


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    Waterless

    It is shocking knowing the level of water waste on every conventional dyeing and textile printing process. The daily water consumption on a regular textile mill with a production of 8000 kg of fabric per day, goes for about 1.6 million litters, 16% for dyeing and 8% in printing. It takes about 500 gallons of water to produce enough fabric to cover a sofa. This without mentioning the water is polluted with toxic chemicals. Kornit’s technologies are reducing this high impact with a 100% waterless process utilized in every printing system they manufacture, getting rid of pretreatments, steaming or washing required.


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    Printed samples at FESPA 2018, FLAAR-REPORTS archive


    Neo Pigment Inks

    Their revolutionary water-based inks are free of heavy metal, formaldehyde and Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APE). This makes in general the printing and dyeing process, a much more convenient in terms of non-hazardous, non-toxic and biodegradable. All their processes combined (waterless printing process, biodegradable inks and energy saving system) created an eco-friendly and a more sustainable alternative for textile printing.


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    Compliance

    Since day one they have been environmentally conscious and one of the commitments they have is to reduce the footprint of the company, their partners and customers through their sustainable policies that address the ever-changing industry needs and standards.


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    Kornit Storm HD6 Color ICT exhibited at APPPEXPO 2019, FLAAR-REPORTS archive


    So, despite apparel and fashion industries have been really harmful for the planet over many years behind, bid brands like Kornit are reducing this giant impact and providing more conscious options without leaving behind great quality and really good-looking products. So, if you are looking for greener options, always reach for companies with sustainable ideals.

    Keep up with the latest trends about de digital printing industry and learn more about different technologies, equipment, media & substrates, inks, etc.

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