As China returns to work, EFI Cretaprint hybrid digital printing takes centre stage among leading ceramic tile manufacturers

August 05, 2020

As the Chinese ceramic tile industry begins to rebound, leading manufacturers are showing 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 leading manufacturers, including Champion Tile and Marco Polo.

EFI Cretaprint participated in the show with Zibo, China-based distribution partner Cremix, a company known for its strong support of tile manufacturers. The successful exhibit with Cremix highlighted the modularity and versatility that have always been the hallmark of EFI Cretaprint technology. “Uniceramic attendees were able to see that Cremix and EFI are very closely aligned in our partnership,” said Cremix’s founder and general manager, Mr. 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 Mr. 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.”

A superior, sustainable solution for the future

In addition to the breakthrough Hybrid printer, customers such as Champion Tile are attracted to the complete ecosystem of solutions EFI provides for efficient, sustainable and productive digital tile decoration. EFI Cretaprint Hybrid technology has been extensively tested and implemented with a complete system that features water-based inks and glazes, and an EFI Fiery® proServerdigital front end that provides exceptional ink savings and highly accurate colour management for ceramics.

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 ability to operate with water-based inks as well as eco-solvent inks is a unique advantage that only the EFI Cretaprint Hybrid printer offers. It also features improved ink delivery, cleaning and electronics systems to keep humidity and prevent sedimentation. The printer is available in widths from 700 to 1400 mm, with up to 12 printing bars. New, 5th-generation Cretaprint software incorporated in the Hybrid printer delivers increased connectivity with third-party applications and an improved operator interface for increased ease of use.

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,” remarked Evandro Matteucci, vice president and general manager 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.”

First EFI Cretaprint Shield purchase in China

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. Shield technology gives customers the power to complement their existing equipment. Users can place Shield units prior to tile printing to apply digital glaze, or after tile printing to apply glues and other effects.

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