Printing on the edge… and beyond

The printing of furniture edge bands with single-pass UV inkjet has been proven for many years, with Agfa’s Altamira Design PID inks meeting all needs. A variety of other decorative interior parts can greatly benefit from inkjet printing with the same Agfa ink set too.

Agfa has been supplying inkjet inks for interior decoration for many years. The Altamira UV inkjet inks for single-pass printing are well-known for delivering consistent prints (begin to end, left to right). This consistency results from excellent jetting reliability (long open head times, no satellite formation etc.), as well as batch-to-batch consistency.

Extended performance

Two years ago, Agfa introduced a third-generation 6-color inkjet ink set for printing furniture bands. Altamira Design PID is based on Agfa’s patented pigment dispersion technology delivering high color strength at a low ink consumption. Ink formulations are perfectly tuned for jetting reliability, adhesion, color gamut and image quality.

Next to the CMYK inks, the ink set comprises two colors specifically for wood designs. That means that the designers of edge bands are not limited when it comes to color. For “wood grain designs”, all wood colors can be obtained by combining the Wood-Red and Wood-Yellow inks with Black and Cyan inks. These dedicated inks deliver prints with low metamerism, a key feature for edge bands that need to match the color of the printed top plate. For standard designs, natural stone, concrete look and other fashion colors, the 4‑color approach with CMYK is the best option because of its wide color gamut. All colors have excellent lightfastness, which is an indispensable asset when furniture with edge bands is located near a window.

Recently, the ink set has been extended with two additional colors: orange has been added to expand the red color range, which is the most interesting area for furniture designers. A light black (grey) reduces graininess when printing with larger drops.

The new inks have been designed to provide excellent adhesion, and a full fit with the furniture band manufacturing process. For each combination of inks, the printed color is stable very shortly after printing, making it possible to continue with the next process steps right away. The outstanding ink consistency allows repeated printing of the same design.

The reliability of single-pass printing was proven in production run lengths (printing during four hours without maintenance) with zero missing or failing nozzles. All inkjet inks from the Altamira Design PID ink set comply with IKEA regulations, which include IOS-MAT207 (liquid coatings on wood-based substrates), the strictest regulation related to printing of furniture.

More applications

More and more edge band manufacturers are abandoning traditional rotogravure printing technology and opt for digital printing of edge bands. Altamira Design PID inks are being used by edge band manufacturers around the world; Germany, Italy, and Spain are switching to inkjet printing as the main European countries. Yet digital printing is making inroads in the USA, Colombia, Canada, the UK, India and Turkey. Not surprisingly, as the benefits are numerous: no stock of cylinders to keep, a fixed set of process color inks, and a shorter preparation time – resulting in more cost-efficient production runs. In addition, products can be differentiated and personalized. The production can run at a higher speed and has a smaller footprint. The run length of edge bands is limited, which makes them perfectly suited for inkjet production printing.

In addition to edge bands, other interior decoration applications are also increasingly printed with Altamira Design PID inks. The Altamira Design PID ink set is being used to print on skirtings: three-dimensional, robust, light-resistant and moisture-resistant baseplates are decorated with dazzling, sharp inkjet images. Any design is possible, be it abstract, figurative or a special wood reproduction on MDF or PVC materials. Printing paper-based materials, which are then impregnated and laminated to a base plate, is also possible to manufacture skirtings.

Digital printing can also be used to create eye-catching blinds that are completely unique to the home or workplace. Something distinctive and personal can be created with a treasured photo, a favorite image or defined branding. Whatever type of blind is selected for digital printing, the top-quality Altamira Design PID UV ink set will ensure a long-lasting print.

The design options for car interiors are very diverse today. For example, headlining, dashboards and upholstery can be digitally printed with Altamira Design PID inks. Digital printing can handle practically any design, incorporating for example customer-specific designs or logos. In addition, thanks to their intensely brilliant colors, these designs truly stand out from the crowd.

Written by:
Rita Torfs, Product Manager Industrial Inks, Agfa

Download Altamira PID Design datasheet

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