EFI Cretaprint Hybrid technology earns coveted Alfa de Oro prize

World's only hybrid eco-solvent/aqueous inkjet ceramic tile printer technology

EFI Cretaprint Hybrid eco-solvent/aqueous technology received a 2020 Alfa de Oro award during the Cevisama tradeshow

The advanced, greener EFI Cretaprint Hybrid digital tile decoration solution that Electronics For Imaging, Inc. is showcasing at the Cevisama tradeshow earned the company one of the tile industry’s most respected honors, a 2020 Alfa de Oro award from the Sociedad Española de Cerámica y Vidrio. The highly competitive award recognizes ceramics and glass manufacturing equipment that stimulates technological and artistic creativity.

The award-winning Cretaprint Hybrid digital inkjet printer ecosystem gives tile manufacturers a long-term business advantage for current and future productivity, with the unique ability to work with eco-solvent inks now, and then move to aqueous inks using the same EFI Cretaprint printer. This remarkable solution, which is making its European debut at Cevisama, facilitates the important future move to greener EFI Cretacolor aqueous inks, as well as the adoption of highly accurate, efficient digital glazing.

“We are addressing our customers’ key concerns for immediately adding eco-friendly processes – something that will eventually become standard for an industry looking to reduce its environmental footprint,” said José Luis Ramón Moreno, vice president and general manager, EFI Industrial Printing. “We have already had several successful EFI Cretaprint Hybrid implementations, and our users are able to achieve the same level of print quality and reliability that they have had previously, with improved sustainability.”

The groundbreaking EFI offering at Cevisama includes the world’s only hybrid eco-solvent/aqueous inkjet ceramic tile printer technology, available in widths from 700 mm to 1,400 mm. EFI Cretaprint Hybrid printers include 5th-generation printer software for “Smart Printer” capabilities, with enhanced connectivity and an intuitive user experience.

High-quality, eco-friendly decoration and efficient glazing

Once Hybrid Cretaprint users switch to EFI Cretacolor aqueous inkjet inks, they can gain tremendous sustainability advantages, eliminating more than 90% of the volatile organic compound emissions – and 73% of the average carbon emissions – that occur with eco-solvent ceramic inkjet inks. The aqueous inks also offer a short drying time, with higher print quality and image definition compared with eco-solvent inks.

Versatile EFI Cretaprint Shield auxiliary modules for the Hybrid ecosystem include a digital glazing option with important environmental and economic benefits. The digital glazing feature applies the right amount of glaze in a controlled manner, reducing the amount of waste that is typical in tile manufacturing. The EFI Cretaprint glaze formulation also has lower vapor emissions and requires less water consumption. Users can apply the glaze with superior accuracy, an essential factor in the production of larger-size tiles.

The EFI Fiery proServer digital front end (DFE) for Cretaprint, a dedicated color management solution for digital ceramic tile decoration, features innovative ColorWise separation technology for ceramics. ColorWise uses purpose-built color management algorithms for sharper, more detailed output versus conventional ICC color management methods. Combined with EFI Cretacolor inks, ColorWise separation technology reduces ink usage by up to 30% versus ICC colour management without affecting accuracy, gamut or definition. Plus, a Smart Ink Savings feature for the Fiery proServer can reduce ink costs further by calculating the most affordable ink combination needed to produce a design. These combined technologies can deliver a total ink cost savings of up to 40% versus other tile production methods.

The award EFI received during Cevisama is EFI’s second Alfa de Oro honour. The company also earned the prize in 2016 for its innovative larger-format solution – the 1.8-meter wide EFI Cretaprint X4printer featuring a DTP 2.0 system that eliminates unused space when decorating different tile sizes in a single production run.

The EFI exhibit at Cevisama 2020 is on level N2 of pavilion P7, Stand B29, at Feria Valencia. For more information on EFI products for ceramic decoration, visit www.efi.com/cretaprint.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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