EFI Cretaprint Hybrid technology earns coveted Alfa de Oro prize

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

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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.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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