Viewpoint: Yariv Matzliach

Dip-Tech CEO discusses advancements in digital printing technologies

What are the top trends you see in the decorative glass market today?

The overarching trend we are seeing in glass decoration today is infusing glass with creative designs, functionality and sustainability. The exterior design trends are still leaning towards classic dots, lines and structure because buildings should fit in with their urban surroundings. Digital ceramic printing is being used to achieve these patterns in a unique way, often with creative use of color, to give personality to each building, while adding functionality and sustainability.

When it comes to digitally printed glass, imagination is the only limitation, and therefore we are seeing printed glass moving from curtain walls and facades towards bridges, balconies, balustrades, canopies and bus stations, and interior design elements such backsplashes, furniture, appliances, shower doors, dividers, wall cladding and more.

How has digital printing on glass advanced in recent years? What capabilities are available now that did not exist five years ago?

In the past five years, Dip-Tech technology has moved from printing in traditional black and white to printing in a range of colors and shades. The wide gamut of Pantone and RAL colors can be achieved through digital mixing or premixing. With its newest solutions, Dip-Tech has also introduced higher durability, and chemical and scratch resistance, to help protect against UV, weather and vandalism. In short, virtually every aspect of digital ceramic printing technology has improved over the past few years, and we see it continuing to do so.

Can you tell me about your professional background? How long have you been with Dip-Tech?
I am a technology entrepreneur with a focus on start-up innovation, and I lived and worked in Silicon Valley formany years. I joined Dip-Tech three years ago here in the “Start-Up Nation.”

If you could describe the decorative glass industry in one word, what would it be?
Blossoming. After being static for many years, it is now growing fast and becoming more colorful, more artistic and more widespread.

What are some of Dip-Tech’s newest equipment offerings?

The Dip-Tech AR Series digital ceramic printers are equipped with unique features to achieve the highest quality and speed. In order to print images at higher resolutions, these new printers jet smaller and more precisely placed drops of ink. The ink droplets must be fixed to prevent drop gain because glass is a nonabsorbent material; the immediate fixation of the ink makes it possible for the printer carriage to make a single pass even when printing in multiple colors. Drop fixation along with the inline dryer and High Definition Print Heads reduce printing and drying time while increasing throughput.

The digitally printed glass mural at the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, titled “San Francisco’s Evolving Waterfront,” was created by artists Troy Corliss & Elin Christopherson in 2013, and printed by Western States Glass.

What are customers looking for in terms of inks for their printers, and what new inks has Dip-Tech introduced to meet those demands?

Throughout the rest of 2014 we will be launching a number of new inks to meet the demands of the glass processing and architectural markets. For example, we are seeing more use of glass in flooring, stairs and roofing, in addition to walls. Dip-Tech Slip-Resistance Ink, designed for functional digital architecture, turns these slippery surfaces into glass surfaces that comply with regulations for safety standards to prevent slipping. We are hearing from customers who need ink to be printed on the external side of the glass. Dip-Tech Extra-Durable S1 Inks, set to be released soon, reduce reflections and glare so that the beauty of the printed image can be seen easily in different kinds of natural outdoor or artificial lighting. The inks offer enhanced resilience against chemicals and UV, on top of the extreme durability that all Dip-Tech inks possess, so architects and fabricators need not be concerned with printing on the exposed side of the glass.

How has the software for digital glass printers evolved?

The image processing software used in digital ceramic in-glass printing was designed and patented by Dip-Tech. Image processing software for printing on glass, a transparent surface, did not previously exist, and over the years, through working with glass design experts, the software has become more design-oriented and user-friendly. Today, the design-to-glass workflow solution includes color matching, pattern generation and automatic panel numbering, with a user-friendly interface giving a range of solutions for glass design needs.

Is there a way for existing customers to update their current machines to include any of these new technologies or options?

There is a trade-in/trade-up option for our customers who would like to convert their old printers to the latest printer generation, and we also offer system upgrades. Dip-Tech also manages pre-owned machines for new customers who are looking to enter the digital ceramic glass printing market with more affordable pricing.

Geographically, where are your machines, and which geographic markets do you expect to see the most growth going forward?

Dip-Tech printers are located in 46 countries on six continents. The markets where we have seen the most growth in the past few years have been in North America and Asia, and we expect this trend to continue in the coming years.