The world’s authority on world records, Guinness, has awarded an Israeli company a record for the world’s largest digital printer. That winner — Kfar Sava-based Dip-Tech, which does digital printing on glass and ceramics, often in huge displays.
The Dip-Tech AR18000 printer can print a single pane of glass with a total area of up to 64 meters square (690 feet square). There are only two such printers in the world. Made in Israel, the Dip-Tech printers are owned and operated by sedak GmbH & Co. KG of Germany and Tianjin Northglass Industrial Co., Ltd in China. The Guinness World Records organization, which has been the acknowledged arbiter on the world’s biggest and best since 1955, presented Dip-Tech with the award last week.
Dip-Tech has always been an aficionado of big printers. Using large-size printers is the only way to produce the artful designs and images the company has become known for. Dip-Tech’s methods have been used to design malls, hospitals, office buildings, and universities around the world – bringing a touch of the magic of printed glass, which looks similar to stained glass, to a new generation.
Digital glass printing works the same as digital paper printing: An image is sent to the printer, which then gets transferred into the glass. The system is actually a bit more involved, because after the printing, the glass must be dried, and then tempered in a furnace.
Dip-Tech’s digital printing solution includes special inks the company has developed, said Tevet. The digital ceramic inks are made out of nano particles of glass and inorganic pigments, with the ink infused into the glass by the end of the process. After the tempering process, the ink becomes a part of the glass, meaning that it can stand up to any weather and environment conditions without fading. “Our printing solution allows the user to print a wide scale of colors, all in one pass. This is an exceptional capability when it comes to glass,” which usually requires much more intensive processing, said Shlomit Niva Tevet, Dip-Tech’s Director of Marketing.
Besides producing printed glass for aesthetic purposes, printed glass can be used for other functions – such as controlling sunlight through car windshields to prevent too much heat from coming through as the sun shines through the glass. Dip-Tech’s unique inks, said Tevet, can do that, too: “We are the only company in the world to produce ceramic ink with so many color possibilities for digital printed glass.” In addition, Tevet said, “our printing solution provides the accuracy – and color matching capabilities – that meet up to the severe standards of professionals in the industry.”
Dip-Tech’s glass can be seen in many places, like Chicago O’Hare International Airport’s newly refurbished Terminal 5, where the company produced a 4,000 square foot (370 square meter) “curtain” of digital ceramic printed glass designed to make the experience of going through security checkpoints more pleasant and aesthetic, along with beautifying the entire terminal, said Greg Saroka, president of Goldray Industries, the architecture firm that worked on the terminal. “We worked through all the various color and design options until one met all expectations. Using the Dip-Tech solution, we were then able to fabricate this highly comprehensive, detailed project exactly how it was conceptualized and drawn by the architects,” he said.
Dip-Tech glass is also on display in the facade of Harlem Hospital in New York City. The building was refurbished several years ago, and to strike a dramatic note, the exterior of the building was decorated with a glass mural facade, duplicating works of art that depict the struggle of southern US slaves for freedom. The glass was made to specifications by manufacturer PPG Industries of Pittsburgh — using Dip-Tech’s equipment. The result: A set of murals that appear painted into the windows, with 429 individually printed panes of glass giving viewers a lesson in history and an appreciation of art — and the building has become a tourist attraction.
CEO Yariv Matzliach announced the record at the glasstec 2014 show, which took place in Dusseldorf, Germany this week. Commenting on the Guinness award, he said, “It is a great honor for Dip-Tech to join the elite group of achievers named as World Record title holders. We share our celebration with sedak and Tianjin Northglass, the pioneering first users of these record-breaking printers.”