Dr Anke Pankoke expands on the potential that Industrial Inkjet offers in production efficiency and decor quality
Almost everybody had to do it once - applying an edge belt on a furniture part with an electric iron. Or you were happy about not having to do it yourself because you bought a finished worktop with a high-quality edge. In both cases, it is not necessary to come to a compromise with regard to optics: Due to digital printing, each decor request for surface and edge can now be realized in high-end quality.
As a machine and plant engineering company with focus on the woodworking industry, Hymmen has an extensive knowhow about the complete production procedures of their customers. Due to the close interaction with the customers of the furniture and kitchen industry, very soon Hymmen realized a special field of application for their industrial digital printing technology for which there had been no solution on the market so far: The industrial digital printing on edge belts
The advantages of digital printing on edge bands
The substitution of gravure printing by digital printing provides a lot of advantages to the customers: The digital printing can be incorporated in existing process chains of the decor industry, it enables an individualized mass production, the quick reaction on market trends and customer re-quests, a shorter "Time to Market", short set-up times, lower storage costs, no material loss upon change of decor, and, last but not least, new design options with regard to register lengths, levels of detail etc..
On request, this is matched 1:1 to the decor of the board surface – possibly finished by the same company Therefore, the whole line has a very compact design. Hymmen succeeded in accommodating the whole technology on a minimum amount of space, without having to renounce the advantages of large digital lines like e.g. the automatic cleaning of print heads.
The vacuum precision conveyor as a result of elaborate R&D
Two of the 32 digital printing lines sold by Hymmen are the special type JUPITER JPT-WS for digital printing on edge bands. Significant research and development efforts have been managed be-forehand. Hymmen had to find a solution to handle the special features of the substrate. This was finally found in the curved high-precision conveyor for edge material.
Technical and economic highlights
In addition to the high precision conveyor which ensures the flatness of the substrate by means of the vacuum suction, the digital printing machine for edge bands offers further technical highlights. The modular width extension implies flexibility with regard to the printing widths. The self-recovery function ensures a very high line availability. Calenders within the Hymmen line enable a decoupling of the web tension within the digital printer from the web tension in the periphery. The grey scale technology ensures a print image in reliable and uniform high-definition quality up to the bor-der of the edge, while the colour management is easy to handle at the same time. Maximum 10 col-or rows with 6 print heads side by side, i.e. 60 print heads altogether, can be installed. The UV colors CMYK (twice) and two special colours (e.g. white) are used. Finally, an UV-LED drying technology is used, saving the resources.
The line control and programming are generated in-house, just like for all Hymmen lines. The special knowhow about ink supply and print head activation, developed by ourselves, are already successful on the market. The print units consist of countless single parts which have already been installed in-house more than 600 times . Not for nothing, our company calls itself "Your established partner for Industrial Inkjet".
But Hymmen is not only pioneering technically and technologically with the digital printing lines. Also from an economic view, the lines represent a highlight: exemplary calculations and practical experience have shown that even without financial evaluation of the advantages like storage cost reduction (capital commitment), logistics costs reduction, omission of costs for cylinder production, shortening of the internal processing time (time to market), the production is absolutely economically in cost comparison with gravure printing.
The result: The Hymmen digital printing technology offers an amazing optical deep structure of each possible edge decor , where applicable also with textured haptics, which can hardly be distinguished from genuine wood, the highest decor quality like the surface, reproducible any time, and all in a highly flexible and economic production process.
The full article was first published in Specialist Printing Issue 1 2017
Hymmen will be exhibiting at InPrint Munich November 14-16th 2017