Agfa has worked with the Dutch company Unilin to develop water-based inkjet solutions for manufacturing laminate flooring and furniture, which it will demonstrate at next month’s InPrint show in Munich, Germany.
The laminate solution is a combination of primers developed by Unilin and inks from Agfa that enable high-speed roll-to-roll single-pass digital printing of decorative surfaces like laminate flooring and furniture. The ink-primer set is said to deliver wide colour gamut with good print quality and low ink consumption. This in turn allows for a cheaper solution than other inkjet approaches so that it can compete head-to-head with high-volume analog printing, which is typically conventional gravure printing.
In theory, high speed and cost-effective roll-to-roll digital printing should appeal to both established décor printers and in-house decor paper production by flooring and furniture manufacturers. It should be relatively easy to integrate this solution into existing manufacturing facilities as it is fully compatible with conventional processing, including impregnation, pressing, cutting & milling. Also, as it is a digital process, inkjet printing can be used during the full life cycle of a design – from the start-up with a very small run, through high-volume production, up to the last few print batches when a specific design is being phased out. This design flexibility should make it easier to react to market demands and significantly reduce the need to hold large volumes of stock.
This should be seen as part of a general trend towards developing aqueous inkjet inks for industrial applications, driven by demands for more sustainable products, as well as for reasons of cost-efficiency and safety. As part of this Agfa is also working on developing water-based inkjet inks for packaging applications, including corrugated packaging and flexible packaging.
Agfa also has a wide range of UV inks as well as jettable primers and varnish and will show samples from both direct-to-shape printing and printed interior decoration. This includes a UV inkset with low metamerism for printing wood grain designs. You can find further details at agfagraphics.com.