Advances in technology have opened countless doors (and windows) for fresh and unique applications of glass. New printing solutions have further expanded the potential of glass – it’s now easier than ever to achieve crisp, beautiful results. The two leading printing solutions, digital printing and screen printing, differ in ways that compliment each other. Techni-Glass shifts between the two technologies as needed to maximize quality.
Glass Screen Printing
Screen printing is the most common printing solution in the US. It is the oldest form of glass printing and has long been the standard method for high-volume glass printing productions. However, advances in digital printing technology are changing this. The screen printing process uses a stencil to apply the print design to the glass surface by spreading ink across a mesh screen. The glass is then fired to adhere the ink to the glass surface. A major limitation of screen printing is its maximum capability of four colors. Additionally, the cost and time required to set up each color is not cost effective for small-to-medium-sized, custom orders.
Glass Digital Printing
Digital printing is a fresh and innovative solution that offers more flexibility than screen printing on glass. The versatility of digital printing allows the unlimited design potential to print any image, pattern, text, or graphic AND the ability to replicate the appearance of surface textures like marble or wood. As part of the digital printing process, the ink is frit and fired into the glass for a permanent bond that will not scratch off. In other words, unlike screen printing where the ink is adhered TO the glass, the digital printing process infuses the ink IN the glass so the design becomes an integral part of the glass. Therefore, the color will never fade or come off.
Techni-Glass uses a Tecglass Vitro-Jet MA printer along with 3 furnaces for our digital printing applications. In the past, digital printing was not the most effective method for large orders, but these advanced machines have made digital printing a quick, efficient, and cost-effective option for everything from large batch orders to custom one-offs.
Another advantage of this new technology is its ability to print a wide array of colors and translucency on any type of glass. Using a variety of inks in conjunction with a furnace that can heat the ink at different temperatures, digital printing allows for endless color possibilities, closer matches, deeper vibrancy, and more levels of translucency. Additionally, digital prints are done in high resolution, allowing for extremely detailed results.
Digital printing offers a comprehensive, efficient glass printing solution that fuses aesthetic and functional design and maximizes production potential to provide a competitive advantage in automotive, industrial, architectural, and interior design applications.
When it comes to screen printing vs. digital printing, the choice comes down to more than just difference in technique. It’s important to consider style, intended use, colors desired, location, quantity, versatility, sustainability, and more. Techni-Glass works with both methods, and if you’re not sure what you need, we can help you decide. Have questions or ready to get started? Simply fill out the form below.