DIRECT  
USGlass Magazine  
Looks at the  
Impact of Direct-  
to-Glass Printing  
Effect  
by Ellen Rogers  
Does your company currently  
have its own direct-to-glass  
glass printing allows companies to take virtually any image and digitally printing machine?  
ust over a decade or so ago, the glass industry was introduced to what has  
become one of the most innovative technologies it’s ever seen. Direct-to-  
J
print it onto the glass surface.  
Like with many new products, companies were slow to jump on board and  
purchase the machinery.In the last few years, though, that changed, as more  
and more fabricators began to buy the equipment.Direct-to-glass printing,  
it seemed, was truly the “it” thing.  
4N7o%  
53%  
Yes  
Now that the technology has been on the market for more than a decade,  
is it everything the industry expected? USGlass magazine recently  
conducted a survey to learn more about how companies are working with  
their direct-to-glass printing equipment—as well as those not yet on board.  
Respondents answered questions about when they purchased the  
equipment, how much it’s used and how they expect demand to change.We  
also received input from companies that have not purchased a direct-to-glass  
printer. Take a look at the results over the next few pages to learn more about  
how this technology is being used.  
Our survey revealed there  
isn’t an overwhelming majority  
of companies currently  
operating a direct-to-glass  
printing machine. Just over  
half are using the equipment.  
If your company plans to invest in direct-to-glass printing, we welcome your  
feedback and participation in future articles. Contact Ellen Rogers at  
erogers@glass.com to tell us about your recent and future purchases.  
If You Don’t Operate a Direct-to-Glass Machine …  
Have you considered  
purchasing this type  
of equipment?  
What is the primary reason you have not  
purchased a direct-to-glass printing machine?  
3
0
5
0
5
0
5
0
5
N3o%  
47%  
Yes  
29%  
29%  
2
2
1
1
24%  
1
8%  
Just over half of the companies that have  
not purchased this type of equipment say  
it’s something they’ve not yet considered.  
Cost is one of the main reasons some  
companies have not purchased. Other  
reasons include focusing on other products  
and simply not seeing the demand.  
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USGlass, Metal & Glazing | April 2016  
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What percentage of your  
How long has your company had the equipment?  
company’s business is made  
up of direct-to-glass printing?  
30  
25  
20  
15  
10  
5
0
27%  
27%  
26%  
3
3%  
20%  
5
3%  
2
5-49%  
Less than  
0 percent  
1
1
4%  
1
0-24%  
How does the amount of actual  
direct-to-glass printing business  
compare to what you expected  
when you purchased the machine?  
As for how long companies have been working with this type  
of equipment, the responses were split fairly close, with most  
companies operating their lines for less than five years.  
3
3%  
Less than  
expected  
4
7%  
For what types of projects do  
you most frequently use it?  
About as  
expected  
2
0%  
More than  
expected  
Interior office space  
92%  
Hotel/hospitality  
85%  
Airports/transportation  
Amusement/stadiums  
Exterior facades  
6
2%  
2%  
6
What was the payback period for  
your purchase of the direct-to-  
glass printing equipment?  
6
9%  
Decorative/art displays  
8
5%  
2
7%  
33%  
More than  
More than 1  
year, but less  
than 3 years  
5
years  
0
20  
40  
60  
80  
100  
Interiors topped the list of the most common applications.  
Hotels/hospitality, as well as decorative/art displays, are also  
popular spaces for this type of glazing.  
4
years  
0%  
3
to 5  
continued on page 52  
www.usglassmag.com  
April 2016 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
51  
DIRECT  
Effect  
How do you expect the square footage of direct-to-glass printed  
product you produce to change in the next 5 years?  
continued from page 51  
50  
40  
30  
20  
10  
0
47%  
40%  
Almost all companies expect  
to be doing significantly more  
work, while 13 percent think  
it will be about the same as  
what they are doing now.  
1
3%  
continued on page 54  
The Art of Achieving Special Effects in Glass Decoration  
For centuries, artists and architects  
Spraying also enables special effects trends in decorative glass, efficiently  
have found many kinds of canvases such as combining pearlescent or glit- and cost effectively, depends on getting  
for adding beautiful images to en- ter paint from one bucket with a color to know companies that have decades  
hance everyday environments. Today, from another. Applying the paints in- of experience in creating other  
glass has become a favorite canvas line, wet-on-wet achieves unique re- decorative surfaces.  
for artistic expression that goes far be- sults. Faux marble is another special  
yond opening up spaces and inviting effect created in a similar manner.  
light in.  
“It definitely helps to partner with a  
true finishing company that is adept at  
creating decorative surfaces beyond  
Creating special effects on glass is Roll Coating: Compared to glass,” says Roy Pagan, business devel-  
being widely used to make big visual spraying, roll coating is not as flexible in opment manager for Cefla North Amer-  
impacts in places ranging from avant- changeover from one color to another, ica’s Finishing Division. “Some of our  
garde offices and public spaces to com- but it does enable a much higher line best innovations and technologies have  
forting and mood-enhancing healthcare speed. For a company that works with come from cross-pollinating our ideas  
environments. Glass decoration options only one to three main colors every day, for finishing one substrate to enhance  
range from solid colors and frosted pan- such as white, etched glass, and light another. In addition to having a state-of-  
els to digitally printed, custom organic etched glass, roll coating is a great asset. the-art lab for testing, we also work with  
patterns, to ink applied by backpaint- Not only can you run with a higher many coating companies here in Char-  
ing. When you evaluate which method amount of volume at a higher speed, but lotte, as well as Salem Distributing,  
of paint application represents the best rollers don’t create overspray. Edges are which adds significantly to our expertise  
investment for your company, remem- clean and paint-free when the glass and access to resources.”  
ber that each one has a number of comes off the line.  
pluses and minuses.  
Working with a company like Cefla  
also opens possibilities for digital print-  
Ovens: A key consideration in ing with water-based UV paint. For ex-  
Spraying: Spraying is one of the achieving a specific look in glass ample, UV paints are translucent, so  
two main technologies for applying decoration is to work with a company glass printed with them lets light shine  
paint, the term that refers to ink that’s that has a variety of choices in ovens. through. When placed against drywall,  
essentially been ground down. One It’s important to be able to evaluate the color shows up behind the glass. By dig-  
approach involves spraying ceramic capabilities of different ovens to dry itally printing on the second surface  
frit water-based paint, solvent-based different types of paint. Having and backpainting on white, you suc-  
paint and water-based UV paint. centralized access to ovens, sprayers ceed in locking in the color.  
Decorating glass with a spraying and roll coaters that accommodate a  
machine allows users to be flexible in wide variety of widths is also crucial.  
changeover of colors and types of  
With even more inventive technolo-  
gies to come, glass will undoubtedly  
continue to offer clear advantages in all  
paint. In fact, changeover can be Expertise: For forward-thinking kinds of architectural applications. Cue  
accomplished in as few as five architects, engineers, designers and the special effects!  
minutes.  
glass fabricators, maximizing the latest  
Editorial contributed by Cefla Finishing.  
52  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | April 2016  
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DIRECT  
Effect  
continued from page 52  
What advantages does this  
equipment offer your company?  
Wdoheastyootuhrecrofambpraicnaytioofnfecra?pabilities  
•Ability to work with the clients and  
print on-demand images without  
typical screen set-up charges.  
CNC cutting (glass)  
6
9%  
The ability to accurately and quickly  
produce unique creations that are  
durable and long- lasting.  
CNC cutting  
1
7%  
(
metal)  
Printing in vivid color up to 1200 DPI  
provides an advantage over  
competing technologies that have  
much lower resolution.  
Other cutting (glass)  
6
2%  
Other  
cutting 13%  
•More profitability and revenue.  
(metal)  
The ability to be more economical on  
custom patterns.  
Water-jet cutting  
Beveling  
31%  
Speed and accuracy.  
It has opened new markets for other  
glass products.  
52%  
Great for small one-off runs.  
Diamond edging  
41%  
Drilling  
69%  
What are the disadvantages of  
the equipment?  
Glass washing  
Automated IG  
Manual IG  
69%  
•Operation is a combination of art and  
science.  
Long lead times are needed to  
ensure quality pieces are produced;  
issues often arise randomly.  
With glass sizes becoming larger, it  
becomes a challenge to print in  
large-enough formats to meet the  
needs of every job.  
3
8%  
35%  
Laminating (autoclave)  
Laminating  
38%  
•Slow speed.  
(
without an  
24%  
Not as crisp as silk-screen.  
Maintenance.  
autoclave)  
Tempering  
55%  
•Limited by mesh size and flexibility.  
Color and resolution quality.  
Cost, including set-up, operating and  
inks.  
0
10  
20  
30  
40  
50  
60  
70  
80  
Offering other capabilities helps keep fabricators busy. Nearly 70  
percent of respondents say they have CNC glass cutting lines; 55  
percent also do tempering.  
•It isn’t the perfect solution for all  
graphic projects.  
continued on page 56  
www.usglassmag.com  
5
4
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | April 2016  
DIRECT  
Effect  
continued from page 54  
Who took our survey?  
Company Size,  
2
4%  
Other  
By Number of Employees  
5
fabricator  
9%  
7
%
Glass  
Contract glazier  
50  
40  
30  
20  
10  
0
4
5%  
3
manufacturer  
%
Glass  
3
5%  
3
%
Architectural 3%  
metal fabricator  
Glass shop/  
retailers  
1
4%  
E l l e n R o g e r s is the  
editor of USGlass magazine.  
Follow her on Twitter  
3
%
3%  
@
USGlass and like USGlass  
1-20  
20-50  
50-80  
80-100  
More  
than 100  
on Facebook to receive  
updates.  
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