For laminate panel markets, Interprint has erected a KBA RotaJet168, the first industrial digital printer for the printing of wood, stone and creative décors on décor paper - normally printed on conventional gravure printing presses. It is located in Arnsberg, Germany, the headquarters of the international décor printer. The usual process for decor paper printing is gravure.

Rotaprint under construction.

Digital printing allows Interprint to make shorter runs, customized runs, and variable images. Ron Gilboa, a researcher at market analyst firm Infotrends, presented a conference session about digital printing on wood at IWF 2014, and recounts recent developments in the area for laminates: 

This announcement underscores InfoTrends’ belief that decorative applications are a fertile ground for digital conversion. In this case, it is decorative papers used for laminate or direct-to-surface printing. In just the past few years these markets have seen a shift towards shorter run lengths and increased customization. For example new decorative surface products such as Formica’s Formica Envision, Schattdecor’s digital VISIONS, and Wilsonart’s WilsonartXYou are now available. From uploading user’s own designs to manufacturing short runs on demand, the industry’s supply chain dynamics are changing. A minimum order for production volume of gravure-printed décor paper used to be about one ton of printed paper. Now with digital printing, a minimum order can be one that meets customer needs as well as their price sensitivity and timing. Digital printing is the enabler that helps achieve this. - See more at:

The roll-fed digital printing press uses iinfrared curing to quickly dry the decor paper colors. In many respects like a large inkjet desktop printer, the KBA Rotajet (featured in an ad in the March 2016 FDMC magazine) must process massive amounts of image data - 2.2 terabytes per second - to drive the drop-on-demand, 600-dpi inkjet printing heads, and maintain register as it prints.

The decor paper runs through the press at about 450 feet per minute on a 5-foot-wide roll of paper. The KBA XLO workflow is based on Adobe APPE architecture. The Rotajet automatically aligns printing heads in an array to stich together the digital images, side to side and end to end.KBA RotaColor polymer pigment ink is employd in the process. 

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.