Digital Printing on Glass for Environmentally Friendly Architecture
An Israeli company based in Kfar Sava has developed the only system in the world for digitally printing on glass using highly durable ceramic inks. With a click of the mouse, the technology can take any pattern or mix of colors displayed on a computer screen and print the image directly onto glass. Since the ink can hold up under all weather conditions, many of the world’s most successful architects are using the digital printing solution on the outer windows of buildings. With the possibility of printing 360 degrees, it can turn any pane of glass into a stunning canvas. There are examples of how the printing works in every corner of the world. For instance, New York’s Harlem Hospital used the technology to print glass panels on the building’s façade using the style and colors of Harlem culture and art in the 1930s. In Norway, the National Museum of Rock and Pop Music, which is made out of hundreds of glass panels, is printed with images of the covers of various Norwegian musical albums. A shopping complex in Moscow, the AFIMALL, has a bright green exterior and the newly renovated Barclays headquarters in Paris is printed with images of folded pages of marble.
Architects are pleased with the new way of expressing ideas that up till now could only be realized on paper. The colors are not only vivid and lively, but the specially developed ink actually bonds with the glass meaning that the image printed will last just as long as the glass will, without signs of fading. Besides the images, there are environmental benefits to the printed glass. First of all, the glass itself is derived from recycled products that are non-toxic and transparent, which adds to its sustainability. The printed glass is energy efficient and has glare reduction qualities and protects the interior of the building from UV radiation. Those at the Mansueto Library of the University of Chicago report that the printed glass reduces its energy requirements because it blocks out 73% of the solar heat.
Ongoing Research Ensures Success
Headquarters for Dip-Tech are in Israel, but the company also has sales offices in Europe and the US. Since 2010, sales have shot up 30-50 % and expectations for 2014 are set at $30 million. For now, Dip-Tech is the only game in town, but others are trying to copy its technology. To stay ahead, they it has an intense R & D department working with a state of the art laboratory. In collaboration with Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, it is improving its nanotechnology-based inks with continual improvements and new products.