The introduction of digital printing for the decoration of ceramic tile has brought with it the same opportunities and challenges that inkjet has brought to other product areas. On the positive side for ceramic tile manufacturers, digital printing has eliminated pattern repeats, always a limitation on drums from a traditional press. With digital printing, pattern length is limited only by the memory of the PC workstation. This has allowed designers to create more realistic natural patterns and finishes. For example, stone tile are printed with realistic veins and imperfections.
Digital printers also have a faster setup, eliminating waste and economically allowing for much shorter runs. High-quality, fine finishes are virtually indistinguishable from natural materials. Digital inkjet printheads can work on textured surfaces because no physical contact with the tile is necessary, and the printheads can decorate right to the edge of a tile.