SA International (SAi), the leading provider of solutions for the professional signmaking, wide-format digital printing and CAD/CAM for CNC machining industries, has developed a version of its acclaimed PixelBlaster print-to-finish production software for Dip-Tech Digital Printing Technologies for use with its in-glass printers.
Covering pre-flight to production, the PDF-based PixelBlaster is a genuine end-to-end system covering pre-flight to production and is designed to reduce bottlenecks, streamline workflows and increase profitability for users. The SAi PixelBlaster Dip-Tech Edition was developed in conjunction with Dip-Tech to address the unique characteristic and challenges of the glass printers. The special edition, bundled with Dip-Tech AR-series in-glass printers, includes a PixelBlaster RIP, color management and full colour workflow support.
A new world of color
Dip-Tech AR-series printers bring the benefits of digital printing technology to the architectural glass market. SAi and Dip-Tech have worked together since 2006 but initially the printers used only black and one or two spot colors. This latest series of printers offers six-color plus spot color printing, and because of that require a more sophisticated solution.
“Although our printers look and operate like wide-format inkjet printers, there are a number of major differences,” explained Aliza Edry, Director of Application, Dip-Tech Digital Printing Technologies. “Consequently, we needed a solution that could combine a RIP, color management and flexible workflow that could accommodate those differences.”
One of the most significant differences is that Dip-Tech’s technology doesn’t use the CMYK colour set familiar to the graphic arts community. Instead, it uses orange, red, blue, green, black and white, as well as any required special spot color. As a result, there are special challenges in translating the designer or architect’s RGB or CMYK files to the necessary colors.
“Dip-Tech AR in-glass printers use opaque ceramic inks,” continued Aliza Edry. “Printing on transparent glass and applying colors with varying levels of opacity required a special level of control. Having worked for seven years with SAi, we were confident that they would be able to develop a solution for us.”
When bundled with the Dip-Tech AR printers, the solution is called the Dip-Tech Xpert Pack XL (or, DXP XL).
In addition to handling the non-standard color set, SAi PixelBlaster Dip-Tech Edition carries out the more standard jobs of SAi PixelBlaster software including tiling, step-and-repeat, and colour library functions.
The applications for color-printed architectural glass using Dip-Tech’s in-glass technology range from elaborate building skins to automotive and household applications. These can include glass partitions, kitchen decorations and shower stalls.
“With an explosion of applications, it is important for us as a supplier to deliver a complete in-glass printing solution that is simple to use, enables an efficient workflow and delivers the required result. SAi’s special PixelBlaster RIP and workflow software makes those goals achievable,” Aliza Edry continued.
Speaking for SAi, Eyal Friedman, Vice President, Technical Services, said: “One of the special challenges for SAi was to develop a way of controlling the application of white ink in the way Dip-Tech needed it. White is important when it is used as the base colour onto which other colors are applied. It is a means of controlling opacity, but at the same time, designers need to be able to use a reliable white in their designs. The SAi PixelBlaster software enables different levels of white to be applied so that this control exists.
“It’s been an exciting and challenging project for us, but our long relationship with Dip-Tech meant that we began with a good understanding of their objectives. By basing the solution on our award-winning* PixelBlaster platform, we were able to address Dip-Tech’s unique requirements demanded by in-glass printing,” Eyal Friedman concluded.
SAi PixelBlaster Dip-Tech Edition (DXP XL) is now available and will be supplied with Dip-Tech AR-series printers worldwide.