few years the technology
has been so refined as to
achieve looks and textures
never before thought of as
a possibility. This technology offers many benefits to both the production process and the end user.
This includes decreased time for product setup, not contacting the tile (which
results in less breakage), better repeatability from run to run, and increased
randomization make this new technology invaluable. From the customer’s
standpoint, these new images/patterns are now applied to the tile surface
in very high resolution. This high resolution non-contact type of printing also
allows complete coverage edge to edge, even on very rugged or textured tile
surfaces. Tile has been the most durable surfacing product available for centuries
and now with state of the art digital inkjet printing, the new design and aesthetic
offerings are more realistic and diversified in ways never imagined.
The second big innovation pushing the tile industry forward at a rapid
pace is large scale porcelain tiles. In the U.S. market these products are
still in their infancy, really making progress in the last 3-5 years. Measuring
as wide as 3-5 ft., lengths of 10+ ft., and as thin as 3 mm (1/8 inch) they
provide all of the physical properties of porcelain, but in formats that can
compete for the space formerly held by paneling, plastic wall protection,
solid surface type materials, and even wallpaper.
Innovative manufacturing techniques inject strength, despite the tile’s
thinner profile. By eliminating the mold during the pressing phase, they can
have very high bending strengths and retain very little of the internal stresses
common in traditional manufacturing techniques. The additional benefit of
pressing without a mold and in very large formats, is that it creates efficiencies
in the production process that make this technology very attractive to manu-
facturers. Some products—especially in the thinnest formats—additionally
incorporate a fiberglass mesh bonded to the back that can greatly increase
the impact resistance. More tile and fewer grout joints is allowing the design
professional to see tile in a whole new light.
Make sure you have clear answers on where these tiles can be used and
how they can be installed, i.e. floors or walls, and interior and exterior. Also,
hire an installer that has worked with the material and received some type of
training on the tools, techniques, and proper handling. The synergy between
these two technologies is bringing porcelain tile products to market that are
changing the face of what the world thinks of when you say the word “porcelain
tile.” As inkjet printing continues to innovate, and as the production process
produces increasingly larger formats and variable thicknesses (already 3 mm
- 30 mm or 1/8 in. to approx. 1 in.), what is yet to come is unknown, but from
our perspective it is very exciting.
The Technical Services Group at Crossville is a four person team responsible for
overseeing all technical literature—such as product brochures,
catalogues and installation guidelines—training, answering of
technical questions from the field, and claim resolution, just
to name a few roles. Noah Chitty serves as director and Tim
Bolby as executive director. You can reach them at their email
addresses below or at (931) 484-2110.
Noah Chitty: email@example.com
Tim Bolby: firstname.lastname@example.org
➤ continued from page 20
Moonstruck in 12in.
x 24in. tiles, 3/8in.
Calacatta Oro Venato.
ABOVE + RIGHT Laminam by Crossville Satori Brown, 1m. x 3m. , 5.6mm thick.