Ceramic Frit Flatbed Printing at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport

We use our Dip-Tech flatbed printer instead of traditional ceramic frit silkscreening when projects require extremely high definition and a wide variety of color as was the case with the renovation of Chicago O’Hare’s International Terminal designed by Epstein Architects, conceptual graphics developed by Thirst Communication and Westfield Group.

How do Flat Bed Ceramic Frit Printers like Dip-Tech Work?

Recent advancement in ceramic frit coatings include the use of  flat bed printers which allow us to print highly detailed, full color images on glass.  We use the Dip-Tech brand machine which prints an incredible 720 dpi resolution in full color images.  Unlike high resolution technographic interlayers which are printed on film and laminated between two pieces of glass, ceramic fritted images are not laminated, they’re baked in the tempering oven just like silkscreened ceramic frit described in our previous blog. 

The process uses six colors which are actually printed directly onto the glass.  This super fine powder has been ground down to one micron so that it can easily flow through an inkjet head without turning into a solid cakey mess.  How big is a micron? A micron, also called a micrometer, is one thousand times smaller than a millimeter. It is equal to 1/1,000,000th (or one millionth of meter). Things on this scale usually can’t be seen with your eyes so you can only imagine how fine this powdered glass must be.  When baked in the tempering oven, the frit hardens and becomes extremely durable and totally resistant to color fading.

In the case of such a sophisticated and precise piece of equipment,  it takes about an hour to print 40 square feet of glass which is important to keep in mind when printing large scale projects such as The Chicago T5 project pictured here.  You need to plan accordingly ifprinting a sizable job because your tight schedule won’t speed up a precision printer like this!

To see pictures and video of our Dip-Tech maching at work, please join us on Instagram,  Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter where we’ll continue to post pictures and build our our community of industry professionals.  If you’d like to work with a member of our team, please call us at 1-800-640-3709 or email us at goldray@goldrayglass.com and we’d be more than happy to help provide you with service and solutions.

Chicago’s International Terminal was designed by Epstein Global in conjunction with the conceptual designers at Thirst Design Communication, commissioned by The Westfield Group.  To learn about the evolution of this extraordinary graphic design, click here. Let’s follow each other on twitter:  @goldrayglass @EpsteinGlobal @3stdesign