Of all the innovative products unveiled at Surfaces, arguably none was more groundbreaking than digital printing direct onto an SPC rigid core. Unlike other resilient products that feature a design film, products that offer visuals directly printed onto its core have numerous advantages over traditional constructions. RI Digital from Raskin Industries was the first to bring this type of product to market with many certain to follow. What’s more, RI Digital is digitally printed using three-dimensional technology which creates realistic texture on each plank. Here are just five advantages retailers and RSAs can tout to their customers:
- Design clarity. The visuals for RI Digital have dpi twice that of traditional LVT, raising the bar from 300 to 720 dpi. What does that mean? A much more refined visual. Think high fidelity print. Compare that with most SPCs on the market, which employs a laminating process directly onto the core, resulting in the pattern getting distorted and less clear, even compared to traditional LVT. Conversely, the marble and wood patterns within RI Digital are more realistic than any other rigid core on the market today.
- Design flexibility. When a company launches a line, you never know what will and will not take off. If we are seeing a pattern that is hot and need to generate more colors, it can happen quickly with digital printing. On the other hand, if a color is not selling, it can be quickly changed to something doing well in another line. Simply stated, digital lends itself to agility. We can easily launch one collection per season rather that unveil everything in January. We can come out with a new color line in conjunction with Fashion Week. And last but not least, a whole new world of customization is opened up. We can bring our distributors to our Florida headquarters and have them pick colors for their respective markets. If we had to do that with embossing rollers it would be cost prohibitive. It just wouldn’t happen.
- Texture. When we print, we’re using a revolutionary technology using 3D digital texture that follows the graining in the pattern far more accurately than traditional mechanical embossing. When someone feels the product there is nothing to compare against. You’re also getting less repetition. Digital technology offers a world of possibility because you are not relying an embossing roller, where you are limited to that exact design. Here, we are printing direct on the core instead of using printing rollers. With digital there is no repeat so you are getting that feel of registered embossed without that mechanical feel. As an example, RI Digital offers a Moroccan painted design where the blue and black paint is raised when you touch it, like it was hand painted.
- Speed to market. The development time for printed vinyl film takes up to six months because you have to make cylinders for the film before you can make the product. With digital there are no cylinders; you are actually printing directly on the core. So the development takes about a third of the time depending on the product; some designs can take as little as 30 days. For example, Raskin was able to show RI Digital designs at Surfaces it was still working on—chevron patterns in natural colors. Those samples were created within 30 days of the show.
- Environmental. There is no decorative paper or color film in the manufacture of this product. Decorative paper or color film contains a large amount of organic solvent volatiles. This organic solvent has been defined as highly polluting substances. Instead, this type of product uses water-based inks which contains no organic solid volatiles. The inks do not contain VOCs, formaldehyde, soluable heavy metals or harmful chemicals, making the product both Greenguard and FloorScore certified.