Digitally printed glass is making the look of stained and etched glass affordable and achievable for modern buildings. More people are learning about digital printing capabilities on non-absorbent, rigid surfaces and this interest is driving the popularity of digital printing on glass. Architects and building designers will now have the freedom to develop truly creative and distinctive buildings with this new technology.
Advantages of Digitally Printed Glass
While the technology has been available for two decades, it is now gaining traction. Until now, the only way to get colored glass in patterns was to create the pattern by using pieces of colored glass and arranging them in the desired pattern – what we know as stained glass. Obviously, creating a stained glass piece is very time consuming and expensive. Digital printing has serious advantages over stained or etched glass.
- Achieve any design replication
- Precisely flexible transparency and opacity ratios
- Lower cost than traditional glass design methods
- Digitally printed glass can affect the SHGC (solar heat gain coefficient) of the building
- Much lower cost to repair
Digital Designs on Glass Are Limitless
The sky is the limit on the capability of digitally printed designs on glass. Basically, anything that can be imagined can be digitally printed. Designers can achieve results that are equally as stunning as stained glass works of art. Besides beauty, there are other factors to consider. Does your use of glass coincide with a hot or cold natural environment? Which orientation will the glass be fronting? Depending on the opacity and pattern of the digital print, the printed glass can shield the structure from UV radiation, thus keeping the room cooler.
Digitally Printed Glass Makes the Design Extremely Durable
Digitally printing glass is much cheaper than using traditional stained glass methods and the finished product is extremely durable. The chosen design is digitally printed very precisely using an innovative ceramic ink. The ink is heat cured into the glass. Once the glass is thermally cured, the design is permanent. It will not fade or peel. Here are some qualities you can expect from designs that are digitally printed on glass.
- Weather durability
- Scratch resistance
- UV resistance
Digitally Printed Designs Can Set a Mood
When designing, architects consider the internal environment the occupants of a building will need. Use of digitally printed glass can create moods that vary depending on the intended use of the building. A medical facility might want digitally printed glass of aquarium fish and calming nature scenes to reassure waiting patients. An automotive body shop could opt for glass digitally printed to an opacity that discourages internal heat gain but also allows inventory such as tires and rims to be visible from outside the shop. Now that digitally printed glass is available, look to see it popping up in all kinds of places.