Digital technology has completely revolutionized the way we live, work, play and conduct our trade. It has also changed the way we see design and bring it to life. Its advent into the world of tile making has been nothing short of revolutionary. Tile manufacturing as we know it has changed forever with advent of digital technology.
The interest in digital wall tiles India has slowly, but steadily picked up. As we discover the amazing possibilities of this technology in tile manufacturing, we are realizing that it could truly be a game-changer, one that could revolutionise the industry and the way we see tiles in interior decor forever. This change is not related to just economics. Digital tiles have exposed a whole new world of aesthetic possibilities.
Why are digital tiles different?
Unlike other classifications in tile making, digital tiles are not named after the material. In fact, digital tiles could encompass almost any material that can be printed. The name here refers to the technology used in its manufacturing. Digital tiles simply use inkjet digital printing to put any design or pattern on tiles in the manufacturing process.
Initially, digital tiles were seen as a natural progression in the manufacturing world. It marked the eventual entry of digital technology that had swept almost every other field. The biggest advantage (and sometimes the only advantage) was the economy it offered. It was only later that we realized the world of possibilities that this simple modification would bring to tile making. It would eventually effect the business and art of interior decoration and real estate.
With digital printing we can completely transform the base tile into whatever we want. This was a fairly revolutionary concept because the base material was one of the unchangeable facts. We have always previously focused on improving the quality of forging the tile or finding a better grade of base material. But the idea that we could mould almost anything to resemble what we wanted was indeed a revolutionary idea.
This has some interesting implications. For instance, we can now bring the aesthetics of an expensive material to a relatively inexpensive medium. For instance, the much cheaper ceramic can now be manufactured to closely resemble a natural stone like marble. So authentic is this transformation that you can only detect ceramic the tile by touch. You get the luxurious appeal of marble at less cost.
In fact, the transformation is not just limited to tile material. There are manufacturers and designers who have come up with tiles that replicate the perfectly rounded pebbles at the bottom on a river! These rounded tiles were used to line a small pond at the backyard to show a ‘natural’ pond bottom. Clearly, there is a mind-boggling range of alternatives that we can explore!
The 3D Tile
One of the remarkable advantages of digital printing for designers was its ability to performing 3D printing. Although tiles were earlier carved for the same reason, the effect was somewhat subtle and not very visible. But digital 3D raises the tile surface by almost half an inch! Not only can we replicate the texture, we can even create truly dramatic pieces of art.
The 3D effect is visible enough to be noticeable instantly. Not just that, art installations have used this to play with light, creating a dramatic 3D tile art that changes with each hour of the day! The replication advantage of 3D printing is already explained. In the above example of pebble-effect tile, it wasn’t just the colour and look, 3D printing also allowed us to replicate the texture of the pebbles!
Manufacturers are now also coming up with large tiles, as big as 3-by-10 foot size. This has reduced the need for the less attractive sites of grout lines marring an interesting pattern. Now we can simply print the pattern on larger tiles without any distracting lines to mar the pattern. In effect, it means that a large piece of art can literally be printed as it is on a tile!
The introduction of digital technology in tile manufacturing has resulted in some interesting developments. Today we can literally manufacture any design, texture or artwork that we can want. In effect, we can create the interior of a tunnel in pour swimming pool or mount 3d tiles that closely resemble a sculpted work. The simple tile is suddenly, full of possibilities!