Ink jet make-up applicator

WO 2015/097618 A2
Transfer makeup process and related device
L’Oreal

This patent application describes a process that L’Oreal have used to demonstrate transfer printing of makeup onto a human body. If a transfer process is used for makeup then it is desirable that the materials are still moist at the time of transfer and shortly after, so that the transfer process is successful and that any retouching or blending can take place after transfer.

Jul-15aA Canon Pixma IP100 printer was modified so that instead of feeding paper the mechanism would rotate a transfer roller. Inks were prepared according to the table below.

The transfer roller had a diameter 60 mm and length of 80 mm with a blanket surface 2 mm thick, made from a silicone gel elastomer.

Jul-15bAfter printing the transfer roller 1 is rolled along the appropriate body part transferring the makeup or image. A variety of different profile rollers are proposed, flat for backs and other body areas, and concave for arms and legs. For smaller parts of the body such as lips and eyelids then pads using the transfer material would be used.

Mirror image surfaces for décor applications

EP 2 871 062 A1
Production method of recording material, and recording material
Seiko Epson Corporation

This extensive patent (84 pages) is, like the following one, concerned with the production of a glossy or mirror-finished surface, however in this context it is applied to the production of hard surfaced décor panels and similar articles. The method can be used as an alternative to metallic plating or foil stamping and is beneficial in that it can be applied to a curved surface, and also that patterning and gradation in the metal tone can be achieved.

May-15In essence, two UV curable layers are sequentially printed on the substrate surface. The first layer is cured prior to printing the second layer so that it creates a regular dimpled texture with a surface roughness of 3 to100 μm; the metal-powder-containing upper layer has a planarising effect. Thus the time elapsing between the landing of any drop and curing is critical. In the case of the first layer (2), it is cured within a second of printing while a longer time (5-60 seconds) can elapse between deposition and cure of the top layer (3). The elapsed time can have significant influence on the appearance of the printed material.

While the substrate 1 can be more or less anything and may be absorbing or non-absorbing, a non-absorbing polyester-based substrate for which the contact angle of the ink droplets is at least 10 degrees is preferred and plastics such as PET are particularly suitable.

The first layer is formed from an ink comprising 50-88% of at least one monomer with an alicyclic structure, as this gives good adhesion to the polymer substrate. If at least some (15-75%) of this content is a monofunctional monomer with a heteroatom in the alicyclic structure, such as tris (2-(meth)acryloxyethyl) isocyanurate, then curing shrinkage can be minimised and furthermore, the long term jetting stability is good. The remainder of the monomer content need not have an alicyclic structure and can enhance some aspects of the film, for example inclusion of 2-(vinyloxyethoxy) ethyl acrylic acid improves the cure speed while inclusion of phenoxyethyl acrylate gives rise to a relatively flexible film. Inclusion of a colourant or metal powder in this layer can influence the colour tone or the opacity of the finished article.

The second, and metallic ink, will be deposited at a volume of 80 to 200% of the deposition volume of the first ink, in order to ensure full coverage and a glossy mirror finish. The greater print to cure interval also enables a smooth surface. More or less any metal powder (31) can be dispersed in this ink at a content up to 10% w/w. Ideally, the powder is formed by CVD and subsequently pulverised to give a flake structure which may additionally take the form of curved flakes for additional effects. The thickness of the flakes is preferably in the 20 to 80 nm range while the diameter is between 500 nm to 3 μm. Treatment of the flakes with a fluorinated compound, such as a silane, disperses the particles in the ink and enhances its storage stability, as well as improving the abrasion resistance and gloss of the printed film. In common with the first ink, the bulk of this ink is also made up of alicyclic monomers which will result in good inter-film adhesion, while the inclusion of minor quantities of other monomers will improve dispersion stability of the metal flakes, enhance cure rate and endow the final article with specific properties such as hardness and flexibility.

Increase in bonding strength of décor ink using primer

WO 2014/084787 A1
Method of producing a building panel using digital printing
Ceraloc Innovation AB

In recent times, there has been a move towards digital decoration of architectural parts and panels. Radiation cure inks lend themselves well to this sort of application as they can be cocured with other primer and protective layers. Conversely, aqueous inks give problems in terms of inter-layer adhesion and image quality. However, environmental considerations make the use of aqueous inks an attractive proposition.

The application addressed in this instance is that of Luxury Vinyl Tiles and Planks (LVT) in which a thermoplastic décor layer, often PVC-based, is laminated to a core which may be a thermoplastic or a wood based material. A pattern such as a wood or natural stone effect is printed on the carrier, conventionally by rotogravure or direct printing, and a further protective coating bonded to it by a heating process to finish the décor film. At the lamination stage a texture such as a wood grain can be embossed. Neither of these printing methods lends itself well to alterations in the design, nor is a certain amount of repetition of the pattern avoidable.

The problems of print quality and bonding strength are addressed by applying and drying a primer to the thermoplastic foil, prior to printing with aqueous pigment-based inks. The primer principally consists of a concentrated metal salt solution, generally with the addition of a surfactant as a wetting agent. The deposited salt crystals act to fix the ink in place by causing agglomeration of the pigment in the ink dispersion on contact with the surface so that the ink is unable to spread unduly. The salt solution must have a concentration that is at least 50, and preferably 90% of the saturation concentration; and to obtain uniform wetting of the surface, it should have a contact angle with the carrier that is ideally less than 35 degrees. Addition of a wetting agent will ensure that this is the case. The salt can alternatively be applied as a dry powder, but if so, the crystals must be distributed homogeneously over the surface and adhere to it. To achieve this, the carrier surface can be electrically charged such that it attracts the salt powder, or the surface can be plasticised or porous so that the salt particles adhere to, or are absorbed by it.

May-14aA structure for a LVT to which a décor film has been laminated is illustrated. The carrier (3) is shown laminated to the core, which in this case is formed with shaped ends to allow an interlocking structure to be constructed. The image or pattern (10) is printed on the core and coated with a protective coating to which, in this case, an additional coating (5) is applied. This may be a UV cured material.

May-14b

Digital binder printing for décor applications

US 2014/0028772 A1 Digital binder printing
WO 2014/017972 A1 Digital binder printing
Floor Iptech AB

These patent applications describe a method of printing decorative boards and in particular flooring. The inventor is also CEO of Välinge, a leading R&D company in the flooring industry, and both companies are based in Viken, Sweden.

There have been several proposals to print onto laminated board or flooring using ink jet. Traditional printing is only cost efficient in very long runs. However the cost of ink jet printing laminate flooring is around €1/m2 assuming the cost of the ink jet ink used is €100/litre. This is 10 times the cost of ink for conventional printing. In addition ink jet inks are limited by viscosity and therefore the solids contents that can be used.

Jan-14

The solution is to use ink jet heads to form a wet image on the substrate, then apply a powder of resin and pigment, and vacuum off excess powder from the non-image areas. The ink jet head 32 jets a liquid on to the substrate 2 to form the desired image 11 of the rst colour. The liquid can be just water, as long as it remains wet enough for the next step. The substrate typically has a top coating of a thermosetting resin, preferably a melamine formaldehyde.

Next the powder is applied by scattering unit 27, consisting of an embossed drum and an oscillating brush. The powder is a mix of the first colour pigment and melamine formaldehyde. Where the image is wet the binder melts. This ‘image’ is then cured and dried by UV lamp 23. The powder in the non-image areas that was just scattered on the substrate surface is then removed by the vacuum unit 28. The powder that is removed is returned to the feed hopper for the scattering unit.

Other colours can be printed in exactly the same way until the image is complete. The board is then subjected to 40 bar pressure and 160C to cure and form a hard wear-resistant surface.

The cost of the powder reduces the cost of printing to around €0.2 m2, one fifth that of direct printing with ink jet.

Decorating glass with functional coating of metal

US 2013/0323477 A1
Method for manufacturing a decorated glass sheet
AGC Glass Europe 

This patent presents a process for producing decorated glass with a functional coating of a metal or metal oxide to give properties such as low-emissivity, solar protection (reduction of heat exchange) or electric conductivity or physical protection and enhanced toughness.  The process may be applied to the production of a number of articles such as shelves, kitchen appliance doors and refrigerated counters, table tops, partitions, lighting, shop windows and automotive glass.  Dimensioning of the glass is not necessary at the outset of the process, so several parts can be produced simultaneously: the glass can thus be cut to size at the end of the process.  Both PLF (full width: 6000 mm x 3210 mm) and DLF (half width: 3210 mm x 2250/2200 mm) sheet may be processed.  The glass is first decorated by a printing process such as ink jet printing and after drying, is coated by a magnetron cathodic sputtering process to give the desired functionality.

The enamel-based decorative inks consist of vitreous substances such as silica, feldspar, kaolin and metal oxides.  Such inks are available from Dip-Tech Digital Printing Technologies Ltd.  The drying process after printing must remove the vast majority of the ink solvent so that outgassing does not occur during the subsequent vapour deposition coating process.  Inks mainly have a boiling point below 300C, and drying time is related to the thickness of the glass (40 to 90 seconds per mm thickness of glass).  A drying time of 320 seconds at 150C is typically adequate.

The functional coating is subsequently applied by a magnetron cathodic sputtering process.  This is a form of ionised vapour deposition in which films are deposited from atoms and ions in precise ratios.  Specific ionic compositions will thus determine the functionality of the coating.  An example coating is a low-emissivity, solar shield, which may also be electrically conductive and can be based on one or more doped oxides such as tin-doped indium oxide or aluminium or gallium-doped zinc oxide.  Low emissivity or solar shield coatings may also be based on a silver layer with a dielectric layer on either side of it.  Following deposition of the functional coating, the coated glass is fired at 670 to 700C in a sintering or fritting process, during which toughening of the glass may occur and the glass may be bent in order to shape it.

While the image is designed to be viewed through the glass with the functional coating behind it, in some instances it is helpful to deposit a base or barrier layer (up to 30 nm thickness) of silicon oxide for example, prior to printing the decorative image.  This will enhance adhesion of the image and will also prevent migration of silver through the enamel-based decoration.  Alternatively, the ink formulation itself may contain elements that prevent such diffusion of silver.