"Water Printing" Application for the Decoration of Toys

Ibi, Espana (PressExposure) January 17, 2012 -- This technique will allow the decoration of a large amount of products with different geometric shapes in an efficient and versatile way. Moreover, after several baths, a 360º surface covering of the piece to be decorated can be achieved, with a good finish and that includes any small grooves the product could have. Besides, the decoration is homogeneous throughout the entire surface.

AIJU has developed this research Project on personalized techniques for the decoration of toys, in which several technologies of the state-of-the-art have been assessed. Throughout its development, the applicability of Water Printing Technology in the decoration of scale cars has been observed, with several colors and designs, although other products could also be considered within this and/or other future activities.

"Water printing" is a decoration process for 3D pieces and can be used on diversified substrates i.e. metal, plastic, glass and hard wood. The process consists of printing the image to be used to decorate the piece on a water soluble Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) film. This film is placed in an immersion tank, filled with water, in such a way that the PVA film makes direct contact with water and is dissolved while the ink stays floating on the water.

Next, the ink is sprayed with a chemical activator and the sample is introduced into the water, so that the ink covers the sample and adheres to the surface. Finally, once the surfaces of the decorated piece are clean and dry, a transparent coating is applied to increase the durability of the piece and its resistance to weathering.

Miguel A. León, the project technician within AIJU states that "of all the technologies thoroughly researched for the decoration of 3D toy pieces, this is one of the most optimistic for the homogeneous decoration of geometrically complex pieces. We think that it will notably make easy the 3D decoration of a series of pieces with these characteristics and reduce the associated costs."

These conclusions have been obtained during the development of the project titled: "Personalized Decoration of Toys - DECORATOY" (Expedient: IMDEEA/2011/23), funded by IMPIVA within the R&D program and co-funded by FEDER funds. It arose due to the concern within the sector of the current industry tendencies, characterized by an increasing demand for personalized products, with short delivery times and short production runs.

About AIJU

The Toy Research Institute (AIJU) is a non-profit making organisation, located in Ibi, the Spanish geographic centre for the manufacture of toys. It was founded in 1985 with the collaboration of the Spanish Toy Manufacturers Association (AEFJ) and the Regional Government (IMPIVA).
Its aim is both, to transfer and allow toy manufacturers access to the knowledge of new technologies in order to improve their competitivity, while offering technological and financial assessment, and supporting the professional development of people involved in the sector. For this purpose, it has a staff of 80 professionals who develop their work in the different departments that make up AIJU. Besides, this organization is provided with the required infrastructure to manage the different activities it undertakes.
The department intended to carry out these tasks is that of Product Development - Laboratory Department, specifically the Processing and Materials area. This area has several research lines for the development of new processes, among them the development of new decorative processes within the sector as well as pre-treatments for their optimisation. Additionally, this area is devoted to new materials development for both, traditional and rapid manufacturing technologies. The area carrying out this project has been working closely with the Rapid Manufacturing area for 10 years now with the objective of reaching final material sets.
AIJU is an active member of the Rapid Manufacturing European Platform and the Spanish mirror led by ASERM, the Spanish Rapid Manufacturing Association. It is also a member of EuMAT and Manufuture. AIJU is also a member of the "Materials" group promoted by REDIT, the RDT Centres of IMPIVA's Network.
In the field of standardisation, the entity is working on the potential feasibility of proposed legislation as well as new safety criteria for toys, with participation in several proficiency testing schemes both, on a National and European Level. Thus, it is participating in the development of new standards for toys in the European Committee of Normalization (CEN).
Find further information at: http://www.aiju.info.

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Press Release Submitted On: January 17, 2012 at 5:27 am
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