The flooring industry continues to rely on accessory manufacturers to make mouldings, treads, risers and vent covers that keep pace with the innovations of mainly the multilayer flooring segment.
Until recently, primary profiles consisted of either wood veneer wrapped plastic composite materials or the more established vinyl image wrapped plastic. Now, direct digital print technology is part of the conversation. Never before has technology moved outside of flat print media applications. The key is being able to print on the curved pieces of stair nose, reducers, t-moulds and square nose.
Direct digital print utilizes high-definition scanning. When combined, it creates a near perfect replica of the floor’s look. This sophisticated method of printing is extremely flexible, environmentally friendly and produces the highest quality of print available.
However, colours can shift between light sources, which makes them appear different. This is called metamerism, a phenomenon that occurs when two colours appear to match under one lighting condition but not when the light changes. Metameric matches are quite common, especially in near neutral colours like grey and white, as well as darker ones. Under a soft warm light (2700K), the two substrates may appear to match but when transitioned to daylight (5000K), one substrate may have shifted to a greener undertone in comparison to the other. As a result, it’s recommended that warm lighting be used to view mouldings next to the floor.
To assure high-definition print, a four-colour mix of CMYK (cyan-magenta-yellow-black) inks is commonly utilized. CMYK is considered a ‘subtractive colour system’ that allows the various colours to be overlaid to produce all the colours of the rainbow. This is common in paint and colour printing. It is produced using 600 dots per inch (dpi), which increases the overall clarity of the print.
Like any new technology, products will only continue to improve. As more flooring manufacturers discover the accessory option, the bar for this level of quality will be raised. More products will have the direct digital print technology and consumers will come to expect it from flooring accessories manufacturers.
Bill Treiber is technical sales manager at Artistic Finishes, which creates custom floor mouldings and accessories like vents, treads and risers for flooring professionals. Its newest product offering, Enduracor Digital Print, uses high-definition scanning and digital print technology to blend mouldings to the colour range in the floor.