Beaverton, MI – In 2020, following extensive research, Kember Kreative Interiors of Mono, Ontario, ordered an EFI Cubik 700, a digital printer that can stain floorboards in-line. That printer is now located in the firm’s Kember Flooring operation in Beaverton, MI.
Peter Kember, owner and managing director of Kember Interiors, says his team spent more than two years researching the technology, including a visit to LIGNA in Hannover, Germany in 2019, where the Cubik was first introduced.
EFI, a Fremont, CA-based manufacturer of printers and related computer controllers (known as digital front ends) had recently developed water-based Mineral Inks, which like conventional stains allow the underlying wood surface to show through the colorant. Kember’s Cubik 700 uses an array of eight inkjet printing heads to print Mineral Inks at a rate of 196.58 feet per minute, on boards measuring up to 27.56 x 55.19 inches, and up to 30 mm thick.
“We selected the EFI Cubik mainly for its color management solution, which is built into the hardware,” Kember told IWF Network News last year. A Metis scanner is integrated into the process. To maintain consistency of color output, each incoming unfinished board is scanned in-line, on the fly. The Cubik then automatically adjusts the color printing density based on the reading, adding or reducing the inkjet colorant output to maintain uniformity of finished product. This eliminates hand sorting of unstained boards by color.
“The idea is to use the Cubik printer to replace our existing analog staining method,” says Kember. “One of the challenges we face today is to achieving a consistent color at the end of our production lines when using varying batches of substrates. Currently, we need to adjust stain formulas to compensate for the differences, which can take hours to perfect. The Cubik will enable us to classify each flooring plank – inline – and select the formula to achieve the desired end color.”
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