Ever Wonder Which Glass Imaging Technology to Use?

Let's Break It Down:

Although digital and print technology has expanded small scale printing capabilities, there are still relatively few options for high quality, long lasting imagery in the architectural realm, in particular, for exterior and facades. We have partnered with Pulp Studio in Los Angeles, a specialty glass studio specializing in all kinds of graphic imaging in large format glass. Before committing to a specific technology, understand the following options, each with specific advantages and limitations.

Table of Contents

  1. SentryGlas Expressions 
  2. Pulp Glass Imaging
  3. Flat Bed Digital Printing
  4. Ceramic Frit 

4-Color, Exterior Grade Photographic Imagery:
SentryGlas Expressions

Also referred to as SGX, this patented Dupont technology is produced under license to Pulp Studio Inc. This highly advanced printing technology reproduces graphic images, printing them directly onto a proprietary Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) substrate with exclusively developed inks. One of the major benefits of this system is its ability to remain sustainable in direct sunlight and eliminate the concerns of short-term fading. Although it can be used for both for interior and exterior installations, its exterior capability far surpasses other technologies previously available. Two other attributes of the SGX system is the ability to print in white and maximum printable dimensions available up to an impressive 96" x 180".



True Photographic Imagery:
Pulp Glass Imaging

Also referred to as PGI, this technology utilizes a true photographic process to print on a proprietary film layer that is laminated within glass. While this process is only recommended for interior projects, it produces vibrant photographic imagery that is most appropriate when the graphic design demands the highly possible print quality.



Flatbed Digital Printing:

Generally utilizes UV cured inks and should not be mistaken for inks that are resistant to exposure for long periods to Ultraviolet Rays, (such as exterior installations on architectural projects). These systems generally print directly onto glass and are a good option for short-term applications, such as interior signage or tabletops. They generally do not perform well when laminated between glass due to their limited adhesion nor as an ink system where longevity is required.


Ceramic Frit:

Ceramic products utilize screen- printing that makes the process of multiple colors and non-repeating designs a very expensive technology for multiple color imaging. It is best used on projects that are one or two color designs with repeating images. Ceramics can be very cost effective for larger projects, but tend to be rather costly for smaller jobs, or projects that include multiple color imaging. Ceramic colors are also limited to very specific shades and do not offer the range of colors that can be generated through digital imaging.


To learn more about SGX and PGI Imaging, contact me at (206) 972-5456 and schedule an appointment. My presentation offers a more in- depth comparison between available print technologies as illustrated by great samples and some of our most impressive recent projects. We'll also discuss formatting and artwork requirements and introduce our full service art studio which is capable of managing the most monstrous files and complicated layouts. 

You may also email me at karen.rains@design9group.com

Here is a small sampling of some of the questions I can answer during the presentation:

  • Which of the different technologies is best suited for my application?
  • Are the images always transparent when they are printed?
  • Will the hue in clear glass affect the colors in the image?
  • How can I improve the color density  and viewing of the image in the glass?
  • What are some examples of how images in specific applications are affected by light transmission?
  • How does frameless structural glazing in curtain walls affect the use of SentryGlas® ExpressionsTM?
  • Can SGX and PGI be made with tempered glass?
  • Can I use spider arms and point fittings with both processes?

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