AIJU researches customized and automated decoration for toys
AIJU researches the personalized and automated decoration of toys to enable the toys manufacturers the finishing process, in which many resources are applied.
- (1888PressRelease) February 08, 2011 - AIJU is researching the tools available for the customized decoration of toys, with the aim of thoroughly studying them and their applications, in order to optimize their usefulness in such a way that they could be used for the personalized decoration of toys, according to the final users' or consumers' requirements.
This research funded by IMPIVA and co-funded by FEDER funds, within its R&D programme (Expedient no. IMIDIC/2010/56), has arisen due to the concern shown by organisations in the sector, over new tendencies observed within their specific fields, that are characterized by an increasing demand for personalized products, in shorter delivery times, and small production runs.
In the project, the techniques currently used are being researched in-depth, and the techniques that stand out are those of Pad Printing (and its new system with sealed ink cups and microprocessor controllers), Serigraphic Printing (that requires the development of the UV curing of inks on difficult substrates such as polyolefins, acetals and other thermoplastic resins), and Offset Printing (which permits double face printing). All of them allow the use of multiple colours, to obtain improved productivity, a better register and further versatility. Other novelties use laser marking with this aim, although they still have some restrictions to obtain colour and shine adjustments, therefore they are used in non-aesthetic applications, and they also have a high cost due to the elevated price of the raw material.
In order to select specific cases, AIJU undertook a questionnaire with the companies of the sector which fitted the predetermined profile. Then, from this questionnaire, a couple of examples were selected to determine the technologies and most suitable equipment for personalized decoration.
The study of the tools available has been extended, and the painting and transfer sheets for each technology are being evaluated at the moment, with the aim of establishing the applicable techniques from a global and integrated conception.
Miguel Angel Leon, the technician in charge of the project says that, "this project offers a great challenge, but is being undertaken with the conviction that the toy industry is going to be able to adapt systems to the desired aim, being conscious of its advantages and inconveniences, scopes and limitations, in a way that they will be able to apply the best option for each specific case."
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 75 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 materials both, for traditional technologies 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 the coordinator of the working group, "Rapid Prototyping Proposal SP3 (materials) Lab," and 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: www.aiju.info.