The inkjet revolution has helped redefine another industry thanks to innovative thinking by North American Plywood.

With facilities located in California and New Jersey, North American Plywood Corporation (NAPC) has launched DesignPly, a first of its kind digital staining technology using the Onset inkjet press and robotic materials handling. First reported by Woodworking Network (January 10, 2017), NAPC has adapted an Inca Onset high-definition inkjet press directly into its panel processing system.

Employing instanteneous Fujifilm UV curing, the DesignPly system can replicate a variety of wood grain and other patterns to achieve the effect of top-grain veneer, beaded board, or laminated lumber surfaces on a variety of substrates including particleboard, MDF, metal and melamine panel. The system accepts panel sizes up to 63″ x 123″ and thicknesses up to 2 inches and features a five-foot-wide UV roll coating line, the largest line in North America. NAPC can incorporate into projects all the other capabilities it offers in panel processing, including in-house custom cutting, routing, finishing, and laminating. Sheets can be printed 5 x 10′ or two-up 5 x 5′.

“When we built the line we left a space for digital printing. We had 90 percent of the equation in preparing panels when we roll-coat white opaque fillers. With the DesignPly system we now have the final 10% of the equation for printing patterns directly on plywood.” — Donald Kuser, General Manager, North American Plywood.

NAPC development success lies in high-resolution scanning of desired wood patterns, optimizing those patterns through color adjustment, and then stitching the patterns together at a computer console to achieve aesthetically pleasing repeat wood grain patterns. The tech knowledge developed for DesignPly is already laying the groundwork for additional product extensions, including children’s furniture and ready-to-assemble furniture.

“As we introduce more robust media handling and high-speed inkjet options, we also open the door to advancements in ink technology which, in the case of NAPC, deliver industrial applications that even give Mother Nature a run for her money.” — Becky McConnell, Product Marketing Manager, Fujifilm

North American Plywood Corporation is a specialty plywood importer/exporter founded in 1948. They offer products that are of the highest quality and manufactured by the world’s best plywood factories domestically or from Russia, Finland and Latvia.