This invention relates to decal application apparatus according
to the preamble of claim 1.
This invention also relates to a method of decoration according
to the preamble of claim 15.
One such apparatus and method is disclosed in patent document GB
2 193 927 A.
By virtue of their nature, the size of ceramic articles cannot usually
be wholly accurately reproduced. Differences in size can occur during firing and/or
as a result of wear to a mould or other conditions such as variations in the clay
used. Furthermore, ceramic articles do not usually conform to exact shapes. For
example, whilst the outline of a plate may appear circular, usually the plate
is not wholly circular.
Accordingly, difficulties are often encountered when applying an
"edge to edge" decoration to a ceramic article which covers the whole of an area
on the article between opposite edges. In view of the differences in size and
shape which are likely to be encountered in different articles, conventionally
water slide transfers are used which are slightly undersized. These transfers
can then be stretched to fully cover the area to be decorated. The application
of such transfers is a difficult task and therefore a skilled lithographer is
required. Applying such a transfer is relatively time consuming as for example
all air must be removed from between the transfer and the article being decorated.
Fairly high levels of wastage generally occur in such a process.
Items which require edge to edge decoration traditionally include
wall plaques. Furthermore, such decoration may be required on other items of flatware
such as plates and may also be desirable on items of holloware such as mugs.
Edge to edge decoration is often required on articles with a decorated
edge, such as a gold or silver band applied around the rim of a plate. If water
slide decals are not to be used, decals such as those of the heat release type
are required to be initially applied and fired onto the article prior to application
of the banding and hence further firing. It would be advantageous if a decal could
be applied other than by hand onto an already banded article, such that only one
firing would generally be required.
According to the present invention there is provided decal application
apparatus, the apparatus comprising means for removing from an article which has
had a decal applied to it which extends beyond the edge of the article, said part
of the decal which extends therebeyond.
The apparatus includes a blade for removing said part of the decal.
Means are provided to permit relative rotation between the blade and the article
and for urging the blade against the article during rotation. A rotatable mounting
is preferably provided upon which the article is located.
The blade is preferably provided on a sprung mounting to permit removal
of said part of the decal from a non-circular article.
The inclination of the blade relative to the mounting is preferably
variable, and may be varied during cutting of said part. The apparatus may be
arranged such that the inclination of the blade moves between two predetermined
orientations during use of the apparatus. Said predetermined orientations are
The apparatus preferably comprises means for urging said part of
the decal to a generally horizontal alignment to ease cutting thereof. The urging
means may comprise a brush engageable with said part of the decal.
Means are preferably provided for receiving said part of the decal
following removal from the article, and the receiving means may comprise a suction
The apparatus is preferably automatically operable to receive a decorated
article, remove said part of the decal, and subsequently pass said article on to
permit another article to be received.
The apparatus is preferably locatable downstream of a heat release
decal application machine so as to receive decorated articles from said machine.
The apparatus may also comprise means for locating a decal on an
article such that a part of the decal extends beyond an edge of the article.
According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided
a method of decorating an area on an article with a decal according to claim 15.
The area preferably extends from one edge of the article to another
The decal preferably comprises a heat release decal which is applied
from a release member of a decal applying apparatus.
Only the part of the decal which covers said area is preferably applied
from the release member to the article, with the remainder of the decal remaining
on the release member. Said remainder of the decal is preferably subsequently
removed from the release member, desirably by application on to a waste receiving
member which could comprise a sheet of paper.
Alternatively, the whole of the decal can be applied from the release
member such that the decal extends beyond the area. An excess receiving member
may be provided around the area to receive the excess decal. The excess receiving
member may comprise for example paper and a former may be provided to support the
excess receiving member.
The article may be a ceramic article and the method may comprise
subsequently firing the article.
Embodiments of the present invention will now be described by way
of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-
- Fig. 1 is a diagrammatic side view of apparatus according to the present invention;
- Fig. 2 is a plan view of the apparatus of Fig. 1.
Conventionally, heat release decals are held prior to application
on a heated plate by vacuum, with the heated plate melting the heat sensitive adhesive.
The decals are picked up from the plate by a tacky flexible silicone pad. The
decals are subsequently applied to articles to be decorated. The decals are applied
from the centre of the pad outwards thereby preventing any air from being trapped
between the decal and the article. Upon contact with the cold articles the heat
sensitive adhesive solidifies bonding the decal thereto. The decals are subsequently
fired on to the articles.
In a first embodiment of said further aspect of the invention, a
wall plaque is provided with edge to edge decoration by a heat release decal. The
decal is made so as to be larger than the face of the plaque so that it can overlap
therearound. No cover coat is provided on the decal. The decal is applied to the
face of the plaque from a flexible pad in the usual manner. Only the part of the
decal which contacts the plaque is taken up thereby from the pad. The edge of the
decal which does not contact the plaque remains on the pad. The part of the decal
remaining on the pad is removed by pressing the pad on to an excess receiving member
such as a sheet of paper. As the heat release decal does not require to be slid
on to the article unlike water slide decals, a cover coat in this instance is not
necessary to protect the colours in the decal.
In a second embodiment of said further aspect, a similar method is
used but in this instance a relatively thin essentially inelastic cover coat is
provided on the decal. A ring of paper is provided immediately around the edge
of the face of the plaque. A former is provided beneath the paper to provide support
there for. When the decal is applied by the pad on to the plaque the excess part
of the decal which extends beyond the plaque is taken up by the paper.
In a third embodiment of said aspect of the invention, again a similar
method is used. In this instance however a relatively thick friable inelastic
cover coat is provided on the decal. When the decal is applied on to the ware the
whole of the decal will be taken from the pad such that the decal will extend
beyond the edge of the plaque. The excess decal can be cut from around the edge
of the plaque using a spinning knife or other suitable arrangement.
There is thus described a method which permits edge to edge decoration
to be applied using heat release decals. These decals can readily be applied automatically
thereby removing the requirement for skilled lithographers. Furthermore, the amount
of wastage will be reduced when using such decals.
The drawings show apparatus 10 for trimming excess decal which extends
beyond the edge of an item of flatware such as a plate 12. The apparatus 10 comprises
a rotatable turntable 14 upon which the plate 12 is mountable. Suction means (not
shown) are provided for holding the plate 12 on the turntable 14.
A blade 16 is mounted on the end of an arm 18 so as to generally
contact the edge of the plate 12. The blade 16 is provided on a sprung mounting
20 on the end of the arm 18 so as to be urged against the side of the plate 12
but to be movable outwardly against the force of the mounting as shown in the direction
of the arrow 22. The blade 16 is mounted on the arm 18 such that it can be periodically
slid up or down to provide wear across different parts of the blade 16.
The arm 18 can be rotated about a substantially horizontal axis as
shown by the arrow 24 for a purpose hereinafter to be described. Adjustable stops
(not shown) may be provided to limit the rotation in the direction about the arrow
24. The arm 18 is rotatably mounted about a vertically upstanding bar 26 so as
to be pivotal towards or away from the plate 12 in the direction as shown by the
A brush 30 is provided adjacent the point of contact between the
blade 16 and plate 12. Means are provided for selectively moving the brush 30 to
be engageable with the upper edge of the plate 12 in the direction shown by the
arrow 32. Located to extend beneath the brush 30 and blade 16 is a waste receiving
receptacle 34 connected to a suction supply (not shown).
In use, when the plate 12 is to be decorated, an oversized heat release
decal is applied onto the plate 12 to extend beyond the edge thereof around the
plate 12. The edge of the decal extending beyond the plate 12 will generally adopt
a generally upstanding orientation. The plate 12 is transferred onto the turntable
14 and held thereon. The turntable 14 is rotated in the direction of the arrow
36 as shown in Fig. 2. The brush 30 is brought into contact with the upper surface
of the edge of the plate 12 to urge the excess decal into a generally horizontal
alignment so as to be cut from around the edge of the plate by the blade 16. Once
the plate 12 has completed a full revolution the decal will extend across the
whole upper surface thereof and end precisely at the edge thereof. The decals usable
with such apparatus would generally be of the third embodiment as described above.
To adjust the precise point to which the edge of the decal will extend
the position of the blade 16 can be adjusted by rotating the arm 18 in the direction
of the arrow 24. If it is required to provide an upper edge of the plate clear
of decal, to for example show a band of plate not bearing the decal around the
portion bearing the decal, this can be achieved by rotating the plate 12 through
a number of revolutions whilst simultaneously rotating the arm 18 between predetermined
positions in a direction as per the arrow 24 at a different speed. For instance
the blade 16 may be moved between an orientation as shown in Fig. 1 and an orientation
extending substantially horizontal above the plate 12.
This feature is particularly useful if for example the plate 12 is
predecorated with an edge band of for example gold or silver or any other colour
which may be required. In such an instance a plate with a prefired band could
have a decal applied, followed by a single further firing.
The apparatus 10 will generally be located downstream of an automatic
decal applying machine, and usually arranged such that plates bearing decals are
automatically supplied to the apparatus 10.
There is thus described apparatus which enables a precise edge to
edge decal finish to be applied mechanically to an item of flatware. The apparatus
is ideally suited to leaving a band around the decal to show a coloured band or
the like. The apparatus is of relatively simple construction and can thus be robustly
and inexpensively manufactured to provide essentially maintenance free operation.
The sprung mounting 20 of the blade 16 enables a decal to be trimmed from a non-circular
plate, such as one provided with a scalloped edge.
Various modifications may be made to the apparatus without departing
from the scope of the invention. For example the blade can be mounted differently
and different mounting means can be provided for the plate. The brush may be arranged
differently and a different item could be provided to urge the excess decal into
an orientation to enable cutting thereof.