In the Russian market there is a large selection of ceramic tiles in various colors and with different decors. However, despite all this diversity, the so-called photographic tiles are in great demand, on which any pattern is applied, forming a bright and durable panel. A photographic tile has a number of advantages: absolutely any images can be applied to it, finished products are of high quality, the applied drawing is resistant to abrasion, fading, has bright colors, water resistance and durability. A few years ago, specially and very expensive equipment, as well as special ceramic toners, were used to apply photographs to ceramic tiles. The process itself also took a lot of time. To give the figure resistance, the tile had to be burned at a temperature of 800 degrees Celsius. Thus, the list of necessary equipment included powerful electric furnaces. The process of decorating tiles was long and complex, requiring special experience and skill. It took at least two days to make a small panel. All supplies had to be purchased abroad, so this service was not cheap. The cost of one square meter of ceramic panels was 10-12 thousand rubles. In addition, the organization of such a business required large investments, which not all beginner entrepreneurs could afford. The cost of equipment that was imported from abroad amounted to several tens of thousands of dollars. The advent of new technologies (in particular, direct printing technology on ceramics) has greatly simplified and cheapened the process. In the production of photographic tiles by direct printing, the image is applied to the finished ceramic tile with special eco-solvent inks, followed by the application of precoat varnish. In this case, special equipment is also needed, but it costs significantly less. As a result of this, a clear and durable image with excellent color reproduction is obtained on the tile. The new direct printing technology is much cheaper than other methods of applying a picture to ceramics, which allows you to set affordable prices for such a service. Original printed ceramic tiles have been widely used. They are used to decorate bathrooms in houses and apartments, in the kitchen, in pools, in bars, restaurants and cafes, in children's clubs and in offices.
Currently, there are several basic technologies for the manufacture of photographic tiles. But the simplest and most inexpensive method is direct printing on ceramics using a special printer. The image is transferred to the tiles on the same principle as on plain paper. In this case, the tiles no longer need to be fired at high temperature. To fix the image, it is enough to warm it up for ten minutes at a temperature of 150 degrees Celsius. For this, even an ordinary kitchen oven is suitable (but it is better to use a special dryer). The manufacturing process of one panel with an area of 1.4 square meters. meter (35 small tiles) does not take several days, as before, but only forty minutes. So, we consider in more detail the order of work. A tile of light colors is chosen as the basis for the future panel - the pattern on it will look clear and contrast. The surface of the tile is cleaned and degreased, after which, using a spray gun, a precoat varnish is applied to it with an even layer. Then the tile is left for several minutes until the varnish dries completely. In the next step, the coated tile lands on the printer table. The printing process itself takes about five minutes. Tile with a picture is placed in a drying cabinet, heated to 150 degrees Celsius, for ten minutes to fix the image. In a standard drying cabinet, five tiles of 25 by 40 cm format are placed at once. The entire printing process is 1 square. meter tiles takes no more than an hour. Often more time is spent on image processing in special programs. The image can be used from the existing database or brought by the customer. In the latter case, special processing of the drawing is often required.
Direct printing will require special equipment to apply the image to ceramic tiles. The minimum set includes a special printer for printing on ceramics, a drying chamber, a spray gun, a computer with the necessary software, office furniture, a table for packaging finished products.
Modern models of ceramic printers take up very little space, so they can be used even at home. They allow you to apply the image on a light ceramic tile of any format that does not exceed the maximum permissible size of the print area of your chosen printer model. This technique is quite easy to use and maintain, as it is equipped with a CISS system and can be refilled with ink a large number of times. An additional advantage of printers is that they can be used to apply images not only to tiles, but also to glass, metal, plastic and even wood. The price range for ceramic printers is quite large. Experts advise using medium-sized Chinese equipment. The cheapest model of Chinese production will cost 100 thousand rubles. Medium printers cost 160-200 thousand rubles. And finally, the most expensive technique that uses eight hours of ink and prints images in the highest resolution will cost 1.5-2 times more. The average performance of the model is about 3.5 square meters. meters of tiles per hour. On such printers, you can print photos, drawings, patterns and other images. Most models come with a disc with print-ready photo galleries. Basically, these are landscapes, photographs of the deep sea, waterfalls, windows, doors, animals, reproductions of paintings, etc. But you should not rely solely on this set. Most customers express their wishes on the panel image and bring their photos. Nevertheless, you should have a catalog with examples of photos, if the client can not decide what he wants to print. Such a catalog usually happens in electronic form, but experienced entrepreneurs advise you to prepare a printed version (at least just print sample photos on a color printer and put in a folder with files).
In addition to the printer itself, you must purchase additional equipment. In particular, a drying cabinet is required. A special cabinet will cost 40 thousand rubles. Of course, you can use a conventional oven for drying, but the latter poorly maintains a constant temperature, which affects the quality of the finished product. In addition, special equipment is designed for continuous operation throughout the day. Domestic stoves may not cope with such loads. In the item of other expenses, you can add the purchase of a spray gun for uniform application of varnish on the tile (1.5 thousand rubles), a computer (about 30 thousand rubles), a comfortable table and office furniture (about 25-30 thousand rubles).
The total cost of equipment and everything necessary (including light ceramic tiles for printing product samples) will be 250-280 thousand rubles. To accommodate all this will require a separate room. Equipment suppliers claim that the printer can be used at home. In principle, many firms providing such services began with work at home, and then, as the number of orders increased, they rented a separate room. The option of home-based production is possible if you are a happy owner of a private home. An apartment is hardly suitable for these purposes.
To work with equipment with a small number of orders, one person can. At first, you can work on your own or with your family. In the future, you will have to consider the option of hiring additional employees. In particular, you will need an advertising manager (also serving as an administrator) and a shift worker on the printer.
When drawing up a business plan, consider the need to purchase supplies. It is best to buy them in bulk in large packages. A set of six inks with a capacity of 1000 ml will cost 60 thousand rubles, and precoat varnish - 13-15 thousand rubles for 3000 ml. These materials are consumed quite economically. For example, this amount of ink is enough to print 400 square meters. meters of tiles. Lac, however, will have to buy for the future. 3000 ml of varnish is enough for only 40 square meters. meters of tiles. At least 70 thousand rubles will be required to purchase consumables for at least the first three months of operation. Think about your customer search options in advance. Photographic tiles are purchased by individuals (designers, home or apartment owners planning to renovate), as well as companies that repair premises and provide construction services. The most promising option is the option of cooperation with interior designers in your city, which can provide you with a large number of orders for a small percentage.
The specificity of this area is the need for a visual representation of the options for finished panels, so that potential buyers can see the live tile. For this you need a showroom. Renting a separate room for it is unprofitable. But you can negotiate with building stores and retail chains about exhibiting your stands on their territory with examples of work and advertising materials. Of course, you have to pay for it. Keep in mind that one exhibition stand for ceramic tiles will cost 10-15 thousand rubles. And it is desirable to exhibit them in several specialized stores where tiles and sanitary ware are sold. Also, do not forget about advertising in newspapers for free ads, in specialized publications and advertising catalogs, on the Internet.
In total, about 350 thousand rubles will be required to organize the production of photographic tiles. This amount includes the necessary equipment, supplies, minimal advertising, expenses for organizing a business. The cost of printing on ceramic tiles for large customers (when working with wholesalers) will be about 2 thousand rubles per square meter. This is the cost of the work itself. As a rule, the customer provides the printable tile, because the panel should be in harmony with the background ceramic tiles. Fixed costs of the enterprise include renting places in stores and retail chains for placing their advertising stands (at least 30 thousand rubles per month), transportation costs for the delivery of consumables and tiles (about 5 thousand rubles, as necessary), manufacturing or the purchase of ready-made advertising stands for placement on the territory of stores (from 10 thousand rubles per stand), advertising (10 thousand rubles per month), taxes and other deductions (about 15 thousand rubles per month). Please note that at first your production will not be fully loaded. You need time to establish work with customers and search for new customers. Assume that capacity utilization is around 50%. In this case, print 88 square meters. meters of tiles will need 40 thousand rubles. Monthly profit can be about 85 thousand rubles. In this case, you can recoup all expenses for organizing your business during the first six months of work.
When opening your business, consider the seasonality factor. Ceramic tiles, like other finishing materials, are in greatest demand from March to December. In winter, there is a serious decline in sales. Manufacturers of photographic tiles are trying to position their products as gifts, but it will be very difficult for consumers to convince that a photographic panel made of ceramic tiles can be a great gift, for example, for the new year. But with a competent sales organization, these seasonal fluctuations will not greatly affect your profit.