into the look of veneer, beaded board, or laminated
lumber surfaces, accepting panel sizes up to 63 x 123
inches and thicknesses up to 2 inches.
Developed and built in the U.K. and sold by Fuji,
the Inca Onset multi-array inkjet press uses three sets
of high-speed heads to print on surfaces at the rate of
10,000 square feet per hour – roughly 200 5x10-foot
sheets per hour. Originally adopted for point-of-purchase prints and store displays, the Inca Onset is
being adapted to plywood panels for the first time by
North American Plywood.
Much of the development lies in high-resolution
scanning of desired wood patterns, optimizing those
patterns through color adjustment, then stitching the
patterns together at a computer console to achieve
realistic veneer patterns and aesthetically pleasing
repeat patterns. The DesignPly offering can replace
conventional décor paper patterns and achieve flawless “stitching” of digitally generated veneer sheets.
“We do a lot of CNC here, so we have a lot of tech
knowledge,” says Donald Kuser, general manager at
North American Plywood. The company’s staff has
learned to scan, color correct and optimize wood
grain images that allow the simulation of a variety of
wood species on engineered panels.
“We have the ability to do figured wood in cherry,
oak or ash; to create tie-dyed patterns. Or children’s
furniture with cartoon images,” Kuser says.
A recent development is logo printing for the furniture industry, for the hospitality markets. “Clients
may want their branding on furniture,” he says. “We
can blend it into an African ribbon mahogany pattern.” North American Plywood says it is also looking
at digitally printed ready-to-assemble furniture.
Finishing panels sourced domestically or from
Russia, Finland, and Latvia, North American Plywood has a 5-foot-wide UV roll coating line, the largest line in North America. It has been outfitted with
auto load and unload for panel coating, with an 8-roll
coater system that applies filler on plywood, as well as
opaque coats and clear coats.
“When we built the line we left a space for digital
printing,” says Kuser. “We had 90 percent of the
equation in preparing panels when we roll-coat white
opaque fillers,” Kuser says. “With DesignPly we now
have the final 10 percent of the equation for printing
patterns directly on plywood.”
North American Plywood is still in start-up, test-
ing the systems’ capabilities and steadily developing
new applications, such as Dry Erase coatings for white
Because the digital staining is computer controlled the DesignPly panels achieve a perfect match
in color and look every time. The system allows
cost-effective production of one-off sheets, or up to
thousands of sheets.
North American Plywood can incorporate into
projects all the other capabilities it offers in panel
processing, including in-house custom cutting, routing, finishing, and laminating. Sheets can by printed
5x10 or two-up 5x5.
North American Plywood was founded in 1948,
offering panels with special coatings, finishes, cores
and sizes as a specialty, even supplying panels up to
7x20 feet with a thickness up to 4 inches. Custom
panel cutting and CNC machining is done in house
with new equipment.
Don Kuser details NAPLY’s Digital Staining line
July 18 at the Woodworking Network Leadership
Forum. Learn more and register:
The DesignPly system can convert plywood into the look of
veneer, beaded board, or laminated lumber surfaces.