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Title:
METHOD FOR PRINTING AN IMAGE ON A MULTIPLE-SLATS SHUTTER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/155466
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to continuous methods and systems for printing images onto shutters, such as shades and blinds, in a fast and cost efficient manner, which is also durable and fits all shutters types, shapes and sizes.

Inventors:
FRIDMAN, Benny (6 Ravnizky St, 17 Petah Tikva, 4900617, IL)
Application Number:
IL2019/050149
Publication Date:
August 15, 2019
Filing Date:
February 07, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ZIKIT DIGITAL LTD. (6 Ravnizky St, 17 Petah Tikva, 4900617, IL)
International Classes:
B41J11/18; B41J15/02; B44C3/12; E06B9/386
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHMELZER, Zeev et al. (BEN-AMI & ASSOCIATES, P.O. Box 94, 02 Rehovot, 7610002, IL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1) A computerized method of creating an image on shutters, comprising the steps of: a. selecting one or two images for printing;

b. determining the dimensions of the shutters' slats;

c. determining printing orientation;

d. breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions according to the determined dimensions of the shutters' slats;

e. printing said individual slat image portions on a roll of paper or film in a continuous manner,

wherein each of said printed individual slat image portions further comprises at least one readable mark acting as a positioning point for slats-cutting;

f. applying said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material and press-heat same for transferring said image portions onto said continuous narrow web of slat material; and

g. cutting said continuous narrow web of slat material and fabricating said shutters.

2) The method of claim 1, wherein said breaking of said one or two images into individual slat image portions is carried out while considering: (i) the dimensions of said slats; (ii) overlapping sections, attachment regions, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) the printing orientation.

3) The method of claim 2, further comprising a step, prior to step (e), of generating a single new image comprising: (i) the different individual slat image portions of the one or two selected images generated in step (d); (ii) spaces between said image portions created due to overlapping sections of the final slats, attachment regions between the final slats, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) said readable marks,

wherein step (e) of printing is printing said generated single new image on a single roll of paper/film in a continuous manner.

4) The method of claim 1, further comprising a step of coating said continuous narrow web of slat material with a sublimatable material for sublimation printing prior to printing step (e). 5) The computerized method of claim 1 for creating an image on shutters, the method comprising the steps of:

a. selecting one or two images for printing;

b. determining the dimensions of the shutters' slats;

c. determining printing orientation;

d. breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions while considering: (i) the dimensions of said slats; (ii) overlapping sections, attachment regions, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) the printing orientation;

e. generating a single new image comprising: (i) the different individual slat image portions of the one or two selected images generated in step (d); (ii) spaces between said image portions created due to overlapping sections of the final slats, attachment regions between the final slats, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) readable marks acting as positioning points for slats-cutting;

f. coating a continuous narrow web of slat material with a sublimatable material for sublimation printing;

g. printing said generated single new image on a roll of paper/film in a continuous manner;

h. applying said printed paper/film of step (g) onto said coated continuous narrow web of slat material of step (f) and press-heat same for transferring said image portions onto said continuous narrow web of slat material; and

i. cutting said continuous narrow web of slat material according to said readable marks, and fabricating said shutters.

6) A computerized method of simultaneously creating an image on both the front and rear sides of shutters, the method comprising the steps of:

a. selecting two images for printing- one for the front side and the other for the rear side of the shutters;

b. determining the dimensions of the shutters' slats;

c. determining printing orientation; d. breaking said two images into individual slat image portions while considering: (i) the dimensions of said slats; (ii) overlapping sections, attachment regions, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) the printing orientation;

e. generating a single new image comprising: (i) the different individual slat image portions of the two selected images generated in step (d); (ii) spaces between said image portions created due to overlapping sections of the final slats, attachment regions between the final slats, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) readable marks acting as positioning points for slats-cutting;

f. printing said generated single new image on one side of a single roll of paper/film in a continuous manner;

g. applying said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material and press-heat same for transferring said image portions onto said continuous narrow web of slat material; and

h. cutting said continuous narrow web of slat material and fabricating said shutters.

7) A system for creating an image on shutters, comprising:

a. a computing system comprising a processor and a memory adapted for:

- receiving one or two images for printing; and

- breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions according to slats' dimensions and printing orientation;

b. a printer for printing said individual slat image portions on a roll of paper/film, each portion with a readable mark acting as a positioning point for slats-cutting;

c. a press-heater for transferring said one or two images from said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material; and

d. a shutter fabricating machine designed to cut, bend and/or fabricate shutters from said continuous narrow web of slat material.

8) The system of claim 7, wherein said printer is a sublimation printer or a printer suitable for printing sublimation ink onto a suitable paper/film.

9) The system of claim 7, wherein said press-heater is a calendar heat press. 10) The system of claim 7, wherein said shutter fabricating machine comprises an optical sensor for identifying said readable mark.

11) The system of claim 7, further comprising a unit for assembling the printed slats to a final shutter.

12) A system for creating an image on shutters, comprising:

a. a computing system comprising a processor and a memory adapted for:

- receiving one or two images for printing; and

- breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions according to slats' dimensions and printing orientation;

b. a sublimation printer or a printer suitable for printing sublimation ink for printing said individual slat image portions on a roll of paper/film, each portion with a readable mark acting as a positioning point for slats-cutting;

c. a calendar press-heater for transferring said one or two images from said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material;

d. a shutter fabricating machine designed to cut, bend and/or fabricate shutters from said continuous narrow web of slat material, wherein said shutter fabricating machine comprises an optical sensor for identifying said readable mark; and e. optionally, a machine/unit for assembling the printed slats to a final shutter.

13) A system for creating an image on both the front and rear sides of shutters, comprising: a. a computing system comprising a processor and a memory adapted for:

- receiving two images for printing;

- breaking said two images into individual slat image portions while considering: (i) the dimensions of said slats; (ii) overlapping sections, attachment regions, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) the printing orientation; and

- generating a single new image comprising: (i) the different individual slat image portions of the two selected images; (ii) spaces between said image portions created due to overlapping sections of the final slats, attachment regions between the final slats, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) readable marks acting as positioning points for slats-cutting; b. a sublimation printer or a printer suitable for printing sublimation ink for printing said single new image on a roll of paper/film;

c. a press-heater for transferring said single new image from said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material;

d. a shutter fabricating machine designed to cut, bend and/or fabricate shutters from said continuous narrow web of slat material, wherein said shutter fabricating machine comprises an optical sensor for identifying said readable marks; and e. optionally, a machine/unit for assembling the printed slats to a final shutter.

Description:
METHOD FOR PRINTING AN IMAGE ON A MULTIPLE-SLATS SHUTTER

Field of the Invention

[001] The present invention relates to the field of creating graphical window blinds. Specifically, the present invention provides a custom print of a full color image on one or two sides of various types of shades and blinds made from various sized and shaped slats both for indoor and outdoor.

Background

[002] Shades and blinds are widely used and can be found in nearly every home. Often, windows, and subsequently the shades and blinds, constitute a large portion of the wall's surface and are located in strategic locations in the house, such as the living room, dining room, bedrooms, etc. In addition, many shops use metal shades to close their front that includes, e.g., the entrance door and the display window.

[003] As such, various attempts have been done to make these windows more pleasant to the eye. The most common method is the addition of curtains. However, other techniques have been developed, such as adding pictures and graphics onto the shades and blinds of such windows.

[004] Due to the diversity of windows sizes and shapes, separate slats of the shades and blinds are produced in various shapes and sizes and are assembled together to fit each specific window. In addition, various materials are used for making such slats, such as wood, metal, and plastic.

[005] When assembled, the slats are overlapping in order to obtain optimal light blocking. In addition, in order to reduce their weight, slats are often made hollow (and optionally filled with isolation material), and have curved or other various shapes for increasing their structural strength.

[006] These and other characteristics make it difficult to print on shades and blinds. As such, various techniques were developed to imprint images onto slats. For instance, US 6,286,920 describes a Venetian blind printing system, which can select an image and print same onto Venetian slats. [007] JP 2005207032 and JP 2004300858 disclose systems designed to print a specific pattern directly onto individual slats in a continuous design or pattern to thereby create a full image, instead of printing a full image and then slicing same into small portions.

[008] However, all known techniques suffer from various problems, such as high cost, prolong and complicated printing procedures, inadequacy to direct sunlight and/or outdoor conditions, adequacy to only specific shapes and sizes of shades and/or material they are made of, etc.

[009] Accordingly, a need exists for a system and method for printing onto shades and blinds that is both fast, efficient and cost effective, as well as that overcomes the above and other drawbacks of currently used techniques and systems.

Summary

[010] The present invention provides a computerized method of creating an image on shutters, comprising the steps of: (a) selecting one or two images for printing; (b) determining the dimensions of the shutters' slats; (c) determining printing orientation; (d) breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions; (e) printing said individual slat image portions on a (single) roll of paper/film in a continuous manner, wherein each of said printed individual slat image portions further comprises a readable mark acting as a positioning point for slats-cutting; (f) applying said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material and press-heat same for transferring said image portions onto said continuous narrow web of slat material; and (g) cutting said continuous narrow web of slat material and fabricating said shutters.

[Oil] The present invention further provides a system for creating an image on shutters, comprising: (a) a computing system comprising a processor and a memory adapted for: (i) receiving one or two images for printing; and (ii) breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions according to slats' dimensions and printing orientation; (b) a printer for printing said individual slat image portions on a roll of paper/film, each portion with a readable mark acting as a positioning point for slats-cutting; (c) a press-heater for transferring said one or two images from said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material; and (d) a shutter fabricating machine designed to cut, bend and/or fabricate shutters from said continuous narrow web of slat material. Brief Description of the Figures

[012] In the accompanying drawings which form a part of the specification and are to be read in conjunction therewith:

[013] Fig. 1 is a basic flow chart of one possible method according to the invention of image printing and fabrication of shutters thereof.

[014] Fig. 2 is a block diagram illustrating a system of the invention for creating an image on shutters.

[015] Figs. 3A-3F are illustrations of how two images are printed on a sheet of shutters material before fabrication and the resultant images on the final shutters as created according to the method of the invention.

Detailed Description

[016] Large and small windows and openings are usually equipped with shutters, e.g. shades or blinds, for preventing sunlight penetration, isolation and/or protection (e.g. metal bar blinds serving as invisible window bars), and sometimes for privacy or pure decoration.

[017] However, nowadays, instead of looking at boring and white/unicolor blinds, people seek ways to make their shutters colorful and convert them into artwork that brightens the house and/or surroundings, and/or provide the house with a unique artistic feature. In addition, shop owners may want to convert their closed shutters into a commercial that advertises their shop, i.e. by printing thereon a logo of the shop or even a full size image that can be seen when the shutters and shop are closed.

[018] Accordingly, the present invention provides methods and systems for printing images onto shutters, such as shades and blinds, in a fast and cost efficient manner, which is also durable and fits all shutters types, shapes and sizes.

[019] Accordingly, in certain embodiments, the present invention provides a method for creating an image on shutters, comprising the steps of: (a) selecting one or two images for printing 1; (b) determining the dimensions of the shutters' slats 2, wherein the term "dimensions" refers to the final slats' size, shape and width, and whether they are curved or straight, and include attachment/connection regions, etc.; (c) determining the printing orientation, i.e. whether the printing is carried out on one side of the final shutters, on both their sides in the same orientation so as to show two complete images when the shutters are closed- one inwardly and the other outwardly, or on both sides in opposite orientation so as to show one image when the shutters are closed in one direction, and another image when there are closed in the opposite direction (e.g. as in Venetian blinds); (d) breaking said one or two images (using a dedicated software) into individual slat image portions 3; (e) printing 4 said individual slat image portions on a roll of paper/film, e.g. a single continuous roll, in a continuous manner, wherein each of said printed individual slat image portions further comprises a readable mark acting as a positioning point for slats-cutting; (f) applying 5 said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material and press- heat same for transferring said image portions onto said continuous narrow web of slat material; and (g) cutting 6 said continuous narrow web of slat material and fabricating said shutters.

[020] The present invention further provides a computerized method of creating an image on shutters in a continuous manner, comprising the steps of: (a) selecting one or two images for printing; (b) determining the dimensions of the shutters' slats; (c) determining printing orientation; (d) breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions according to the determined dimensions of the shutters' slats; (e) printing said individual slat image portions on a roll of paper/film in a continuous manner, wherein each of said printed individual slat image portions further comprises at least one readable mark acting as a positioning point for slats-cutting; (f) applying said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material and press-heat same for transferring said image portions onto said continuous narrow web of slat material; and cutting said continuous narrow web of slat material and fabricating said shutters.

[021] It should be noted that the term "shutters" refers to blinds, shades, screens, visors, window shades, Venetian blinds, roller blind, and any other fragmented means for closing an opening. The shutters may be window shutters, rolling shutters, pull and push rolling shutters, perforated rolling shutters, etc.

[022] Notably, if the roll of paper/film ends in middle of the printing, the printing can be resumed from the place it stopped by introducing a new roll of paper/film into the printer 8.

[023] The term "roll of paper/film" as used herein, means any suitable form of said paper/film, including straight sheets of paper and roll of paper that can be opened / straighten into a continuous sheet of paper for printing purposes, wherein following printing thereon said opened / straighten paper may be re -rolled so it can fit a press-heat machine for continuous application thereof onto said continuous narrow web of slat material.

[024] The term "continuous narrow web of slat material" as used herein means any suitable form of said slat material, including, but not limited to, straight (separated) sheets of material that can be continuously introduced into the press-heat machine 9 after/while the printed paper/film has been applied thereon; and a roll of material that can be opened / straighten for continuously applying thereon said printed paper/film and feeding same into the press-heat machine 9 for transferring said image portions from said printed paper/film onto said slat material.

[025] In certain embodiments of the method of the invention, when selecting one or two images for printing 1, the user may select a single image or two images that are either identical or different. The term "image" refers to any physical likeness or representation of a person, animal, or thing, either photographed, painted, or otherwise made visible. It may also refer to any optical counterpart or appearance of an object or abstract idea, such as a mixture of colors, lines and shapes. An image may be comprised from a plurality of pictures and/or symbols joined/connected together to generate a single final image.

[026] In certain embodiments of the method of the invention, the determination of the dimensions of the shutters' slats, the user takes into consideration the final shape and size of the slats to be used, and the overall shape thereof, such as curved- or straight slats. The shape of the slats also includes their final attachment regions, any unseen regions of the slats, and/or overlapping regions between two adjacent slats in the final assembled shutter.

[027] In certain embodiments of the method of the invention, the user determines the orientation of the image to be printed and can decide to have a single image that is displayed in full either on the outer or inner side of the shutters when in closed-form. Alternatively, the user can select two images that are displayed in full- one on the outer- side and the other on the inner-side of the shutters when in closed-form. In yet another alternative, the user can select two images that are displayed in an alternate manner on the same side of the shutters (either on the outer- or inner-side thereof when in closed-form), e.g. as in Venetian blinds that can be closed in two directions. [028] In certain embodiments of the method of the invention, the software used for breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions takes into consideration various parameters, such as: dimensions of the final shutters; dimensions of the shutters' slats, including their shape, size, width, overlapping regions, attachment regions, etc.; the image(s) orientation; the material the slats are made of; the printing technique being used; whether the image is to be printed on a surface exposed to sunlight or not; etc. Said software is also designed to add dedicated marker at predetermined location of each individual slat image portion. Each of said dedicated markers is associated with a specific portion of the image and can be identified by a sensor, such as an optic sensor, within or associated with, a shutter fabricating machine 10. Said marker can be any suitable marker such as QR-code, barcode, specific color pattern, etc., and can be made from any type of printing material, either visible or transparent to the naked eye, e.g. UV ink, in which case it can be identified by a dedicated sensor, e.g. a UV sensor, etc.

[029] In certain embodiments, the mark is printed with the same dye/ink as the image and using the same printing technology as the image itself. In such cases the mark is (or may be) printed at a location that is designed to be cut out in the process of shutter fabrication and/or at an unseen area thereof after fabrication and/or assembly (e.g. in the attachment region). Accordingly, in such embodiments, the information the mark carries is just for orientation and cutting / fabricating purposes.

[030] In certain embodiments of the invention, depending on the desired finished product (indoor vs. outdoor / single sided vs. double sided printing / fixed print seen on each side vs. two different images that can both be seen from the same side) a dedicated software breaks the selected image(s) into separate segments / individual slat image portions while considering overlapping areas, slat dimensions, and unseen slat segments. These individual slat images are then printed on a roll of paper / film, each with a readable mark that acts as a positioning point for printing and/or slats-cutting equipment.

[031] Once the roll of paper/film is printed, the slat material (either made of or comprising sublimatable material or coated/pretreated for sublimation printing) is fed together with the printed paper/film into a heat press 9 (e.g. calendar heat press), which provides sufficient heat for a sufficient time for the sublimation of the dye so that the image is transferred from the paper/film to the slat material. [032] Once the images are transferred to the slat roll material, the roll of slat material is fed into a shutter making machine 10 equipped with a sensor (e.g. an optical sensor) that reads the mark printed thereon and thus knows where to cut the material so when the slats are assembled into a finished product the image appears as a whole.

[033] In certain embodiments of the method of the invention, the printing 4 of said individual slat image portions on a roll of paper/film is carried out in a continuous manner, so that all the portions (and associated markers) are printed continuously. In specific embodiments, the printing is carried out with sublimation dye.

[034] Accordingly, in specific embodiments of the method of the invention, the printing is dye-sublimation printing using a sublimation printer.

[035] The material the shutters are made of can vary according to need. For instance they can be made of metal, alloy, wood, plastic, or other synthetic material.

[036] In certain embodiments, the method according to any of the embodiments above further comprises a step, prior to the printing step, of generating a single new image comprising: (i) the different individual slat image portions of the one or two selected images generated; (ii) spaces between said image portions created due to overlapping sections of the final slats, attachment regions between the final slats, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) said readable marks, wherein the step of printing is printing said generated single new image on a single roll of paper/film in a continuous manner.

[037] In certain embodiments of the invention, when the printing is dye-sublimation printing, the shutter's material (i.e. the continuous narrow web of slat material) is sublimation-suitable or has been pretreated or coated with a sublimation-suitable material. Accordingly, in specific embodiments, when the shutter's material is not made of sublimatable material to begin with, the method of the invention further comprises a step of coating said continuous narrow web of slat material with a sublimatable material for sublimation printing prior to the printing step.

[038] In certain embodiments, the printing method according to the method of the invention is durable to friction, e.g. when the slats touch each other during folding and opening thereof, as well as durable to fading due to exposure to light (UV light, sunlight, etc.), e.g. when the printed side is facing outside. This can be achieved, e.g. by using dye- sublimation printing. [039] In other specific embodiments, said sublimatable material used for coating said continuous narrow web of slat material is UV-resistant. Alternatively, is comprises a UV- resistance layer for reducing the risk of dye fading due to exposure to sunlight.

[040] In certain embodiments of the method of the invention, the cutting of the continuous narrow web of slat material and the fabrication of the final shutters 6 is carried out with dedicated machine. Such a machine may comprise a feeder for continuously feeding the continuous narrow web of slat material into the machine, a sensor for identifying said readable mark, cutting means for cutting the slat material into slats, folding means for folding each slat according to need (for curving and/or creating attachment means), etc.

[041] The term "attachment means" as used herein refers to areas / regions in each slat that are used to connect two adjacent slats. Examples of such attachments are S-shaped curves, T-shaped end designed to fit into a groove/rail, etc.

[042] It should be noted that printing on surfaces that are exposed to direct sunlight requires special printing techniques and/or paint and/or coating/treatment in order to prevent dye fading. Accordingly, the method according to the present invention enables the printing of images on shutters that are exposed to direct sunlight with minimal to no dye fading compared to standard printing techniques.

[043] In specific embodiments, the present invention provides a method for creating an image on shutters, comprising the steps of: (a) selecting one or two images for printing 1; (b) determining the dimensions of the shutters' slats 2, wherein the term "dimensions" refers to the final slats' size, shape and width, and whether they are curved or straight, and include attachment/connection regions, etc.; (c) determining the printing orientation 2, i.e. whether the printing is carried out on one side of the final shutters, on both their sides in the same orientation so as to show two complete images when the shutters are closed- one inwardly and the other outwardly, or on both sides in opposite orientation so as to show one image when the shutters are closed in one direction, and another image when there are closed in the opposite direction (e.g. as in Venetian blinds); (d) breaking said one or two images (using a dedicated software) into individual slat image portions 3, wherein said breaking is carried out while considering: (i) the dimensions of said slats; (ii) overlapping sections, attachment regions, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) the printing orientation; (e) printing 4 said individual slat image portions on a roll of paper/film, e.g. a single continuous roll, in a continuous manner, wherein each of said printed individual slat image portions further comprises a readable mark acting as a positioning point for slats-cutting; (f) applying 5 said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material and press- heat same for transferring said image portions onto said continuous narrow web of slat material; and (g) cutting said continuous narrow web of slat material and fabricating said shutters 6, wherein said continuous narrow web of slat material is optionally pretreated/coated with a sublimatable material for sublimation printing prior to the printing step or is made of sublimatable material to begin with (e).

[044] Figs. 3A-3F illustrate an embodiment of the method of the present invention, in which two separate images are eventually printed on a shutter to be displayed simultaneously when the shutters are in closed position: a user chooses two desired images and instructs the software that they are to be displayed simultaneously when the shutters are in closed position; the user further inputs the slats' size, shape and number- in this case 22 rectangular slats; the software then breaks each image into 22 equal sized rectangulars and arranges them so that the 1 st rectangular of image 2 is positioned upside down underneath the I st rectangular of image 1, the 2 nd rectangular of image 2 is positioned upside down underneath the 2 nd rectangular of image 1, and so on (Fig. 3A); then the printer prints the resulting image onto a roll of paper/film, each portion with a readable mark acting as a positioning point for slats-cutting (not shown); then the printed roll of paper/film is transferred (e.g. using a press-heater) onto a continuous narrow web of slat material; then a shutter fabricating machine cuts the slat material into individual slats (Fig. 3B), and finally bends the pieces into shutters so that the two images are displayed- one of the front side (Fig. 3C) and the other on the rear (Fig. 3D) of the final shutters. Thus, when the shutters are in closed form, the original desired images are displayed (Figs. 3E & 3F).

[045] In specific embodiments, the present invention provides a computerized method for creating an image on shutters, the method comprising the steps of: (a) selecting one or two images for printing; (b) determining the dimensions of the shutters' slats; (c) determining printing orientation; (d) breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions while considering: (i) the dimensions of said slats; (ii) overlapping sections, attachment regions, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) the printing orientation; (e) generating a single new image comprising: (i) the different individual slat image portions of the one or two selected images generated in step (d); (ii) spaces between said image portions created due to overlapping sections of the final slats, attachment regions between the final slats, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) readable marks acting as positioning points for slats -cutting; (f) coating a continuous narrow web of slat material with a sublimatable material for sublimation printing; (g) printing said generated single new image on a roll of paper/film in a continuous manner; (h) applying said printed paper/film of step (g) onto said coated continuous narrow web of slat material of step (f) and press-heat same for transferring said image portions onto said continuous narrow web of slat material; and (i) cutting said continuous narrow web of slat material according to said readable marks, and fabricating said shutters.

[046] In further specific embodiments, the present invention provides a computerized method of simultaneously creating an image on both the front and rear sides of shutters, the method comprising the steps of: (a) selecting two images for printing- one for the front side and the other for the rear side of the shutters; (b) determining the dimensions of the shutters' slats; (c) determining printing orientation; (d) breaking said two images into individual slat image portions while considering: (i) the dimensions of said slats; (ii) overlapping sections, attachment regions, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) the printing orientation; (e) generating a single new image comprising: (i) the different individual slat image portions of the two selected images generated in step (d); (ii) spaces between said image portions created due to overlapping sections of the final slats, attachment regions between the final slats, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) readable marks acting as positioning points for slats-cutting; (f) printing said generated single new image on one side of a single roll of paper/film in a continuous manner; (g) applying said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material and press-heat same for transferring said image portions onto said continuous narrow web of slat material; and (h) cutting said continuous narrow web of slat material and fabricating said shutters.

[047] In certain embodiments, the present invention further provides a system for creating an image on shutters, comprising: (a) a computing system 7 comprising a processor and a memory adapted for: (i) receiving one or two images for printing; and (ii) breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions according to slats' dimensions and printing orientation (i.e. whether the printing is carried out on one side of the final shutters, on both their sides in the same orientation so as to show two complete images when the shutters are closed- one inwardly and the other outwardly, or on both sides in opposite orientation so as to show one image when the shutters are closed in one direction, and another image when there are closed in the opposite direction (e.g. as in Venetian blinds); (b) a printer 8 for printing said individual slat image portions on a roll of paper/film, each portion with a readable mark acting as a positioning point for slats -cutting; (c) a press- heater 9 for transferring said one or two images from said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material; and (d) a shutter fabricating machine 10 designed to cut, bend and/or fabricate shutters from said continuous narrow web of slat material.

[048] In certain embodiments of the system of the invention, the computing system 7 used for breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions takes into consideration various parameters, such as: dimensions of the final shutters; dimensions of the shutters' slats, including their shape, size, width, overlapping regions, attachment regions, etc.; the image(s) orientation; the material the slats are made of; the printing technique being used; whether the image is to be printed on a surface exposed to sunlight or not; etc. Said computing system 7 is also designed to add dedicated marker at predetermined location of each individual slat image portion. Each of said dedicated markers is associated with a specific portion of the image and can be identified by a sensor, such as an optic sensor, within or associated with, a shutter fabricating machine 10. Said marker can be any suitable marker such as QR-code, barcode, specific color pattern, etc., and can be made from any type of printing material, either visible or transparent to the naked eye, e.g. UV ink, in which case it can be identified by a dedicated sensor, e.g. a UV sensor, etc.

[049] In certain embodiments, the computing system 7 of the system of the invention places (or instructs the printer where to print) the mark at a location that is designed to be cut out in the process of shutter fabrication and/or at an unseen area thereof after fabrication and/or assembly (e.g. in the attachment region). Accordingly, in such embodiments, the mark may be printed with the same dye/ink as the image and using the same printing technology as the image itself, and the information the mark carries is just for orientation and cutting purposes. [050] In certain embodiments of the system of the invention, the printer 8 is a sublimation printer or a printer suitable for printing sublimation ink onto a suitable paper/film.

[051] In other embodiments of the system of the invention, the press-heater 9 is a calendar heat press. In yet other embodiments of the system of the invention, the shutter fabricating machine 10 comprises an optical sensor for identifying said readable mark.

[052] In certain embodiments, the system of the invention further comprises a machine for assembling the printed and fabricated slats to a final shutter.

[053] In specific embodiments, the present invention provides a system for creating an image on shutters in a continuous manner, comprising: (a) a computing system 7 comprising a processor and a memory adapted for: (i) receiving one or two images for printing; and (ii) breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions according to slats' dimensions and printing orientation (i.e. whether the printing is carried out on one side of the final shutters, on both their sides in the same orientation so as to show two complete images when the shutters are closed- one inwardly and the other outwardly, or on both sides in opposite orientation so as to show one image when the shutters are closed in one direction, and another image when there are closed in the opposite direction (e.g. as in Venetian blinds); (b) a sublimation printer for printing said individual slat image portions on a roll of paper/film, each portion with a readable mark acting as a positioning point for slats-cutting; (c) a calendar press-heater for transferring said one or two images from said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material; (d) a shutter fabricating machine 10 designed to cut, bend and/or fabricate shutters from said continuous narrow web of slat material, said machine comprising an optical sensor for identifying said readable mark; and (e) a machine for assembling the printed and fabricated slats to a final shutter.

[054] In specific embodiments, the present invention provides a system for creating an image on shutters, comprising: (a) a computing system comprising a processor and a memory adapted for: receiving one or two images for printing; and breaking said one or two images into individual slat image portions according to slats' dimensions and printing orientation; (b) a sublimation printer or a printer suitable for printing sublimation ink for printing said individual slat image portions on a roll of paper/film, each portion with a readable mark acting as a positioning point for slats-cutting; (c) a calendar press-heater for transferring said one or two images from said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material; (d) a shutter fabricating machine designed to cut, bend and/or fabricate shutters from said continuous narrow web of slat material, wherein said shutter fabricating machine comprises an optical sensor for identifying said readable mark; and (e) optionally, a machine/unit for assembling the printed slats to a final shutter.

[055] In further specific embodiments, the present invention provides a system for creating an image on both the front and rear sides of shutters, comprising: (a) a computing system comprising a processor and a memory adapted for: receiving two images for printing; breaking said two images into individual slat image portions while considering: (i) the dimensions of said slats; (ii) overlapping sections, attachment regions, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) the printing orientation; and generating a single new image comprising: (i) the different individual slat image portions of the two selected images; (ii) spaces between said image portions created due to overlapping sections of the final slats, attachment regions between the final slats, and unseen slat segments; and (iii) readable marks acting as positioning points for slats-cutting; (b) a sublimation printer or a printer suitable for printing sublimation ink for printing said single new image on a roll of paper/film; (c) a press-heater for transferring said single new image from said printed paper/film onto a continuous narrow web of slat material; (d) a shutter fabricating machine designed to cut, bend and/or fabricate shutters from said continuous narrow web of slat material, wherein said shutter fabricating machine comprises an optical sensor for identifying said readable marks; and (e) optionally, a machine/unit for assembling the printed slats to a final shutter.