In the constant quest for competitive advantage, increased production efficiencies and lower costs are top priorities in all industries. Inkjet printhead manufacturers are no exception, as microfluidic applications extend to inkjet ink and its delivery. OEMs know that microfabrication can...
To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with MyPRINTResource. Already have an account? Login
Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.
Complete the registration form.
For latex inkjet, the HP Latex 3000 Printer features a writing system with more than 70,000 nozzles and advances based on HP 881 Latex Inks, HP Latex Optimizer, and HP 881 Latex Printheads to deliver industrial-scale efficiencies ideal for large print service operations. HP Latex Optimizer delivers consistent image quality and supports high-efficiency curing of HP Latex Inks at lower temperatures and with less energy than previous HP Latex Printing Technologies. Dynamic swath alignment suppresses banding even at the highest levels of productivity, according to HP.
Japanese innovation, too
Kyocera has been mass-producing its 1200- and 600-dpi inkjet printheads. In mid-2012, the Japanese OEM component supplier announced the successful development of the KJ4B-Z Series 1200×1200dpi high-resolution inkjet printhead for water-based ink, achieving “the world’s fastestprint speed of 262 fpm for an inkjet printhead.” Four months later, the firm announced a 300-dpi inkjet head that enables simultaneous two-color printing, effectively halving the number of heads required. At that resolution, it offers the world’s fastest printing speedof nearly 500 feet per minute, the manufacturer said, thanks to its ink flow channel structure design techniques and piezo actuator drive control technology. The printhead achieves simultaneous two-color printing through the firm’s same proprietary ink flow channel structure design along with its high-precision ink discharge control. The new nozzle configuration prevents the mixing of inks at the point of contact with the printed material—a potential problem when printing two colors simultaneously from the same printhead—ensuring that the new head delivers quality printed images.
The 300-dpi head also reduces the number of parts required for wiring, contributing to equipment downsizing. In addition, it has achieved an effective print width of 367 feet, the world's widest for this type of printhead. Reducing the number of printheads used, even when wide-width printing is required, contributes to simpler equipment design and easier assembly, Kyocera explained. During equipment assembly and when parts need replacing, it reduces the burden of a range of adjustments including micron-level head alignment and ink discharge.
Looking into the proverbial crystal ball, what can we expect to see printhead-wise in inkjet’s future? Ink recirculation at the nozzle is one technology that will be more widely used, Fujifilm Dimatix’s Smith believes. Printheads with this feature will allow ink to continuously move past the nozzle plate, providing fresh ink to the active jetting area at all times.
“The advantages of this feature include the ability to reliably jet inks with heavier pigments—white, for example—and the ability to allow longer maintenance intervals with fast-drying inks,” he explained. “This capability can be used to improve the functionality of the inks, allowing broader application spaces. This technology is currently used in the J Press 720, and we expect to see [it] become more commonplace going forward.”
Ceramics, Packaging, and Label Apps, Too
The inkjet encroachment no longer is limited to the traditional graphics market. “There is a lot of new activity in areas like packaging, textiles, ceramics, and 3D printing,” said Jim Hamilton, director of the production group at research firm InfoTrends. As Hamilton’s counterparts at I.T. Strategies explained, “for years the wide-format graphics market dominates in the demand for industrial piezo printheads. Consistently, wide-format graphics accounted for 60 percent to 70 percent of printhead demand. In 2011 a big switch in demand occurred, driven by above market average growth in ceramics and packaging/label applications. Combined, those applications grew 7 percent in consumption of piezo printheads ….”
The second largest application demand is for publishing, according to I.T. Strategies, which consists of inkjet production printers such as the Oce Jetstream and Ricoh InfoPrint 5000 series as well as the console-type Riso inkjet printers. “The Riso product line throws off the curve in this segment as those printers sell in very high-volumes with an average of 24 printheads per printer,” the research firm reported. The next generation of high-print quality sheetfed production printers introduced at drupa 2012 also fall into this category.