Frequently Asked Questions about Inkjet Printing

What is inkjet printing?

Inkjet printing is a non-impact printing process in which text and images are formed by the precise placement of really small (picoliter-sized) droplets of ink fired at high speeds from the nozzle of computer-controlled printheads. Droplets of ink form precisely placed dots of various colors on various media, which when viewed, composes an image.

If you look at some of the industry reports from InfoTrends or I.T. Strategies, you’re going to see that the expected year-to-year growth for wide format, based on customer surveys, is about 14.5 percent. Compare this to 4 percent projected annual growth for commercial printing.

How small is a picoliter?

A picoliter is a millionth of a millionth of a liter. Inkjet drop sizes generally range from as low as 2 picoliters to upwards of 80 picoliters depending on the intended use or application of the printer.

What is a piezo inkjet printer?

A piezo inkjet printer uses one of two major types of printheads: drop-on demand or continuous flow. Drop on demand systems are those in which electrically stimulated crystal changes shape, creating pressure on the ink chamber and forcing ink through the nozzles. Continuous-flow systems use an electrical charge to deflect a continuous flow of ink.

How does piezoelectric technology work?

New patented technology from Fujifilm Dimatix provides the ability to dramatically expand the number of jet actuators using a single flat piece of piezoelectric material, delivering the tremendous gains in nozzles employed and droplets of ink fired per second. To see an animation of the processes used in creating these materials, click Fujifilm Dimatix.

What are the benefits of piezo inkjet printheads?

Piezo inkjet printheads are engineered for use with different fluid technologies such as water-based, solvent-based or UV curable ink formulations in which the colorants are suspended. Most of the recent innovations in inkjet press technologies have come from companies developing the interaction between these two technologies, printheads and ink, in concert.

What new technologies are driving printhead performance?

New levels of operational excellence are now possible for inkjet without having to make trade-offs between print quality and production speed thanks to recent technological advances. One example is Fujifilm Dimatix new VersaDrop Jetting Technology that delivers multiple fixed drop sizes from just one printhead with no loss in productivity. A VersaDrop enabled print system can deliver the widest possible range of commercial requirements, from those demanding fine tonal rendering and crisp 4-point text within the same job to optimizing the right spot size for multiple print resolution settings using the same printhead.

How are inkjet inks developed?

Ink formulations are developed to deliver the best mix of physical and chemical properties for each particular application. Pigmentation to achieve optimum color gamut, adhesion to a broad range of substrates, and other factors such as rub resistance are just a few factors that are considered when developing new ink formulations. Not only do the inks need to perform for the intended application, inks need to be formulated according to very tight specifications to reliably jet through very small printhead nozzles. Development of new printers need to ensure that both the ink and the printhead module design are compatible to achieve optimum performance.

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