Inkjet printing has grown from several different forms since it's development. Today there are drop on demand printers (DOD), continuous inkjet (CIJ), hot melt, and thermal inkjet printers (TIJ). There are micro solenoid or plunger operated drop on demand printers. This are adjustable from 2ml to 1 ml of drop volume. They can print at 32 dpi and have a head life of up to 2 billion cycles. Usually inert materials are used in the print head construction.
The next type is impulse or Piezo ceramic DOD. This is also a drop on demand printer. Every drop that is ejected hits the substrate. It is adjustable from 2 pl to 100 pl. This model had a high frequency drive of up to 40 KHz and a head life of up to 10 billion cycles.
Continuous inkjet printers are they next type. These has a continuous stream of fluid that is constantly dripping' These are adjustable from 6 nl to 100 nl. The drops that are unused are re-filters and used through the fluid system. They can generate anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 drops per second and have a head life for five years or more.
Drop on demand thermal inkjet printers use heat to vaporized the fluid to form bubble drops. These are extremely useful in all areas; whether it be in the home, office or elsewhere. These have a head life of about 3 liters and print aqueous base and UV curable fluids.
All inkjet inks contain resin, solvent, additives, and colorant. Resin is the material that carries the color of the ink. It also is responsible to making the ink adhere, be abrasion resistant, and protect from UV rays. The colorant is the dye and pigments. The dye is transparent and has bad UV stability but it stays in the solution. The pigment is opaque looking and has good UV and heat stability. The solvent determines the inks dry time and enables all of the other parts to mix. The additives are responsible for adding flexibility, better flow, formation, and longer stability.
These high resolution inkjet printers have many applications but are currently being used more and more for industrial printing applications. These inkjet printers can be used as a box coder for gray-scale printing on boxes or cases. This allows for the ability to use conventional print heads and are really changing the software and electronic drivers of marking. This is replacing traditional stenciling methods and is offering a cleaner, faster, and more automated option. The industrial printers give no over spray and minimize waste. This is commonly used for printing on billboards as well.
Some of the current industrial uses of these inkjet printers include: RFID tags, electronic paper, OLED and PLED, MEMS devices, flat screen manufacturing, electronic circuits , and transistors.
There are many more applications for these printers that have yet to be discovered. It is important that we all think deeply into what creative and effective uses these can provide to us and our industry.