The future for inkjet printhead development in terms of technology and business-management trends
By Rick Mandel
Piezoelectric inkjet allows a wider variety of inks than thermal inkjet because there is no requirement for a volatile component, and no issue with kogation (buildup of ink residue). However, these printheads are more expensive to manufacture as a result of the use of piezoelectric material (usually PZT, lead zirconium titanate). UV and solvent inks tend to be the most common inks put through these heads. This electric charge is not enough to create that spurt alluded to earlier. With UV inks, UV lights are used to cure; therefore, care must be used to prevent ink curing inside the heads through reflection off the substrate.
There are two types of inkjet printing systems: scan- and single-pass printing. In scan printing, the printhead carriage moves in the sub-scanning direction (laterally in respect to the print media), making several passes to complete the image printing process. Piezo and thermal heads are applicable for this process. In single-pass printing, the printhead carriage remains in a fixed position and completes image printing in a single pass while the print material is conveyed underneath. Because of their high-speed printing capability, single-pass printheads are the piezo version, and systems are actively in use in the field of industrial printing where high productivity is required.
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