The future for inkjet printhead development in terms of technology and business-management trends
By Rick Mandel
Trends in inkjet heads
Where are the trends going with inkjet heads? Talking to insiders, the goal of the digital print or inkjet world is to encroach continuously on the analog markets of litho, flexo, and screen printing.
Ray Work, Ph.D., of Work Associates, Inc., suggests that the ceramic tile industry will eventually be handled by digital printing. Inkjet printing is all but replacing the analog methods for decorating tile, and the return on investment with inkjet can be in just months, not years. The advancement is the relationship of inkjet heads and the inks to create a durable product. In essence, printheads can handle the specialized ink needed for ceramic printing.
Piezo heads can be, categorized as industrial inkjet heads. The cost at present is in the range of $1000 or more for each head. With arrays of heads in the hundreds, you can do the math to prove why some of the most robust presses cost more than hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Visually seeing the dots and noticeable banding are the elements that frustrate the digital print producer. Screen printing has crossed that bridge of resolution vs. production many times. As a solution to this issue, printheads are now able to vary the spot size within the jetting output, which fools the eye to simulate greater resolution, and hide banding. The result is the ability to keep speeds up, to give a continuous tone look, and to reduce banding.
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