Inkjet printing is the process of depositing drops on ink in a digitally controlled method from the print-head onto the substrate in a wide range of ways. The technology was developed within the Nineteen Fifties and of late, it has found many practical uses within the industrial setup as well.
Within the industrial setup, there are two primary types of inkjet printing. The first is continuous inkjet printing and the second is the on demand inkjet printing. The variations are explained below. In steady inkjet printing, a pump directs the ink via one or more small nozzles. The ink droplets are ejected from the nozzles continuously at a high frequency, which in turn is diversified by means of a piezoelectric crystal. Before the droplets reach the nozzle, the ink drops are made to pass by means of electrodes, which in turn impart a charge to them. The charged drops are then deflected via an electrostatic field. The drops that aren’t deflected are collected and circulated back. This technology has the advantage that high printing speed is possible. Further, because of the high velocity of projection, a longer distance might be maintained between the print-head and the substrate. Thus the print-head is also protected from damage. Unstable inks can be used simply and thus rapid drying of the ink ensures a quick turn-round time for the printing process. The only limitation of the method is that high printing decision can’t be achieved owing to the speed of the process. Additional, maintenance necessities for the equipment are high and it is considered an environmentally unfriendly technology owing to using risky inks.
In the case of drop on demand technology, the drops are ejected from the print-head only when required and the drops are spawned when a pressure pulse is created. This pressure pulse could be created in two ways. Within the first method, called thermal inkjet technology, the ink is rapidly heated on a filament. The ink vaporizes and this creates a pressure pulse, leading to its ejection and the creation of fresh drops as a steady cycle. The second technique of creating a pressure pulse is by way of piezoelectric technology. A piezoelectric crystal undergoes distortion when an electric area is applied to it. This distortion is then used to create a pressure pulse, leading to drop ejection. Of these two applied sciences, the piezoelectric technology is favored as it is clean. Further, since there isn’t a heat involved, there is a bigger number of inks to choose from. The primary advantage of drop on demand technology is the possibility of high printing resolution.
No matter be the methodology concerned, industrial inkjet printing finds a wide range of application, right from food processing to cardboard manufacture. It’s definitely little question that this technology is here to stay and will only get better in the times to come.
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