Talking to Mike Willis, himself a veteran pioneer of inkjet, he confirms that there is an increasing interest from the world of manufacturing into what is happening with inkjet.
“This is because inkjet is becoming a more mature and can genuinely be implemented into manufacturing. It is no longer a dream. This is due to a whole host of factors. The inks are better, and technology is now available almost ‘off the shelf’ and there is less of a need for complete customising. The growth in the number of integrators help to make this whole thing more mature. With IMI, we would like to think we’ve had a hand in that. Our Ink Jet Academy, Summer School programmes are designed to educate people about inkjet, not to mention our high level conference which this year will be taking place in Amsterdam.”
At the InPrint Show next week, IMI Europe will be running their Tech Talks which play a key role within their Ink Jet Technology Showcase. It features expert speakers, giving short technical presentations to enlighten people who are developing technology or thinking about it to provide them with experienced insight into how to use inkjet for industrial. The speakers are hand-picked, given high scores from delegate such as Alan Hudd and Tim Phillips.
So the barriers for inkjet are now down?
“Not quite. There are always barriers, this is the beginning and the scope for inkjet is widening. Look at coatings for instance, this could be an interesting new market as you can put down a very controlled amount of material onto surfaces. Different types of inkjet technology are emerging that are much less sensitive to ink formulations than regular conventional inkjet. You would normally have to work a lot on ink development for traditional printheads and spend a lot of energy to make it work. However with these new inkjet technologies for coatings they can jet a very viscose material onto a much wider range of surfaces.
At InPrint we will also be announcing a brand new event for the inkjet community, to be held next April. After the InPrint Show our main conference in December will contain plenty of new things - print heads, inks, and a roundup of the future for packaging, textile and 3D.”