Industrial inkjet printing technology has a variety of applications and is an industry constantly affected by new technology. Printers and ink are increasingly tailored to your industry needs. Discover the other factors that will affect the performance of your inkjet below.
Inkjet printing technology was developed in the 1950s, making it possible to produce digital images generated by computers. With customisation becoming increasingly popular, the industrial printing industry continues to grow.
Industrial Inkjet is used both for decorative and/or functional reasons, and these days the technology can be applied to various materials:
Industrial Inkjet Substrates
Printing on Textiles
Printing directly onto textiles allows the use of more complicated patterns, plus it is more efficient and environmentally friendly than screen printing.
Though there are many examples of glossy curved surfaces inkjet can be used on, pill capsules, plastic casings and spectacle-frames are fairly common.
printing on Food with edible inks
It is possible to use edible inkjet to print edible decorations for confectionary.
Paper, cardboard & cartons (obviously)
Industrial inkjet can print high quality marketing materials at high volumes, resulting in lower per-unit costs than other printing methods.
Choosing the right ink
One of the key issues facing the industrial inkjet industry - different ink types carry different properties depending on the fluids they are based on.
Aqueous inks are based on water. Those types of ink are mainly used for graphics and textile industry applications. Water allows fast absorption into the fabric, fixing pigment to the surface and producing a high-quality image.
Solvent inks - the carrier fluid for those, is a solvent. Broadly speaking, the solvent is an organic compound that allows the ink to dry at a much faster rate due to the enhanced evaporation. This type of ink is used to print on vinyl and other arts substrates.
Latex inks - this type of ink contains approximately 70% of water, the rest being added polymers which make the ink impossible to dry without a drying mechanism. Mostly used for indoor and outdoor signage.
Oil based inks - contain a varnish and a binder. These types of ink dry quickly due to increased absorption rates. The main uses for these types of inks are multiple paper graphic applications.
UV inks - those types of ink have to be expressed to the ultraviolet light in order for the ink to stay on the surface. After the UV light application, the ink turns into solid and remains on the substrate. The surfaces on which it is used are non-porous, with the purpose of the product decoration.
Hot melt inks - are expressed to the heat in the printhead, they solidify instantly after the application to the surface. Most common uses for this type of ink are packaging markings, despite its disadvantage of the ink being easy to be scratched off.
Those were the main types of printing inks, but the list goes far and beyond as people like to experiment with the ink contents to produce the most functional fluid for the different applications.
There are a few other things to consider when customising your inkjet printer:
Choose the right ink. As mentioned before, different types of ink are used to print on different surfaces. It is important to choose the right one that is suitable to the substrate you will be using, to make sure that the printing looks good and will last.
Choose between a single pass or a scanning type system. The choice will depend on the capacity of the required production. A scanning system produces a greater resolution image, but its printing rates are much slower than of the single pass printer.
Choose a printhead. The most important thing to consider when choosing the printhead is to check whether it is suitable for the ink that you have chosen. The more technical side of it is to look for its minimum and maximum drop size and check if it will give you your desired resolution and productivity rate.
Design an ink system. For the best quality printing, each printhead must be constantly supplied with ink without ever flooding the system.
Consider maintenance. The design of your printer should not make its maintenance an over complicated process.
There are plenty of options to choose from to make your industrial inkjet printing setup both fast and cost effective. In the near future, the inkjet printing industry is expecting further developments. It is predicted that the speed of printing is going to increase and running costs will decrease further, making it even more convenient to use it on a industrial scale.
Industrial inkjet news
See below for our news concerning the world of industrial inkjet printing. You can subscribe to get core industry news delivered into your inbox on a weekly basis.