Advancements In Inkjet Printing Technology Facilitate Market Growth
The growth of the digital printing industry has undoubtedly been a result of the latest technologies. With each technological improvement such as customising products or doing short runs, digital printing has moved to new markets.
As the quality and speed improve and cost per print reduces, inkjet will surely find greater opportunities.
What improvements has the industry made?
Jeffrey Nelson, the business development manager at Fujifilm, stated that improvements in digital technologies include better printing quality with smaller droplets, improved speed via higher frequency, recirculating print heads, improved reliability with MEMS technology, and higher density of print heads.
DuPont Digital Printing’s global business manager Brain Albans explained that advanced dispersion technologies and better ink lead to higher optical densities with a lower amount of ink. As a result, brighter colours and better black is possible with greater print speeds, that too at a reduced cost.
Another important technological breakthrough is the capability of printing high-quality images on various substrates. Compared to the traditional printing, inkjet provides a much simpler process for textile printing as it eliminates the need for rotogravure and screens.
Water-based inks are environmentally responsible, and technology enables faster printing speeds.
The sustainability along with high-speed printing creates new possibilities for digital printing. Both aspects are new fields that are continuously explored by ink and printer manufacturers.
Since high-speed printing increases the productivity, it is much more cost-effective.
The vice president of Jetrion Industrial Inkjet, Stephen Emery also added that due to the introduction of improvements such as grayscale, the quality of the printers keeps on improving.
Another important technological advancement is the addition of LED curing capability for the UV inkjet.
The LED UV curing capability is not only more environmentally friendly if looked at from the perspective of energy consumption and VOCs, but the capability also means that lightweight materials can be utilised.
Thus, ultimately, the new technology enables the company to save on shipping and material costs.
How far has print head technology come?
In recent years, print head technology has advanced in such a manner that it is possible to jet a variety of fluids and place print heads in unique places.
This improvement has created a demand for new chemistries as well as new components in the supply chain thus encouraging advancements in the materials that can be used.
The president of Collins Inkjet, Lawrence Gamblin believes that the improvement of print heads is crucial. Today, there are numerous print head manufacturers, and an increasing number of companies are creating application-specific printers.
The print heads are also getting faster and increasingly reliable. There have also been developments in ink chemistries which has improved the application space for the printers.
President of American Ink Jet Corporation, Michael Andreottola also believes that the most significant advances are the developments of the print head.
Meanwhile, the commercial director of Sensient Imaging Technologies, Dr. Christophe Bulliard states that print heads and faster printers have boosted the digitalisation of numerous industries. More developments have also taken place in water-based solution, particularly soft signage.
A majority of the advancements are possible only because of the close collaboration with print head manufacturers and OEMs in different regions.
What’s next for inkjet printing?
Due to all of the advancements, new markets and possibilities have opened up for inkjet printing. It is quite visible that the majority of the new opportunities have been created because of those smaller printer manufacturers that have open business models.
These open business models let the customers identify, as well as create such new solutions with which they can capitalise on the new opportunities.
While these advancements are currently ushering in further opportunities, it is expected that the advances will also continue to encourage further progress in the coming years.
One such advancement that can be seen in the near future is the aqueous inkjet printing on foils, films, and coated papers.
The new inks for the inkjet printer also reduce the waste and cost of the OEM cartridges and inks. The new technology has enabled companies to produce books for people in the third world countries who otherwise wouldn’t have access to this kind of reading material.
The elimination of cartridges and production of inks that perform well in the new kinds of printer have led to the development of a new market for such printers.
Hence, the bottom line is that all the changes have made digital printing an attractive option for printers as it is more cost-effective for custom, short-run opportunities.