Professor Fritz Bircher, Printing Competence Center, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, Fribourg, will present Beyond Standard Inkjet Printing at the TAGA 65th Annual Technical Conference, February 3–6, 2013, in Portland, Oregon. Below, Professor Bircher recalls his experience of learning about inkjet technology, a hot topic at this year’s conference.
The range of standard inkjet
Inkjet technology nowadays is state-of-the-art for small office/home office printers, coding, large-format printing or as add-on units to provide flexible data within traditional printing processes. Drupa 2012 showed, that more and more application fields are being covered now, even if inkjet is not the only digital technology on the market.
Commercially available inkjet printing systems and printheads provide a certain range of operating specifications and conditions. It is important to understand that for good printing results, printhead, ink, substrate, and drying principle or unit have to be well-adapted to each other.
Motivation to break these limits
Some five years ago, with the increasing pressure in the industry to have to go digital with their processes, many companies realized that interesting fields of application appeared outside these known ranges. They promised attractive new markets besides the difficult traditional business. In their search of innovation, some companies increasingly began to go beyond the limits of the known and commercially available technologies. But they mostly failed or it took them much too long to succeed in a first step on their own. They underestimated the complexity of all involved parameters. Much more profound knowledge of all involved subsystems and their way of interaction was needed. This was why I was often asked about feasibility studies to support the breaking of these limits.
Many different printing applications have been tackled to address different printing requirements, including large outside advertising on grass and concrete. Their JumboJET was designed and developed for commercial use in advertising and art applications, printing with a resolution of about 1 dpi (pixel diameter can be selected 20 or 40 mm) and a print width of 5 m. Every pixel is linked to his exact final position so that the software can control the print process by GPS. The driver then is independent of any given path, he only has to provide, that he covered every spot of the image at least once at the end. Learn about other applications including printing on snow and the challenges introduced by the low temperatures, the influence of particle size and viscosity on performance.