Industrial applications of inkjet printing
Looking to the future, inkjet’s ability to jet an increasing number of industrial fluids (as opposed to pigmented inks used in graphics printing) is creating opportunities in many advanced manufacturing sectors. Digital print in true industrial markets is not called on to do a better job of what analog print already does. Analog print does a great job in terms of product quality and cost against a huge variety of specifications. But there are some things only digital can do well, and those are the building blocks of parallel and new markets in the industrial segment.
We can produce industrial materials with digital printing technology. Special coating, coloring, patterning and layering of textures can be done by inkjet for floor, glass, ceramic tile, parts of furniture, home electronics, membrane and so on. Production of electronic circuit or artificial organs is good example to promote new opportunities in this new era, but there’re much wider applications. Differently from DTO, industrial printing replaces existing products or production process of materials, not just decorating on different objects. Another challenge is digital hybrid approach onto existing analog process. Digital inkjet soldering of missing nodes on faulty PCB from analog process can be done in efficient way. Digital printing of variable data like date, personal info, serial no. and barcodes can be done in-line with analog reproduction process of printing.
Digital inkjet continues to expand beyond the traditional graphics markets into new applications and sectors. Today, digital inkjet technology is used widely, from printing ceramic tiles to printing glass, laminates, product identification codes and packaging. As we look to the future, more and increasingly diverse applications will turn to industrial inkjet, as they come to recognize the benefits this technology can deliver.
Beyond the printing industry, inkjet technology is finding applications in bio-technology, printed electronics, display fabrication, solar, semiconductor manufacturing and 3D modelling and is likely to expand to many more areas.
These advanced manufacturing applications take advantage of inkjet’s capabilities to deliver precisely-metered volumes of a functional fluid to a precise location, with great repeatability. And these applications are driving further development of inkjet technology, improving speed, quality, and the robustness of the print heads. With applications from the nano-scale to the billboard, inkjet has a bright future.
We can’t stress enough the importance of fluid development to use it as jettable inks by inkjet technology for different applications.