Printhead selection and waveform development techniques to meet the varied application needs of industrial inkjet

The choice of printhead and driving waveform can make the difference between dazzling success and dismal failure for any industrial inkjet system. Waveforms can seem complex and baffling given the myriad of printhead types, all driven in unique ways, together with a seemingly infinite variety of fluids. Printhead selection choice will determine the complexity and functionality of the waveform optimisation you can conduct in pursuit of process optimisation. 

So how do you choose a printhead technology and what is critical to quality and the commercial success of your application? 

The ink chemistry and its compatibility with the materials of the printhead are key here. Also important are its physical properties as they influence drop formation and in turn the ability to meet the desired productivity in terms of print frequency and laydown. We can visualise, measure and adjust performance using dropwatching equipment - these tools are important to OEMs and fluid developers alike, assessing basic jettability and mapping the performance under application-specific conditions. Highlighting when to avoid or harness resonance effects between ink, waveform and printhead can be essential to enabling successful industrial inkjet processes.

An example of drop formation from a Dimatix SG1024 head using a multipulse waveform

An example of drop formation from a Dimatix SG1024 head using a multipulse waveform

Ink and waveform combinations can also be optimised for specific applications. We can use multipulse waveforms for both image quality and volume control, control of the ligament and satellite droplet formation for print quality and reliability improvement, and use drop velocity for placement accuracy or to overcome large throw distances. 

Join Matthew Pullen, Meteor Inkjet’s product manager for dropwatching systems, for his talk on 'Manipulating printhead waveforms: Tools and techniques' at the IMI Europe Inkjet Ink Development Conference in Hamburg on Wednesday 10th April. Matthew’s talk will have an emphasis on the special tools and techniques required to manipulate waveforms and how you can benefit from working together with Meteor Inkjet to improve the performance of an inkjet system.