Tim Phillips looks at the fundamental issues facing ink developers, including the trade-off between application performance and printability, carrier choice, dispersion quality, characterisation and application-specific issues.
Digital printing using inkjet technology offers benefits across a wide range of industrial applications. These benefits include the ability to introduce new designs and products rapidly, defining deposition digitally so that it can be changed every time, depositing onto delicate substrates without contact, and depositing functional materials as well as just colours.
Many of the objects in everyday life are not flat, but have a three-dimensional structure. Almost all products need to be decorated in some way to make them attractive to buyers, and if the object needs to be decorated with anything more than simple colours, then printing is required. Printing onto three-dimensional objects is a real challenge, no matter what printing technology is used.