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Inkjet Speed Breakthrough

Thursday, February 15, 2007

1000 page per minute and more..

Two researchers (M. Einat and N. Einat) from The College of Judea and Samaria in Israel have designed an ink-jet printer head that could be capable of page rates of 1,000 pages per minute – or more.

Design revolution
Their revolutionary design is a logical next step in inkjet printer head design. The researchers key development was to enlarge the print head size so that it could incorporate printing an entire page at once rather than moving a smaller print head across the pages as is done with traditional inkjet printers.

Key Developments Micro Reservoir

Current ink-jet printer heads work by feeding ink from a main reservoir to a series of nozzles. When the number of nozzles increases, the ink feed pipe connecting the reservoir to the nozzles becomes unstable and consistent ink-flow is harder to maintain.

I.E. waves in the ink can create “cross-talk” problems between nozzles and the motion of standard print heads presents additional problems.

The designs building block is a micro-reservoir of ink that feeds four nozzles. The reservoir is square, one millimeter (mm) on each side, and is 0.5 mm deep. The ink enters the nozzles via capillary action (the way water naturally creeps up a plant stem, for instance).

To refill, an ink-coated “wiper” slides over the top of the reservoir, depositing a layer of ink. The small amount of ink in each reservoir and the natural capillary force between the ink and the reservoir walls make pressure regulation consistent across each reservoir.

Current State of Development

M. Einat and N. Einat combined many of these basic stand-alone segments into a 12×12 cm2 printer head matrix with a total of 57,600 nozzles. They subjected it to several tests to confirm proper ink flow within the system.

This design, which the researchers dub JeTrix, has many potential applications. Says Einat, “The future applications of JeTrix will be traditional, such as extremely high-speed printers for industry, offices, and homes. ”

Inkjet Manufacturers take note

One of the first applications will probably be to develop a print head that spans the entire width of a printout there bye eliminating the mechanics of the printer head assembly. This reduction in hardware and electronics will help to recoup the additional cost of the increased head design while simultaneously increasing print speeds ten fold or more.

This will in effect mimic the same design philosophy of current laser printers when they have a Print “Drum” that spans the entire paper width.

Later designs will allow the print head to expand to the size of the entire printed surface, there bye enabling the printing an entire page at one time.

New Technology leads to New Applications

Eniat also anticipates new, pioneering applications such as in-store book printing – where the book is printed instantly for the customer. This could enable small bookshops or even airport kiosks to carry a huge variety of books. There’s also personalization – newspapers or journals printed with a customer’s name, favorite topics, and suitable advertisements.”

The newsprint industry has long sought the capability to personalize newspapers for its clients and this may be what is needed to bring this capability to fruition.

Coming soon to an Inkjet Printer near you

Eniat says “The JeTrix project is still in an early stage. The concept was proofed in a laboratory prototype, but we expect that a commercial product will be ready after two years of development, which will include additional funding and product engineering.”

Note: We forecast within the next 12 months you will see commercially available printers sporting a print head as wide as the sheet of paper without any mechanical motion. (This will spell the end of disposable inkjet cartridges with embedded print heads as this new design will be substantially more expensive due to its size)

As these new printers will utilize inkjet ink and not have the design costs of Laser Cartridges, we see them surpassing the laserjet market in print speeds while maintaining lower overall printing costs for supplies as this industry progresses.

 

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