In the last decade, the transition between the analog and the digital era is being experienced, in all. There is increasing interest in the development of new technologies that represent advances both from a technical and economic point of view.
Today we tell you what digital ink-jet decoration technology is, where we can apply it and its advantages.
New digital decoration technologies provide a degree of versatility, reduction of material costs and cycle times, which are unattainable for traditional decoration techniques such as screen printing and pad printing.
The correct functioning of a device does not depend directly on its decorated parts. However, these parts play a fundamental role in communicating with the end user, guiding it to put it to good use. Therefore, the decoration of a product must be of the best possible quality, since it gives it added value and differentiation with the products of other manufacturers.
Inkjet technology is the result of the combination of three great engineering companies:
- Chemical engineering. It carries out the formulation of new inks so that the printing on the substrate is optimal and the desired surface functionality is achieved.
- Mechanical Engineering. It is responsible for the correct coordination of the printing process on the substrate, with the aim of obtaining the highest possible quality printing.
- Electronic and signal engineering. It is in charge of carrying out the development of the process in digital format.
The growing interest in inkjet technology is mainly due to advances in research related to control algorithms. In addition, the current development of new materials, whose surface properties are perfectly controllable, and the depth achieved in the knowledge of the fluid dynamics that controls the formation and expulsion of drops, makes this technology adaptable to any industrial process.
The formulation of new inks is one of the branches of inkjet technology where more emphasis is being placed on current research. Inkjet technology allows the development of new functional surfaces on the substrates on which it is applied. This technology is capable of carrying out prints whose inks may have components that give the material conductive, magnetic, hydrophilic, superhydrophobic and bactericidal properties, among others.
Advantages of inkjet technology
This technology offers numerous competitive advantages over conventional printing methods such as pad printing or screen printing.
Unlimited designs can be made to apply to large or small batches. This advantage indicates the great superiority of this technology compared to traditional technologies such as pad printing or screen printing, in which the change from one decoration design to another implied a significant cost of time and material.
Fully digitized process
Inkjet technology allows a high degree of customization, allowing each design to be adjusted to the final product and achieving an infinity of aesthetics and colors. In addition, the digitization of the process allows a fast and efficient correction of errors.
Saving energy and raw materials
This is another of the great competitive advantages compared to traditional decoration processes. On the one hand, traditional decoration processes such as screen printing or pad printing require post-curing treatments of the inks at high temperatures for a long period of time, which implied significant energy expenditure. In the case of inkjet technology, ultraviolet curing inks are used, the curing of which can be carried out consecutively and immediately after the printing process. In addition, the precision and efficiency of inkjet technology means savings in raw materials and cleaning and maintenance steps. All this can be included as a decrease in the environmental impact in the use of inkjet technology compared to traditional printing technologies.
This technology allows printing on substrates with complex geometry without the need for contact between the substrate and the print head. In addition, due to the digitization of the process, this technology has great production flexibility, achieving a great reduction in the cycle time of each print compared to conventional decoration processes.
Inkjet technology applications
The main application of inkjet is the decoration of almost all materials. There are many sectors where digital decoration is already applied.
- Mobile phones and digital cards
- Promotional products.
- Control panels.
- Protective coatings and adhesives.
Another application of this technology today is electronic printing. This technology allows the printing of all types of 3D electronic circuits and flexible circuits. Direct printing has the advantages of having high material usage efficiency, excluding costly process steps such as photolithography, etching and vacuum deposition, and the ability to quickly change circuit designs in real time in a highly cost-effective manner.
What did you think of today’s blog? Do you want to apply inkjet technology in any of your products? Contact us!