The inkjet print head, commonly known as “nozzle”, is the core component of digital inkjet equipment. The first mature application of digital ink-jet is in indoor and outdoor advertising ink-jet. However, with the breakthrough of technical development in recent years, digital ink-jet has already jumped out of the scope of advertising ink-jet and is turning more to industrial applications, such as ceramic printing, digital textile printing, label printing, packaging printing, PCB ink-jet application, industrial building materials printing, 3D printing, etc.
In the past, the application requirements of inkjet in large format photo and inkjet were relatively low. The printer was used for the workshop production, and the requirements for the nozzle were not high. However, with the industrialization of inkjet application, there is a higher demand for industrial-grade nozzles. In the past, although there was a lot of publicity about industrial-grade nozzles in the market, few people could say what industrial-grade nozzles are. Based on the author’s more than ten years of experience in inkjet, this paper discusses what is an industrial nozzle.
What is an industrial product?
Most products, including electronic and electrical components, can be roughly classified according to consumer-grade, commercial-grade, industrial-grade, and military-grade. It mainly differs from the product use environment, stability, reliability, production efficiency, workload, and operation life.
What is an industrial sprinkler?
If you know the characteristics of industrial-grade products, it is not difficult to answer this question. Only those nozzles that meet the industrial production environment, and adapt to industrial inks, can be called industrial grade nozzles with continuous high load and stable operation, and long service life. In this regard, the author concludes that the industrial sprinkler should at least meet the following characteristics:
- Extra-long service life
The service life of the nozzle is mainly reflected in the fatigue life of the piezoelectric ceramic, which refers to the number of times the nozzle works continuously with the standard test liquid (ink) until the piezoelectric ceramic is fatigued and damaged. Usually, it is calculated 100 million times. The service life of the nozzle can be estimated by calculating according to the production workload. For example, according to the official information of a company, the PZT fatigue life of the nozzle reaches 30billion times. If the service life is about 6-12 months according to the industrial production load, such a nozzle can not be called an industrial nozzle. For industrial equipment, at least 3-5 years of service life is required, and the fatigue life of the corresponding nozzle piezoelectric ceramics is not less than a 150billion times.
- Stable and reliable
Industrial equipment requires the ability to work continuously and stably. An industrial inkjet printer is often equipped with dozens of nozzles. Nozzle failure and suspension of maintenance lead to a decline in production efficiency, and even a huge loss caused by production interruption and shutdown. Besides solid materials and precise manufacturing, the stability and reliability of the nozzle are more manifested in the maintenance-free performance of continuous printing, long standby time, and instant use.
- Ink compatibility and evaluation& certification service
If the nozzle is compared to an automobile engine, then ink is like gasoline.
First, in order to meet the special needs of industrial applications, the performance requirements of inks are becoming higher and higher, such as high viscosity, large pigment particles, fast-drying, and even special functional liquids, which also brings more challenges to the compatibility of nozzle inks. For example, some nozzles on the market can not print high viscosity ink, or can not be compatible with temperature changes. It is difficult to be called industrial nozzles.
Second, ink is the most critical factor affecting the fatigue life of piezoelectric ceramic nozzle, and poor quality ink will directly corrode the glue, and coating and even block the nozzle, resulting in damage. The author has been in contact with many nozzle manufacturers. Excellent nozzle manufacturers or suppliers will certainly conduct ink evaluation and certification, evaluate the compatibility between ink and nozzle materials, waveform voltage matching, inkjet life evaluation, etc. The ink compatibility of the nozzle and the evaluation and certification support of the nozzle factory can ensure the printing quality, stability, and service life.
Advantages of industrial internal circulation sprinkler
In recent years, many industrial applications have adopted the single-pass method for efficient production. In order to meet the application performance, special inks or functional liquids are also required. In this case, in order to meet the production of stable, efficient, and high-load long-lived noodles, there are higher requirements for ink and nozzle. Under this background, the internal circulation nozzle is favored by more and more applications. In recent years, various nozzle manufacturers are actively developing internal circulation nozzle, because internal circulation nozzle just solves the pain point of the nozzle in industrial applications. After years of application, The internal circulation nozzle has also proved some unique advantages:
Ink circulation takes away bubbles and impurities in the ink chamber to ensure the stability of continuous printing
- Moisture retention
Greatly prolong the standby time, spray immediately after startup, and reduce the maintenance and cleaning frequency
- Long life
Long service life, internal circulation with self-healing function, greatly reducing UV reflection, oblique jet plugging caused by ink precipitation and prolonging the service life of the nozzle
- Ink adaptability
The internal circulation prevents the sedimentation of large particle pigment ink and is suitable for a wider range of ink applications, such as UV white ink, coating ink, ceramic/glass inorganic ink, high viscosity ink, and special functional liquid.
With the industrialization of digital inkjet applications, it is believed that more and more nozzles suitable for industrial applications will be developed to promote the innovation of more and more industrial digital inkjet applications.