Industrial Ink and Printhead Technologies

The term printhead is usually reserved for the inkjet industry, so it’s normal if you don’t know what it means. In this industry, however, industrial inkjet printers are vital to the manufacturing of a large number of consumer goods that you purchase on a daily basis, so it’s worth learning about their role in the process. There are a variety of printhead technologies, so the better you understand them, the better you’ll know what they are used for and why. Let’s look at the four main types of printheads used for industrial inkjets.

  • Continuous Printheads: this kind of printhead lives up to its name. It provides a constant succession of inkjet droplets onto any given material, so long as the machine is on and operating. Using timed bursts of air, the inkjet stream is either pointed away or in the direction of the material being used. Any ink that is unused and misses the mark is redirected back into the machine.
  • Drop-on-Demand Printheads: DOD printheads used a sophisticated system to aim the ink droplets onto the media, precisely where they are supposed to land. This contrasts with a continuous printhead that just produces ink regardless. DOD supplies ink when it’s needed and where it’s needed.
  • Thermal Printheads: these are particularly efficient in the inkjet industry, and are used in desktop printers for their high speed and efficiency. Thermal heat produces a bubble of gas that pushes the ink out of the nozzle, meaning that this can be done at a high level of speed and in quick succession. Because of this high-intensity operation, this particular method wears out the ink nozzles rather quickly, so cheap and disposable nozzles are used on a regular basis.
  • Piezo-Electric Printheads: Piezo-electric printheads are DOD printheads but for bigger, industrial printers. This meant that for the first time, UV-cured industrial inks could be used to print digitally. Piezo printheads work well with any ink and are used across the industrial ink board. This type of printhead is more durable than thermal heads, which means they are more sustainable.

Other types of printheads are being pioneered and developed for the industrial production market. One example is the thermal PageWideprinthead which will be used only for the printing of greyscale.

These are the main types of printhead technologies used with industrial inkjets in the production industry. They are varied and can perform a multitude of tasks that make them efficient and productive. If you’re looking for marking or coding ink, then Needham Ink is a fantastic choice.