Discussion: Inkjet inks for the real world

Fujifilm’s inkjet specialists joined Marcus Timson, on behalf of FuturePrint TV, at our Application Development Centre in the UK to discuss about inkjet ink development for the real world. Three of our key ink specialists highlighted the considerations any OEM should have before thinking to adopt inkjet. Also, why the inkjet adoption process is not necessarily a fairly straightforward one.

“I think it’s critical that we all sit down together and work through a specification and understand what you’re trying to achieve from the get go… What’s your application space? What are the challenges you have with your current technology and what can we do with inkjet technology to really help move your business forward.”

About the inkjet discussion

If you have an analogue production facility and you need to digitize, probably you are looking into integrating inkjet into your production. However, in the first stages you do not need to speak with a chemist or an ink formulator. So, what do you actually need to start and integrate inkjet ink? Talking with an application specialist would be our first recommendation. Richard Fisher, Head of Application Development, talks about having the initial conversations about your current production and what you are targeting to digitize. What is your application space? What are the challenges you have with your current technology, and what can we do with inkjet technology to really help move your business forward? 

The ink ends up on the product

Barry McGregor, Applied Integration Manager, talks during the interview about his role and how his job is to represent the OEM’s interest in how to integrate the ink into their process, but also into the infrastructure. Usually, the inkjet process revolves around the printhead, as people conceive it from a hardware point of view, but the ink is what ends up on the product. “The printhead on its own can’t sit there in space. It needs an architecture around it to make sure that the ink has an optimal performance.” The Applied Integration team is testing the ink to make sure that it’s delivering what the OEM requires. The customer is always updated by Fujifilm about the developments, making sure they understand the consequences of certain decisions as the project advances.

Opening the ink formulation window

Angie Runacre, R&D Technical Manager, speaks about her role as an ink formulator, and how this is about getting the performance to match the application. “During the feasibility stage, we need to be having dialogue. What’s a must, what’s a want, what’s not necessary. By understanding what’s a must, then I can open the ink formulation window into that area to meet the application.” The feasibility phase is all about constant dialogue, which is critical to the ink formulator to align the functionality of the operational window.

Speak to the experts in inkjet

The ink is essential as it’s on the final product, but the end users will not consider how the ink was delivered on that product. Having the right inkjet ink for your application means understanding what the ink is trying to do for you. That’s why is critical to discuss with inkjet experts from the beginning and work through the specifications. If you want to make sure your inkjet ink is right for your target application, contact us today to talk about your project.  

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