Increasing Print Quality in Industrial Inkjet Systems

By Emma Wilson & James McCrone

The demands on industrial inkjet printers to deliver high quality printing at speed, and as sustainably as possible, emphasise the importance of the design of the of ink delivery system.


It is well known that most inkjet systems require careful pressure control of the ink inside the printhead. This is because the quality of print is often determined by the precision with which ink droplets are formed and land on the substrate - misshapen ink droplets and landing errors can results in costly mistakes. The stable control of meniscus pressure in particular (the pressure in the surface curve of the ink droplet when in contact with the nozzle) is critical for quality output.

Too high a meniscus pressure can lead to air ingestion and starvation (Figure 2) too low a pressure can result in nozzle plate flooding or 'wetting-out' (Figure 3) and pulsatility in meniscus pressure can lead to periodic effects in print output (Figure 4). All of these effects lead to irregular jetting and compromised print quality.

Figure 1 - A printhead working at optimal performance.

Current Solutions

Many current systems use a motor-driven diaphragm pump to provide the meniscus bias pressure. Such pumps are pulsatile and offer limited controllability, meaning that additional components such as pulsation-dampers and proportional valves are required to achieve acceptable printhead performance.

The resulting system size and complexity is a disadvantage, particularly where there is pressure to make systems more modular (e.g. for ease of servicing, or where tuning of bias pressure is advantageous for a given printhead, or group of printheads).

Better Solution

LEE Ventus’ range of Disc Pumps solves this problem. The pulsation-free output of Disc Pump and controllability reduce system complexity and size, increasing design freedom. Disc Pump is small enough to be directly integrated with the printhead, enabling a modular approach, with vacuum levels delivered tailored for each head.

Disc Pump is perfectly positioned to integrate easily into ink delivery systems without the need for additional pneumatic components - making it possible to achieve precise, stable control of meniscus pressure in industrial inkjet systems.

Get Started with Disc Pump

Figure 5: A Disc Pump controlling bias pressure within a fluid reservoir in a series of set-point steps, demonstrating rapid response and controllability.

LEE Ventus pumps work well for inkjet meniscus pressure control, enabling us to achieve improved pressure control within a compact form-factor.

Simon Kew, Managing Director of Alchemie Technology

CATEGORIES   Industrial 

TAGS   Inkjet Printing  Meniscus Pressure Control 

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