30 June 2019 Digital Printing Technologies

Memjet eyes up commercial print breakthrough

The thermal inkjet producer believes that Duralink is the technology that press manufacturers need and has potential OEMs keen to build produts around it.

Memjet is confident it will have signed 20 OEM deals for its Duralink inkjet head technology by the end of this year.

Duralink is a page wide print head with greater life than its first generation Versapass printhead. It retains the 1600dpi resolution of this head and aqueous ink. but instead of firing a dye ink, Duralink uses a pigment ink. And Memjet predicts that users will achieve ten times the volume of pages before the Duralink heads needs to be replaced.

Where Versapass has been considered a printhead for low volume print applications, offering four colour printing from a single head, Duralink is intended to take Memjet into mainstream print and packaging work. Each head is dedicated to a single colour using the five rows of nozzles and image optimisation software to prevent a blocked nozzle creating a tell-tale streak.

The Memjet technology is a drop on demand thermal inkjet offering CMYK printing. The company has supplied special colours for Versapass heads and could do so for the second generation print head, but it is not going to include a white ink.

Users wanting white must either print a background using an analogue technology or include a UV printhead for white.

The company quotes a head life of 50 litres of ink, firing 2.2pl droplets at a rate of 15kHz through 70,400 nozzles on each head.

A number of OEMs were quick to announce they had signed up for for the new head, others have taken longer to evaluate Duralink alongside other more conventional printhead technologies, Eric Owen who joined Memjet from Kodak to build Memjet’s case for commercial print two years ago with the first announcement of the technology, says that interest is huge.

“Some of the characteristics of the Versapass head restricted its use in the commercial space. Duralink has changed that,” he says. “We have spent a lot of time working on the new printhead to get what we wanted including an increase of speed to 200 metres a minute and because of its fixed droplet size, it will use less ink than an equivalent piezo head.”

The heads can be stitched together to make a maximum width of 2.4 metres and in multiple modules on a perfecting press to up to 192 printheads says Owen.

The first companies to make commitment to the printhead include existing OEM Colordyne and MGI which includes the heads on its groundbreaking Alphajet press.

This machine is going into a beta test phase in order to be full ready at Drupa next year. MGI reckons that the two machines will swell once the text period concludes.

These and others are machines that will make a debut at Drupa and while nobody at the San Diego business is identifying OEMs, these will make use of the ability to stitch the heads to deliver a 2.4 metre wide single pass printer for corrugated print, Other iterations under discussion would amount to 80 printheads on a press.

By Gareth Ward

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Memjet has great expectations of its new Duralink ink. It has multiple companies working on priojects involving the technology and is confident about being able to name 20 OEM partners by Drupa next year.

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