In the world of modern printing, various technologies are at play, each with its own advantages and applications. Continuous inkjet printing is a technology that has revolutionised the printing industry, commonly called CIJ. This remarkable method enables ink’s rapid and precise deposition onto various substrates, making it a cornerstone of many printing processes today. This article will explore the fascinating world of continuous inkjet printing and how this technology works.
Continuous Inkjet Printing: The Basics
Continuous Inkjet Printing is a non-contact printing method that injects tiny droplets of ink onto a substrate to create text, images, or patterns. Unlike other printing techniques, CIJ does not require the printhead to make direct contact with the surface being printed on. Instead, it creates a continuous stream of ink droplets, some of which are deflected, and others allowed to fall onto the substrate, forming the desired output.
The CIJ process begins with the creation of a continuous stream of ink. It is achieved by forcing ink through a small nozzle, creating a high-velocity liquid stream. The stream is then broken into individual droplets using a piezoelectric or thermal process. The most common method involves using a piezoelectric crystal to generate pressure waves that break the stream into droplets of consistent size.
Deflection and Control
Once the ink stream is broken into droplets, it is directed towards the substrate. Here, the magic of a CIJ printer truly comes into play. An electric field is applied to the droplets passing through a charging electrode. This field causes the droplets to become charged, and an array of deflection plates then determines their trajectory.
The deflection plates can either steer the charged droplets towards the substrate, where they form the printed image or deflect them away, preventing them from reaching the substrate. The CIJ system creates the desired pattern or text on the surface by selectively charging and deflecting the droplets.
One of the key advantages of Continuous Inkjet Printing is its ability to make rapid adjustments in real-time. The system continuously monitors the position and trajectory of the droplets, allowing for precise control of the printing process. If a droplet deviates from its intended path or course, it can be quickly corrected, ensuring consistent and high-quality printing.
In addition to real-time control, CIJ technology allows a wide range of ink types to be used. This versatility makes it suitable for various applications, from printing on packaging materials to coding and marking products in industrial settings. CIJ printers can handle inks of different viscosities and colours, providing flexibility in meeting various printing requirements.
Continuous Inkjet Applications
Continuous Inkjet Printing has found its way into numerous industries thanks to its versatility and reliability. In the food and beverage industry, CIJ is commonly used for product labelling, date coding, and marking, ensuring product traceability and compliance with regulations. In pharmaceuticals, CIJ technology is used for printing expiry dates and batch numbers on drug packaging, enhancing safety and accountability.
Continuous Inkjet Printing technology is a remarkable innovation transforming the world of printing. Its ability to create precise and high-quality prints on various substrates in real time has made it an invaluable tool across industries. By harnessing the power of charged droplets and deflection, CIJ printing ensures that every printed output is accurate, consistent, and reliable.