Enhanced Functionality On Plastic Using Inkjet Technology


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Kapser Nossent, Xennia’s R & D Sales Manager gave a keynote talk at SPE ANTEC, Boston, USA in May 2011, titled “Enhancing functionality on plastic using inkjet technology” discussing the advances in inkjet technology for this application, Xennia’s capabilities and potential market opportunities. The talk also outlined the market drivers, challenges and concluded with a future outlook on the technology and the application.

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Enhanced Functionality On Plastic Using Inkjet Technology

  1. 1. Enhanced Functionality on Plastic Using Inkjet Technology Kasper Nossent R&D Sales Manager Xennia Technology Ltd SPE ANTEC 2011 Boston, May 2011
  2. 2. Talk Outline Introduction to Xennia What is inkjet printing? Inkjet Drivers & Benefits Challenges Industrial Solutions Application Examples Conclusion
  4. 4. Xennia helps customers lower operating costs, increase productivity and simplify mass customised productionby revolutionising manufacturing processes
  5. 5. BACKGROUND Xennia is the world’s leading industrial inkjet solutions provider 14 year history, over 300 customer development programs World class reputation underpinned by a strong IP portfolio Unique expertise in inkjet chemistry with strong engineering capability Headquartered in UK, offices in US and China Received the Queens Award in 2010 Offering reliable inkjet process solutions: Inkjet modules and inks for OEM partners with market access Printing systems and inks for end users
  6. 6. FROM INKJET IDEAS ...TO PRODUCTION REALITYink formulation & test evaluation tools system design production solutions
  7. 7. Xennia develops & supplies inkjet systems, modules and inks for industrial applications
  8. 8. Section 2What is Inkjet Printing?
  9. 9. What is Inkjet Printing? A mechanism for controlled ejection of discrete drops of fluid Examples of actuation mechanisms: Deformation of piezoelectric crystals Thermal expansion of bubbles Effectively analogous to a fountain pen, except much smaller! Drop volumes1-80 pL
  10. 10. What is Inkjet Printing? Ink channel Nozzle Ligament SatellitePressure wave Substrate Ejecting ink Drop formation Drop ejection Drop travel Drop on substrate Drop formation controlled by: Determined by a complex interplay of: Rheology Chemical functionalities Surface tension Polymer structure Viscoelasticity Particle size and shape
  11. 11. What is Inkjet Printing? Low surface Medium surface High surface tension tension tensionInk behaviouron substrate Surface tension of ink relative to surface energy of substrate controls behaviour of ink drops on substrate Printed features are built-up drop by drop Ability to fine tune morphology of printed features by adjusting ink properties UV-cured ink UV-cured ink on plastic on copper
  12. 12. What is Inkjet Printing? Liquid carrier Surfactants Binders/ Adhesion bulk matrix promoters Rheology Other modifiers additives Functional Colorants materials
  13. 13. What is Inkjet Printing?Effect ofparticles Same size as Slightly smaller Much smaller than nozzles than nozzles nozzles Nozzles typically 20-30 m in diameter Particles in inkjet inks typically sub-micron Development of inkjet inks has been reliant on the development of nanoparticulates Key area of experience is producing stable particle dispersions High density particles tend to settle and reduce reliability Settling prevention - ink formulation and/or recirculating printhead technology
  14. 14. What is inkjet Printing? Substrate? End-user? Processing? Porous Non-porous Adhesion Line speed Paper Polymer Scratch resistance Temperature Polymer Metal Solvent resistance UV sensitivity Textile Glass Tensile properties Environmental Aqueous Oil-based Ink Types Solvent-based Phase change UV-curable
  15. 15. What is Inkjet Printing? Waveform and drive voltage Flow through the nozzle Droplet formation and jet stability Image quality and durability
  16. 16. What is Inkjet Printing? Adhesives Inorganic pigments Abrasive materials Inorganic phosphors and lanthanides Aggressive acids and alkali materials Magnetic materials (MICR) Anti-scratch materials/clear coats Media coating materials Biomedical antibodies, reagents and enzymes Metal solutions and dispersions Bronze, aluminium and molybdenum powders OLED and LEP materials Ceramic pigments Organic soluble and dispersed dyes Colloidal and emulsion materials Sintered metals and ceramics Conductive graphite Textile pigments and dyes Conductive metals Titanium dioxide Conductive polymers Ultra high purity materials Decorative metallic pigments UV cure pigment inks Electrochromic materials UV cure structural polymers UV clear coating
  17. 17. What is Inkjet Printing? What inks are available for plastics UV, Solvent, Waterbased Blends of the above Functions available in inks for plastics Colour Metallic Conductive RFID Aesthetic Biofluids Tracers Security Coatings Components for solar cells Conductive polymers
  18. 18. Section 3Inkjet Drivers & Benefits
  19. 19. Inkjet Drivers & Benefits Key market driver in product decoration Need for economic short print runs Faster and more frequent product upgrades Increased number of niche products Increased number of national/regional variations Increased demand for personalisation to add value
  20. 20. Inkjet Drivers & Benefits Reduced production costs Efficient use of consumables No requirement to produce new screens/pads Short runs are economic Cost per print same for 1, 10, 100, 1000, 10,000 No requirement for inventory Increased productivity No time for set-up – printer is always printing Faster response Print on demand Just-in-time customisation/personalisation Ideal for all types of substrates
  21. 21. Section 4Challenges
  22. 22. Challenges – Critical areasWetting, drying, curing Fluid control Ink chemistry Substrate Print heads Material handling Encoder accuracy Drive electronics, software
  23. 23. Challenges Challenges can be broken down into Ink/substrate Image quality System
  24. 24. Challenges – Ink
  25. 25. Challenges – Image Quality Original (256 levels) Binary Head 7 Level Greyscale
  26. 26. Challenges – Image Quality Output from greyscale printhead Viewed close – Perceived by human eye individual dot sizes from a distance visible
  27. 27. Challenges – Image Quality Digital Variable no. of Different ink Directly vary halftoning drops densities drop volumeRegular screen, dither, Same ink density, small Multiple ink densities Vary waveform accordingstochastic drops Requires multiple to drop sizeNeeds very small dot size Reduces throughput nozzles - extra cost Increases head complexityand high resolution to give as multiple drops/pixel Extra ink tanks No loss of pixel frequencygood results Variable drop volume requires Close printhead manufacturing tolerances Excellent temperature control Well behaved and consistent inks
  28. 28. Challenges – Image Quality
  29. 29. Challenges – System Understanding failure modes is key in designing industrial inkjet solutions Typical failure modes for inkjet are: Nozzle blockages Nozzle plate contamination Air inclusion Drop substrate interaction fails Consumable failures (filters, dampers) Failure modes to take into account that are non inkjet: Mechanical shocks Standing waves in piping/beams Vibrations (Eigen Frequency) Influence of temperature/moisture Mechanical deformation/expansion
  30. 30. Challenges - System
  31. 31. Challenges – System Typical options to increase reliability of print process Spitting nozzles Purging In process Wiping nozzle plate Capping printheads Optimizing ink for the printhead and process and substrate Optical systems to detect nozzle failure Camera’s to inspect printed product Nozzle redundancy Design Modular approach Redundancy
  32. 32. Section 5Industrial Solutions
  33. 33. Industrial Solutions Balance between Quality Productivity Cost Size Reliability Systems covering a broad range of configurations Batch production Continuous/web production 3D printing Development/materials deposition
  34. 34. Industrial Solutions 600+ Desk top thermal and piezo DOD inkjet 500 The best compromiseResolution (dpi) of speed and resolution for most industrial applications 400 Industrial piezo DOD inkjet 300 Binary continuous inkjet 200 Raster continuous inkjet 100 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Speed (m / min)
  35. 35. Industrial Solutions Fail and act 100% Redundant Low System Cost High Low Efficiency High The optimal solution should be determined based on the final specification of the process Understanding the failure modes of the system and the jetting process is a key element in the pilot setups
  36. 36. Industrial Solutions Print engine Software Fluid controllers
  37. 37. Industrial Solutions
  38. 38. Industrial Solutions –PRODUCT DECORATION PRINTERIntegrated corona pre-treatmentVacuum platen to secure product(s)Print width 210mmPrint speed up to 24m/min at 360dpiJig can be customised to suit productManual load/unload 210mm Can also be integrated into pick & place lineVariable data for barcodes, serial numbers etc.Re-circulating ink systems ( XenJet Aquarius)Integrated print software (XenJet Cygnus)
  39. 39. Industrial SolutionsSCANNING XY PRINTER Up to 6 colours (2x white) Print area 700mm x 1400mm Print speed up to 450mm/s at 360dpi Throughput up to 100m2/hr 70mm Integrated UV lamps Optional vacuum table to secure product(s) Optional turntable for easy load/unload Re-circulating ink systems ( XenJet Aquarius) Integrated print software (XenJet Cygnus)
  40. 40. Industrial Solutions –FIXED ARRAY NARROW WEB PRINTER Roll-to-roll printer Compatible with wide variety of flexible substrates 280mm print width on 300mm web Print speed up 24m/min Optional corona pre-treat unit 280mm Integrated UV cure lamps Up to 7 colours/fluids supported Re-circulating ink systems ( XenJet Aquarius) Integrated print software (XenJet Cygnus)
  41. 41. Industrial Solutions –3D PRODUCT PRINTER 5 colours Print speed up to 150mm/s at 360 dpi 35s cycle time for typical object Printing onto general 3D surfaces CAD data used to generate robot program Multi-stage process Integrated pre-treatment station Integrated vacuum-based maintenance station Robot-based product handling system Integrated UV pin and full cure
  42. 42. Industrial Solutions –Xennia Xanadu
  43. 43. Section 6Application Examples
  44. 44. Application Examples Products require decoration for several key reasons: Attractive appearance Branding To provide information Colour matching with other parts Trademark protection Personalisation
  45. 45. Application Examples Huge demand for digital decoration of parts on production linesKey drivers are: Reduced costs Print on demand means no need for large inventories Increased productivity Printing system spends the whole time printing Faster response to customer demands New designs can be introduced rapidly Products can be personalised/customised on the fly
  46. 46. Application Examples3D product Decoration Many products have difficult/unusual shapes Golfballs, helmets, pens Home appliance front covers Automotive glass Ceramic tableware Need to integrate a suitable motion system Fast enough for the application Accurate/consistent enough to give required print quality
  47. 47. Application Examples Ceramics Textiles Furniture & laminates Glass Product decorationWall coverings Biotechnology & Packaging & labelling medical Printed electronics
  48. 48. Application Examples Product Decoration & Packaging Safety helmets Consumer appliance fascias Security wristbands Promotional gifts Identity cards Laptops Optical fibres Mobile phones Wires and connectors Healthcare products Toys etc
  49. 49. Application Examples Textiles Flooring & furniture Digital decoration of textiles: laminates Garment personalisation Digital decoration of flooring & Reel-to-reel textile production furniture laminates: Flags, banners, awnings Wood-effect flooring Soft furnishings (Direct printing and laminates) Furnishings
  50. 50. Application Examples Architectural glass Digital glass printing applications: Ceramic tiles & tableware Direct print during manufacture Digital decoration of ceramic tiles Print polymer laminate & tableware: Direct print after manufacture Ceramic wall/floor tiles Ceramic tableware Promotional items
  51. 51. Application Examples Automotive parts Wall coverings Digital decoration of wall coverings: Digital decoration of automotive parts: Consumer wall paper Automotive glass Business paper/vinyl wall coverings Headlamp covers Motorcycle fairings Helmets Spare parts branding
  52. 52. Section 7Conclusion
  53. 53. Conclusion Industrial inkjet is proven Systems Modular components Software is proven Ink technology is proven Needs to be optimized for the application Growing rate of industrial implementation Stand alone systems Integrated systems Replacement of analogue systems
  54. 54. Kasper NossentVisit: www.xennia.comEmail: knossent@xennia.com