Armor enters industrial inkjet market

May 3, 2016

a2i_inkproduction_cmyk_300dpiThe remanufacturer has created a new business devoted to industrial inks, and has hired industry veteran Frank de Jonge to work in the new company.

In a press release, the company announced the new business, which is said to be a “response” to “new forward-facing challenges” that are arising from inks being applied to “surfaces made from ever more complex materials”. Such challenges include energy, electronics and air de-pollution, and the new business aims to help by “providing industrial customers with state-of-the-art expertise in industrial inks for digital printing applications”.

Calling the new business a “revolution in the inks market”, Armor stated that “for the first time” it is “opening up its inks expertise to other industrial users”, through “diversifying and launching a new business dedicated to the development and the production of high quality industrial inks”. New applications in “ever more extensive fields” include glass, floors, furniture and textiles, with the “expanding market” for inks and digital printing bringing “more flexibility and adding well-qualified jobs”.

In the medium term, the company’s new industrial inks will be used in “other innovative applications” such as energy and “cutting-edge electronics” like conductive inks for printed electronics, insulation or photo-catalytic inks, which “contribute to cleansing the air”. Additionally, the company has hired industry veteran Frank de Jonge, previously of Sensient, to work in the new business.

The “ambitious project” has seen teams of chemists “mobilised” throughout Europe, with research and development led from France and Germany, and final ink formulation in Germany before manufacturing takes place in Poland. Armor stated that “business has already kicked off”, with its first industrial partnerships put in place at the beginning of the year.

Hubert de Boisredon, Chairman and CEO of Armor, commented: “This new business is the fourth pillar in the Armor Group’s expansion. The company’s ambition is to offer innovative technology grounded in sustainable growth. Digital printing is used to print ‘on demand’, eliminating stocks and therefore encouraging material savings in colourings and substrates.

“We are aiming for very high growth markets, making available our world-renowned expertise in inks, our R&D that is resolutely targeted at sustainable growth and our production machinery that is immediately available.”

 

 

 

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KMP launches range of Brother cartridges

April 29, 2016

kmp1The company has released alternatives for use in a wide range of the OEM’s inkjet printers.

KMP stated that the MFPs in the range including the DCP-J240DW “allow for duplex printing and prints up to DIN A3 size”, as well as having wireless connectivity, and the three different cartridges launched work in the “numerous printer models of this series” – alternatives for the LC223 standard and LC-225XL and LC-227XLBK high yield cartridges.

The KMP products contain pigmented black ink for “sharp text printing” and CMY dye inks for “optimum colour fidelity”, and the cartridges can be used in the following printers: the DCP-J4120DW; J562DW; MFC-J1100; MFC-J1140W; MFC-J1150DW; MFC-J1170DW; MFC-J1180DWT; MFC-J4420DW; MFC-J4620DW; MFC-J4625DW; MFC-J480DW; MFC-J5320DW; MFC-J5600; MFC-J5620DW; MFC-J5625DW; MFC-J5720DW; MFC-J680DW; MFC-J880DW; and MFC-J 4425DW.

With the LC-223, KMP has launched a single, double and multipack set of cartridges, with the single CMYK cartridges featuring respective standard and high yields of 550 pages and 1,200 pages respectively, as well as a chip.

For more information, visit www.kmp.com.

 

 

 

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Ink innovation for the blind

April 22, 2016

jwt_touchable_ink_mapNew technology enables braille printing through normal printers.

A new ink based solution called Touchable Ink has been developed by advertising agency, J Walter Thompson Bangkok, Thammasat University and Samsung Thailand. Using a normal printer, the new technology will “enable braille printing on normal paper” and will be cheaper than using a braille printer”, with the ink said to possibly be “a reliable substitute to the old coding system”.

Allowing “embossed printing of non-braille characters and other shapes and patterns”, this has endless prospects. Satit Jantawiwat, CCO at J. Walter Thompson Bangkok, said: “This will open up a new world to people with visual impairment and revolutionise their knowledge accessibility. Some of them were born blind and have never really known many things that may be common for people with normal vision, such as math symbols, musical notation symbols, and drawings or paintings.

“Touchable Ink gives them the key to unlock this door and enter a more resourceful world of tactile sensations, either to ease their everyday life or to broaden their accessibility to more fields of learning like music, mathematics and art, for example.”

The new invention is being tested at the Thailand Association of the Blind using equipment and research and development consultation from Thai Samsung Electronics. The Department of Chemistry and J. Walter Thompson Bangkok are now proceeding with patenting.

Parattajariya Jalayanateja, Managing Director of J. Walter Thompson Bangkok, added: “The Touchable Ink project began from a study of visually-impaired people that led to better awareness of their needs. As a group of people who are part of our society, their needs are not different from people who can see. They want to live happily like people who have normal vision. They are proud to be self-reliant, being able to perform small and big tasks themselves and minimize their dependence on other people.”

Dr. Nopparat Plucktaveesak, Head of Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Technology, Thammasat University, commented: “This Touchable Ink innovation was a source of much pride for the university. It is a Thai invention that, with continuing support and development further on, has the potential to benefit visually impaired people worldwide. It would enable the blind people to print from normal printer with price starts less than THB 2,000 ($/€57), instead of braille embosser which costs at least THB 100,000 ($/€2,537).”

 

 

 

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Inkjet technology used to print DNA

April 22, 2016

UK company Arrayjet has launched a consultancy for life sciences, offering its bio-printing expertise as a service.imgID59576689_jpg-pwrt3

Herald Scotland reports that the instrumental company is offering its expertise worldwide, in bio-printing to businesses that are involved in life science. Using printers with inkjet print heads, biological material which includes DNA taken from a single gene, protein or antibody is printed onto glass slides.

This creates microarrays which are similar to a microchip in size and information, and are used for “biological screening in large scale diagnostic or genetic tests”. Arrayjet Advance Service offers its company’s scientific team as well as the automated laboratory site which will offer accurate and rapid analytics using inkjet technology. CEO Iain McWilliam (pictured) said that there was “an increasing number of research laboratories are looking to adopt microarray technology”.

 

 

 

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Epson opens inkjet factory in Indonesia

April 22, 2016

The OEM has opened its new inkjet printer factory in the country.

An image of the new Epson factory in Indonesia

An image of the new Epson factory in Indonesia

Epson announced the opening of the factory in a ceremony taking place today, with its Indonesian subsidiary P.T. Indonesia Epson Industry having “begun production” at the new facility “as part of the company’s strategic plans for its inkjet printer (printing solutions)” business. Representatives of the Indonesian government attended the ceremony, with the factory producing both inkjet printers and serial impact dot-matrix (SIDM) printers.

The factory was acquired from another company in July 2013, and “lies adjacent to the current lot”, with refurbishment costing around 3 billion ($27 million/€24 million), and Epson noted that the location “is a key production site in Epson’s printing solutions business”, because it “primarily manufactures strategic products”, including high-capacity ink-tank printers and office inkjets. In future, the OEM aims to expand production capacity “as warranted by demand”, also increasing staff from 10,000 to 12,000.

P.T. Indonesia Epson Industry also “has a printer design function”, and its capabilities “will be strengthened in the future to tailor products to the needs of emerging markets, design products for easier manufacturability, and accelerate product development cycle times”. The OEM noted that it plans to “aggressively invest” in its PrecisionCore inkjet printhead technology through to 2018, and called it the “core technology of the printing solutions business”.

This will be helped by adding “new production capacity” at its Suwa Minami plant and Tohoku Epson location in Japan, alongside a “new front-end line” at the Hirooka Office location  and a “new back-end line (head assembly) at Akita Epson, while production lines in Indonesia and the Philippines will be “augment[ed]”. Last November, it hinted that it might also build a manufacturing facility in India.

In January, P.T. Indonesia Epson Industry reported that it also “plans to spend” around $3 million (€2.7 million) on expanding printer production at its Cikarang plant, which would make Indonesia the OEM’s “biggest production base” compared to the Philippines and China. That expansion will increase it to 25 hectares, and an average production capacity of six to seven million units a year, as well as a maximum monthly capacity of one million units “for both high-end and low-end printers”.

 

 

 

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New inkjet process for printing Gorilla Glass

April 20, 2016

A piece of Gorilla Glass being stress-tested

A piece of Gorilla Glass being stress-tested

Corning uses inkjet printing as latest innovation to print the smartphone screens.

The glass company Corning, which has been in business for 165 years and makes smartphone screens as well as NASA spacecraft windows, has developed an innovative technique for printing images onto Gorilla Glass. The company “has created a new process for adding images onto Gorilla Glass that could soon lead to highly customisable electronics hardware”, reports Fastco News.

Corning has called this system Vibrant Corning Gorilla Glass. Using chemically-altered ink, which allows better bonding to the glass, and an inkjet process patented by them, the process “creates higher-resolution images than other glass printing methods”, says Director of Gorilla Glass Innovations, Scott Forester.

Forester also announced that Corning is close to making public contracts with “several large brands” that will apply the system for customised exteriors on devices.

 

 

 

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3D technology produces ‘live’ robot

April 20, 2016

MIT’s robot comes out fully formed, and just needs the motor and batteries inserted to start.3058992-slide-1-this-robot-practically-walks-out-of-the-3

Co.exist reports that the six-legged robot is developed by printing all its parts at the same time, with a hydraulic design meaning some parts are liquid and others are solid. Developed at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), researchers noted that “the liquid parts need to be sealed to maintain pressure which was achieved by using several printheads, each one laying down a different material as the printer builds up the robot a layer at a time”.

The robot can be printed on a commercially-available 3D printer, and Daniela Rus, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab Director, added that “all you have to do is stick in a battery and motor and you have a robot that can practically walk right out of the printer”. Printing liquids are messy and require cleaning after production, which needs to be done by hand, and as this takes time, it can be a poor choice for mass production.

By using inkjet printing to deposit solid and liquid simultaneously, the problem is resolved, with MIT adding that “the liquid drops are on the order of microns in size, and the solid parts are cured by UV light as each layer is completed”. The team had to “carefully design the print process to stop the liquid parts interfering with the solid parts before they are cured”, and the whole process is “somewhat convoluted”, Co.exist noted, stating however that “the big breakthrough is that a working hydraulic machine can be printed, all without human intervention. This brings speed and flexibility”.

Co-author Robert MacCurdy commented: “If you have a crawling robot that you want to have step over something larger, you can tweak the design in a matter of minutes. In the future, the system will hardly need any human input at all; you can just press a few buttons, and it will automatically make the changes.”

At present it takes 22 hours to print the robot, although the process could be sped up by using higher resolution printers. Speed will be key in the future if printed machines “are going to be of any use”, the site notes, and MacCurdy added that he “sees a future where these robots could be used in a disaster, such as nuclear meltdown, as they could be created on site as required […] printable robots like these can be quickly and cheaply fabricated, with fewer electronic components than traditional robots”.

Co.exist concluded that “maybe the next step would be for 3D printing to replicate itself and reproduce a 3D printer like the RepRap printer which makes an assembly kit of itself. The robot revolution has arrived”.

 

 

 

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Flexible touch screens use inkjet process

April 18, 2016

Leibniz-Institute for New Materials (INM) will demonstrate flexible touch screens made using the inkjet process cost-efficiently.

touchscreen

The INM will present its flexible touch screens at Hannover Messe from 25 to 29 April. Flexible displays are said to be the new big ‘thing’ in industry, and INM will demonstrate how to produce suitable coatings with cost efficiency in mind. Flexible touch screens are “printed on thin plastic foils with recently developed nanoparticle inks, using transparent, conductive oxides (TCOs)”. The inkjet process is just one of the two methods, the other being direct gravure, which means that the “one step process for cost efficient TCO structures is enabled”.

Peter William de Oliveira, Head of the Optical Materials Program Division, explained: “We use the TCOs to produce nanoparticles with special properties, the TCO ink is then created by adding a solvent and a special binder to these TCO particles. The binder performs several tasks here: it not only makes the TCO nanoparticles adhere well on the substrate; it also increases the flexibility of the TCO coating: in this way, the conductivity is maintained even when the films are bent.”

After the ink is applied either by inkjet or gravure printing, the film is put under UV light at low temperatures, less than 130 degrees centigrade, which completes the coating. INM added that: “Conductive coatings with TCOs are usually applied by means of high vacuum techniques such as sputtering. For patterning of the TCO coatings additional cost-intensive process steps are necessary, for example photolithography and etching.

“The transparent, electronically conductive inks allow conductor tracks to be produced [without problem] even on a large scale by means of classic reel-to-reel processes. Initial trials at INM have been promising.”

Researchers are in agreement that this use of structured rollers will allow “large, structured conductive surfaces to be printed with a high throughput at low cost”.

 

 

 

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Ideas on how to save on printer ink

April 15, 2016

“Among the great nuisances of modern life, few things irritate consumers more than the high price of printer ink”, says Consumer Reports.epson ink tanks

West Valley News reported on Consumer Reports (CR) which gave five tips on how to save printer ink. By changing the font the consumer can make a 27 percent difference in the usage of ink, CR advises, adding that several years ago it tested fonts and found that “Times New Roman used 27 percent more that Arial, a default in many browsers”. They also found that “Calibri and Century Gothic both out performed Arial”. Another option is to buy Ecofont which is specifically designed to save ink, whilst remaining legible. The cost for a lifetime license is $19.99 (€17.74).

By printing in black and white and changing the default to grayscale users save on the coloured ink. CR also advises the consumer to “strip out the stuff you don’t want. Many websites let you select printer-friendly versions of their stories, which automatically remove color ink-sucking ads and images, leaving you with nothing but text. If the site you’re reading doesn’t offer that option, a service like Instapaper, Clean Print or Print Friendly can help you reformat the story yourself, saving on ink and paper”.

By upgrading your printer, for instance to a laser printer, which are said to be more economical, and costing around two cents (€0.017) per page, with faster print speeds, you can save on ink as printers vary on usage. CR tests different printers for ink usage in its laboratories.

CR also recommends considering Epson EcoTank line of printers, which “have a novel take on the home printer, eschewing the classic ink cartridge for ink bottles and reservoirs”. Users need four bottles at a cost of $12.99 (€11.53) each, but Epson printers are not cheap, says CR, (an Epson Expression ET-2550 costs $299 (€265), but what can be saved on per page printing will save money after about three years.

CR stated that “according to Epson, a set of Ecotank bottles is equivalent to around 20 standard-capacity printer ink cartridges”, and added that using draft mode in printer settings when high quality print is not needed will enable speedier printing and less ink usage.

 

 

 

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India imposes duty on inkjet chemical

April 14, 2016

The country’s Finance Ministry imposed a “definitive” anti-dumping duty on normal butanol (n-Butanol).

Barrels of n-Butanol

Barrels of n-Butanol

Hindu Business Line reported on the decision, which has seen the duty imposed on “normal butanol imports” from the EU, USA, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa, adding that the chemical is a “primary alcohol that is a clear neutral liquid with a characteristic odour”. A “large part” of the chemical is “converted into derivatives for use as solvents”, and both coating industries and inkjet inks use these.

Normal butanol is also used as an “extractant” in production of both drugs and natural substances, as well as “additives in polishes and cleaners and stabilisers in the textile industry”. The anti-dumping duty will last five years, and will range from nothing to $149.31 (€132.49) per tonne “depending on the producer and country of export”, after Indian company Andhra Petrochemicals filed a petition to seek an anti-dumping probe on imports from the affected nations and regions.

 

 

 

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