The diversity of industrial inkjet printing – holistic solutions for a perfect customized industrial application.
At the end of July, Seiko Instruments invited visitors to their Open Week in their new demo centre in Neu-Isenburg, Germany and, together with their partners, devoted themselves extensively to the umpteen facets and possibilities of industrial inkjet printing. There were a lot of discussions about holistic solutions, the challenge of the perfect interlocking of all relevant components for a perfect customised industrial inkjet application.
After the forced break due to the Covid-19 restrictions, Seiko Instruments could finally open its new demo centre and laboratory in Neu-Isenburg for customers and other interested parties.
Last summer, Seiko Instruments decided to relocate its demo centre and laboratory from France to Germany. In Neu-Isenburg, near Frankfurt am Main, the company now has the optimal premises and equipment to be able to comprehensively demonstrate the diversity of its industrial inkjet solutions.
Of course, due to the pandemic, the classic opening ceremony in autumn last year was cancelled, but there was now enough time with selected, competent partners from the areas of ink development, drying and printing and integrators to demonstrate a wide range of applications, to set up machine configurations that give visitors an insight into the extensive potential of industrial inkjet printing based on the high-performance Seiko Instruments printheads.
Seiko’s printheads serve a wide variety of purposes, including ceramic tiles, heavy textiles, home textiles, apparel, wood, glass, corrugated, high-speed marking and coding, labelling, coating, signage, and additive manufacturing (3D).
Robust and highly accurate, they enable the most flexible printing directions – downwards, vertical and horizontal.
During the Open Week, 12 different printing stations for packaging, textiles, ceramics, wood, coding and marking were on display, printing with oil, UV and water-based inks, depending on the application, as well as UV and water-based varnish printing. But the configurations shown here were only meant to be a creative push to show what is possible. Seiko also took the opportunity to talk to end-users about future strategic directions and possible new applications to bring competent partners on board.
Seiko also discussed with industry partners the properties of products including special inks to work with its inkjet printheads for specific application.
Seiko was delighted at the positive response to the Open Week which attracted around 150 people from over 60 companies and 12 different countries.
Traditionally, Seiko Instruments has successfully provided solutions for ceramics, coding and marking segments. The ceramic printing market has been well served with the popular RC1536 recirculation printhead series which enabled a market share of 35 to 40 percent. With the industry having already adopted digital production, many old machines are being replaced by new and more powerful lines. It is a fast growing market and Seiko is well placed to tap the potential here, especially armed with its innovative inkjet printhead technology. The robust industrial technology by Seiko is very well placed to be an attractive choice for new as well as customers considering re-investments in this area.
Coding and Marking segment is the first market segment Seiko Instruments entered in Europe. In this segment, Seiko printhead is the only solution that can print horizontally at a distance of 2 to 3 cm. the clearly outlined precise dots by these printheads create a unique selling point for them.
Seiko competes in this market on the one hand with systems based on thermal inkjet technology and on the other hand with classic label machines. For users who have relied on thermal inkjet technology to date, even smaller print heads have now been developed that are perfectly suited to these fields of application. To replace labels, direct printing on brown cardboard requires an appropriate amount of ink so that the black remains black and is not simply absorbed. Alternatively, UV-based inks are used and a white layer is printed first so that black can be printed afterwards.
Another important market for Seiko is corrugated digital single pass printing. With a considerable market share, Seiko has an upper hand due to advantages offered for printing on cardboard. RC1536 strongly serves the market with its robust design. This versatile printhead covers a wide range of inks and fluids. The constant ink flow within the circulation structure removes air bubbles and contaminants and prevents sedimentation of inks with large pigments. The high flow rate within the circulation structure ensures that the ink is constantly moving at high speed immediately behind the nozzles. This automatically regenerates the nozzles and prevents deposits, eliminating the need for routine nozzle cleaning during operation and significantly reducing ink consumption. Ink constantly circulates, eliminating the need for pre-filling or flushing before printing.
Seiko is eyeing the coatings segment with its highly placed printhead technology.
The application of an even layer on a large surface can be realised relatively easily in a professional manner with Seiko printbars. In the label market, it is possible to equip an analogue press with an additional printbar in order to be able to apply finishes. Coatings are also an important topic in the textile market. Think, for example, of breathable sportswear or the criterion of low flammability of fabrics. In order to achieve this, despite all the expertise surrounding the formulation, it is ultimately also a matter of applying a liquid for coating – and Seiko’s print heads in the coating sector do exactly that.
The biggest challenge is certainly to find the appropriate ink formulation for the requirements of the different industries. And ensure that customers get the best combination of technologies, Seiko has created an extensive platform in Neu-Isenburg with its demo centre, and the Open Week proved a perfect curtain raiser.