Kyocera has officially launched the next generation of its inkjet printheads, with a new 600dpi head due to ship in April of this year.
The first of these new heads is the KJ4B-EX 600, a 600dpi head designed for aqueous inks with target markets ranging from textiles to packaging as well as graphics and industrial. This new head features a large, integrated piezo actuator, made possible by Kyocera’s unique material design technology for dense polycrystalline ceramic actuators combined with its thin piezoelectric ceramic substrate manufacturing processes. This large actuator replaces the multiple smaller actuators of previous models.
This has allowed Kyocera to optimized the ink channel design, improving the structure to increase not only the volume of each drop of ink ejected from the printheads but also the consistent ejection of these droplets. This in turn means that the droplets can be fired over a greater distance so that the media can be held further away to allow for higher speeds on a wider variety of materials without sacrificing print quality.
This is significant because there’s a great deal of turbulence in the air around a printhead, largely caused by the movement either of the head carriage or substrate so most vendors aim to minimize the distance between the nozzle and the media surface. But with a single pass printer, the media bounces around as it moves, so that it’s better to have a bigger distance for faster print speeds. In addition, it’s also better to have a greater distance from the nozzles for some substrates with a rougher surface or heavily textured surface, such as corrugated media.
This in turn requires a heavier droplet size so this head features a maximum drop volume of 18pl at 30kHz or 24pl at 20kHz, an increase from the original drop size of 12pl at 30kHz or 18pl at 20kHz. It should be able to cope with speeds of 75mpm across an effective print width of 108.33mm. Integrating the piezo actuator also makes for a simpler and more robust structure which is stronger and more durable.
This is a significant announcement given that the original KJ4 heads, which were launched back in 2007, were widely used in a number of the earlier single pass printers, and will likely mean that a number of those printer vendors will announce new versions with faster speeds at this year’s Drupa show. I’ve already covered part of this story at last year’s IJC event here, and you can find more details from kyocera.co.uk.