Memjet has made improvements to its DuraLink printhead, announcing a new version called DuraLink XL as a result of feedback from current and future OEM partners.
These improvements should make the printhead more robust, with up to four times the expected life cycle, now up to 200 litres. Memjet says this is down to improvements in the ink and the construction of the firing chamber. This longer life should make it easier for users to plan for printhead replacements to happen during normal maintenance or paper-roll changes. In any case, this is a significant step forward, given that these heads are aimed at production printers.
Memjet will continue to offer the existing DuraLink heads so that OEMs can choose whether or not to use those heads with their 50 litre life span, or the new XL versions. This in turn means that print service providers will have to be careful which head their using when these DuraLink-based printers make it to market. That said, Memjet says that both versions of the DuraLink heads are physically identical so it may be that these heads are interchangeable.
Eric Owen, general manager at Memjet, pointed out that several OEMs are in the process of developing printers using these heads, explaining: “As these partners enter into the lengthy development process, they provide valuable insight on how DuraLink meets their needs, and, more importantly, how we can make the technology even better. These enhancements reflect how Memjet works collaboratively with our OEM partners to ensure our printing technology — and the solutions created with it — has the features, functionality and growth potential to meet the demands of print markets today and well into the future.”
Memjet has also added features to appeal to the packaging market, with Owen pointing out that almost 60 percent of the OEMs working with the DuraLink heads are focused on packaging. Thus it’s now possible to position the DuraLink XL heads up to three-millimeters above the substrate, which is mainly of use in the corrugated market, where there’s a risk that the boards might hit the nozzle plate. In addition, the heads have a proprietary hardened silicon surface to withstand any nozzle strikes.
In addition, Memjet has added orange, green and violet to its range of inks to create a seven-colour option for an expanded colour gamut that its OEM partners can take advantage of. The new inks work with both versions of the DuraLink printheads with no changes to the data path or print modules. Sadly, no progress on white ink, which is particularly difficult for thermal printheads though not impossible.
The new XL heads are available to OEMs now. It’s likely that we’ll start seeing announcements of these new printers from early next year though I doubt that many will ship much before Drupa in June 2020. But I think that it’s safe to assume that we will be hearing a lot about Memjet next year. You can find more details from memjet.com.