Memjet announces new DuraLink printhead

Memjet has launched a brand new platform, DuraLink, that promises longer life heads and more flexibility than its original offering. Actually, this was first announced three weeks ago in the US but not widely picked up on this side of the Atlantic, which seems like a PR-failure given the importance of this news to Memjet’s future.

The Memjet DuraLink printhead is a MEMs-based thermal printhead with 70,400 nozzles.

Memjet is one of those companies that produces a really interesting technology but has never quite lived up to its promise. Essentially, the Memjet printheads offer high speed single pass inkjet printing, which was truly ground breaking when it was first announced 10 years ago. Several companies have developed Memjet-based printers, most notably in the labels sector, but the short life of the original heads and the use of dye-based aqueous inks that required coated substrates has limited this. This original system has now been renamed VersaPass.

DuraLink is based upon a new printhead, which appears to be a further development of the existing Memjet Waterfall heads in that it’s a thermal inkjet head and has the same 70,400 nozzles and each head has the same 216mm print width. However, the new head is faster, with speeds up to 203mpm, with up to eight colours. It can achieve resolution of 1600 x 1585 dpi at 75mpm. It uses a single drop size at 2.2 picolitres

Each head prints a single colour. Each pixel column is printed by five nozzles, so there is a reasonable level of redundancy built in. Memjet is promising longer life for the heads, around 1 billion ejections per nozzle.

More importantly, Memjet has now switched to a pigment ink, which should enable it to print to a broader range of substrates. Thus it can print to plain papers, inkjet treated but uncoated and inkjet coated media.

Memjet is continuing with its strategy of offering integrated print modules to OEM manufacturers, which should make it a lot easier to develop new printers. There are different modules for specific features such as ink supply, maintenance and data management. Nonehteless it’s relatively straightforward to stitch several heads together to create a page-wide array though you will need separate arrays for each colour. In addition, the maximum print width has increased to 2.5m, up from the 42ins or 1m of the previous generation.


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