Meteor launches printhead waveform service

Meteor Inkjet, which mainly develops electronics and software to drive industrial inkjet printheads, has now announced a new collection of services for ink characterisation, print reliability analysis and printhead waveform development and optimisation.

Meteor Inkjet has launched this DropWatcher, which supports all the usual industrial inkjet printheads.

Waveform development is one of the dark arts of the printhead business since the waveform has a major impact on the performance of the printhead and the way that it forms the ink drops and therefore should be tailored to the ink or fluid used and the ambient printing conditions, as well as the desired performance parameters of the printing system being developed. Some printhead developers regard waveforms as intellectual property, while others are happy to let customers freely adapt them.

Naturally, because nothing is ever simple in the inkjet world, waveform optimisation involves a number of aspects, which Meteor Inkjet has split into distinct services. These include: real-time evaluation of drops in flight; process mapping of drop volume and velocity response to drive voltage and frequency; visualisation and image capture of drop and ligament formation; analysis of a fluid’s rheology; determination of printhead open time and latency; assessment of jetting reliability, fluid build-up and misting; and print reliability testing using both standard images and customer-provided application-specific images. 

Matthew Pullen, Meteor’s product manager for DropWatching Systems, explained: “Our new service offering fills a significant gap in the market. Ink manufacturers and print system developers can now access Meteor’s committed team of technical specialists to optimise fluid and printhead combinations for specific application requirements and progress ink formulation efforts in a time efficient way.”

This announcement builds on Meteor Inkjet’s DropWatcher products, which were launched at the end of last year. DropWatchers are a key tool in understanding how a printhead behaves in any given set-up as they can be used to film and analyse the drops of ink as they leave the nozzles. The Meteor DropWatchers can be driven from a Windows 10 PC and support all the major industrial inkjet printheads, including Fujifilm Dimatix, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Ricoh, Seiko Instruments, Toshiba TEC and Xaar.

It’s worth noting that Meteor Inkjet is a subsidiary of Global Graphics and this new service approach sounds very much like the way that Global Graphics itself offers services to its OEM customers. And given that Global Graphics appears to have had some success with its PrintFlat service offering, this sounds like a very sensible way service offering.  

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