Quantica partners with ImageXpert

Quantica, a start-up that has developed its own printhead, and ImageXpert, which provides printhead analytics, have agreed a strategic partnership around high viscosity inkjet printing for printing both 2D and 3D materials that the two companies claim will help transform traditional analog manufacturing processes into digital.

ImageXpert will be familiar to everyone developing inkjet printing systems as its drop watchers are widely used around the world to analyse individual drops as they are jetted from inkjet printheads. This helps developers track down any problems and optimise performance of heads and the associated electronics and waveforms, as well as the inks and print systems. 

ImageXpert offers various tools for drop analysis including the JetXpert Dropwatcher, which is based around a high speed high resolution imaging system. This allows users to capture the drops in real time and to measure their volume, shape and velocity, as well as checking issues such as consistency between nozzles. It’s possible to add extra cameras to monitor the nozzle plate as well as a system to collect ink mist and enclosures to control humidity and temperature.

Quantica is a relatively new player that has developed the NovoJet printhead, which I’ve previously covered, as part of its push into developing 3D printing systems. The key aspect of this head is that it can jet very high viscosity materials, which allows it to work with materials that are close to those used in analogue technologies. That in turn means that there’s no need to develop a variation on those materials that is fluid enough to jet through the tiny nozzles of most existing drop-on-demand printheads. Quantica has already entered into a partnership with Xaar to help it manufacture this head. 

Quantica has also put together a development tool, that it calls JetPack, to help potential customers evaluate how their materials will work with the NovoJet printheads for different applications. Julie Kuhrt, Quantica’s head of marketing, told me: “The key benefit of the JetPack in terms of Quantica’s product ecosystem is that it slides directly in Quantica’s NovoJet Open system which allows users to go from jetting trials to printing trials.

ImageXpert’s JetXpert Drop watcher has been integrated into the Quantica JetPack development tool.

Quantica began developing the Jetpack in 2022, and then started work to integrate the ImageXpert systems in 2023. This integration includes some customization in order to work with the NovoJet printheads. This means that although several other vendors also make drop watchers, users may find that they require more effort to work with the JetPack and may not include all of its capabilities. 

Kuhrt explained: “The goal of the ImageXpert partnership is two-fold. For those who already have an ImageXpert system, it is easy for users to start working with Quantica’s NovoJet printhead. And for those who don’t have a system but are looking to get into inkjet, Quantica and ImageXpert offer customizable packages based on each customer’s distinct needs.”

Paul Best, ImageXpert CEO, added: “We believe that this partnership will unlock and redefine what is possible with inkjet technology. The integration of our analysis systems with Quantica’s innovative printheads will give users in novel applications the tools and confidence to explore inkjet technology for the first time.”

Quantica, which first developed its head for an additive manufacturing solution for the dental market, is now actively exploring various applications in the electronics industry, spanning conductive tracks, insulation layers, solder resists, solder pastes, heat sinks, component connectors, encapsulations and wafer coatings. Consequently, Quantica and ImageXpert will exhibit together at the Lopec show in Munich next month, which covers flexible, organic, and printed electronics.

Ramon Borrell, Quantica CTO, noted: “We are pleased to announce our partnership with ImageXpert to drive the advancement of inkjet technology while also enabling the development of novel materials. This collaboration marks another step forward in the adoption of our NovoJet technology.”

The integrated NovoJet head and JetPack tool should be available from May 2024. You can find further details from imagexpert.com and on Quantica from q3d.io.


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