Seiko aims to capture different markets with its new water-based printheads

Seiko’s Printek Division, the department responsible for developing industrial inkjet printheads, has unveiled Seiko RC1536 printheads for use with water-based inks, which the company said is a “complete solution for different market segments”.

25 May 2022 | By Noel D'Cunha

Stephanie Rohn, marketing manager at Seiko’s Printek division, said, “Apart from the ceramic market, where the product was successfully beta-tested, the product is now being tested in other fields such as corrugated cardboard, 3D printing and even textile.”

Seiko’s engineers initially believed that the printhead architecture was compatible with water-based inks, but soon realised that water is corrosive and it could damage critical parts of the printhead, making it necessary to adapt it to this new eco-friendly process. Rohn said, “We realised that corrosion was not occurring during compatibility testing but during a pulse durability test performed while testing the product. In this kind of test the Piezo is continuously moved within the printhead to simulate the printhead’s life cycle. These tests needed to be performed after every iteration and kept the engineers very busy until they finally identified the parts that remain stable longer than the expected lifetime of the printhead and therefore do not limit its functionality.”

Although products capable of printing water-based inks are already available on the market, Seiko went a step ahead to bring the reliability and robustness of its RC1536 printhead series to applications with water-based ink. “Starting from the ceramics market, where more and more environmental norms are disrupting the production, the RC1536 printheads can be replaced one-to-one with its existing oil-based versions.”

Seiko’s next goal is to continue to work closely with ink manufacturers to identify the limitations and potential for developing solutions across all sectors. “There is a high demand for reliable printheads capable of handling high drop volumes and a wide range of operations, which Seiko will explore,” said Rohn.

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