Inkjet Technology

An innovation that changes the world sets itself clearly apart from the rest.

Fujifilm Inkjet Technology is backed with the power of synergy and integration for development.

Inkjet technology has the "power of innovation" that pioneers the future of various industries. Yet, not all of the manufacturers could generate this power easily. Holding the key is not a collection of "individual technologies" but the "power of integration" to coordinate them for overall system optimization. Fujifilm is one of a limited number of truly comprehensive manufacturers in the world that have both the "individual power" and "integration power" at the same time. The company has the strength of being able to develop printheads, inks and image processing systems within the Fujifilm Group, in addition to the ability to deliver stable distribution of advanced inkjet technology worldwide.

Integration

To say that a comprehensive manufacturer's strength can be gauged by its capacity to integrate is no exaggeration. Fujifilm continues to pursue and practice the integration of technology with technology and products with products, interactively linking "printhead, ink, and image optimization". This is the greatest motive power promoting inkjet innovation.

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Printheads

Playing the key role in "printhead development" is FUJIFILM Dimatix, Inc. a piezoelectric industrial inkjet printhead manufacturer that boasts the world's largest scale and highest level of technological capability. The company has a lineup of various types of printheads, catering to market needs on required resolutions, ink types and ink drop sizes. Its diverse collection of printheads is used in a wide range of devices including digital presses, Super wide format printers and ceramic and textile printers, winning high acclaim in their respective fields.

Main printheads supplied

●Samba ●StarFire ●Q-class

Inks

Fujifilm developed the VIVIDIA range of water-based pigment inks for Jet Press printers in-house, while partnering with FUJIFILM Speciality Ink Systems Ltd. for UV inks and with FUJIFILM Imaging Colorants Ltd. for pigment and dye inks to introduce a variety of inks that suit the characteristics of various printheads. The lineup caters to not only Fujifilm-branded printers but also other companies' printers for both consumer and business use, covering a wide variety of market needs.

Main inks supplied

●Water-based dye inks ●Water-based pigment inks ●Water-based latex inks ●UV inks ●Solvent inks ●Solvent UV inks

Image optimization

It is not out of the ordinary for a company to be able to develop printheads as well as inks. Fujifilm, with eyes set on one step ahead, has made all-out efforts into research for "image processing technology," integrating a comprehensive range of associated fields such as materials, devices, systems and hardware. Leading this initiative are the company's expert R&D teams including the FUJIFILM Advanced Marking Research Laboratories and FUJIFILM Synthetic Organic Chemistry Laboratories. They are conducting a series of experiments, analyses and empirical studies to develop inkjet products of high added value, capable of drawing the maximum performance from printheads and inks, in our challenge for "technological innovation with visible results."

Fujifilm Inkjet Technology is superior in terms of the scope of applications and level of reliability.

Innovation involves the power to deepen its benefits and the power to broaden the scope of application. Fujifilm Inkjet Technology has pursued and fulfilled both of them. The company has identified a series of fresh needs in the printing industry, and pioneered new business potential in a variety of industries outside the printing world. Fujifilm Inkjet Technology will continue to bring innovation in increasing depth, width and beauty.

Fields that utilize Fujifilm Inkjet Technology

Since the company can freely combine high-performance inks and printheads to build systems optimized for specific usage, Fujifilm Inkjet Technology has applications even outside the world of printing. Not only has it been applied in general commercial printing, printers for general use and sign displays, the inkjet's refined expressive powers are being exerted in diverse fields such as textile, 3D print, laboratory equipment and tiles.

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Fujifilm Inkjet Technology Three powers and five superiorities

Requests from customers always excite developers. Fujifilm always takes on multiple challenges from the user's perspective for the innovation of inkjet technology. Fully utilizing the "power of image design", "power of material development" and "power of system integration", allowed all five characteristics, "high productivity", "versatility", "safety", "reproducibility" and "durability" that were previously in a tradeoff relationship and difficult to develop simultaneously, to be improved at the same time.

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High durability

The introduction of the ink recirculation mechanism to a printhead has increased the reliability jetting with the most complex inks and improved printhead durability. Detailed design perspectives are employed in pursuit of operation "reliability" instead of"security."

High Quality

The "Rapic*" technology for achieving optimum and stable reproducibility on actual printing stock is combined with Fujifilm's proprietary image processing technologies to pursue high quality from various angles.

  • * See detailed description of Rapic technology on page 12

Advanced safety

Making use of advanced organic material technology, Fujifilm ensures environmentally-considerate ink formulation from the stage of dye / pigment design in order to develop safe inks that are kind to both people and nature.

High productivity

Fujifilm has achieved the high speed single-pass printing method in which inkjet printheads as wide as printing stock width scan at once in an intended printing direction, as well as the duplex variable printing for added efficiency, so as to increase productivity.

Media versatility

Fujifilm has developed highly versatile inks that can be set in a variety of media, facilitating inkjet use in various types of businesses and diverse range of jobs.

Jet Press720S

By integrating printhead, ink and image processing technology, Fujifilm's advanced inkjet technology has simultaneously achieved high resolution and high stability that exceeds offset printing, as well as high productivity that exceeds conventional inkjet printing. It is highly praised for its total performance making it usable in both commercial printing and package printing. The JetPress720S is being introduced across the world.

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Key technologies introduced

  • High-definition printhead created by the Silicon MEMS process "Samba"
  • "Rapic Technology" that makes high resolution printing possible
  • "Inline sensor" sustains the best resolution with auto correct

Package Printing Field

MJP20W

A UV inkjet press newly developed for reverse printing on flexible packaging. The newly developed UV ink greatly reduces odor, has vibrant colors and excellent stability. Ink will not peel off even when the seal is heated, making it great for use in packages for bag making.

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Key technologies introduced

  • EUCON technology
    • "Undercoat technology" that prevents the ink bleeding
    • "Nitrogen purge technology" that reduces odor of ink

Sign/Display Field

Acuity LED 1600 II

An adaptable flat bed type LED-UV ink jet printer can conduct multilayer printing, simultaneously jetting white and clear ink. It realizes the highest productivity in the printer of its class while being appropriate for an entry model for companies considering entry in the wide format printing field.

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Key technologies introduced

  • Q-class Printhead with excellent consistency enabling high speed and high resolution printing
  • High sensitive UV ink producing vivid and vibrant colors
  • A two-stage exposure method that controls the quality of the print surface

Industrial Printing Field

Solvent UV ink

A high-performance hybrid type UV ink with vibrant colors and rub resistance

High elongation ink

Innovative UV ink marked by an outstanding stretching characteristic. It is suitable for resin type materials such as signs and display as well as operating panels on household appliances and industrial equipment that are processed by thermal forming.

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Key technologies introduced

  • Material processing technology for photopolymerization
  • Technology to control properties of polymers

Fujifilm Inkjet Innovation is Based on Core Technology with Great Magnitude, Creating New Values for the Future

Inkjet is moving into mainstream industrial and package printing and the combined resources of the Fujifilm inkjet technology group are focused on addressing the specific challenges that these new markets pose.
To understand these challenges and the methodology that Fujifilm is employing to address them, it is useful to consider the particular needs of the industrial and package printing businesses. The range of materials being printed is vast and the range of applications is diverse, but many of the requirements are common. Viewing distances are typically short and quality expectation is high, so spatial resolution of print must also be very high. Inks must have a defined functionality such as adhesion and resistance properties in order to provide the end use properties that are demanded by the application. These are frequently tied to rigid specifications. Finally, production volumes are typically large, requiring high speed printing. It is this combination of print resolution, ink functionality and print speed that define the task for Fujifilm's inkjet technology group.

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Billions of drops per second

A high speed digital printer may have to place up to 15 billion droplets of ink accurately, every second in order to form a high resolution image at production speed. Achieving this and doing so with a specially designed ink that has all of the required end use properties is a significant challenge, requiring a combination of advanced technologies in order to provide a final solution.

100 microseconds in the life of an inkjet droplet

It takes around 100 microseconds for a typical inkjet droplet to be formed, travel to the substrate, land on the surface and start forming the image.
In this time, an Olympic sprinter will run 1mm, and a Formula 1 race car will travel less than 1cm.
In the inkjet printer itself, an individual nozzle may fire up to a further 10 droplets of ink while the first droplet is still in flight. To understand the technologies needed to make this happen and how these technologies work together, it is useful to consider what is actually going on while an inkjet droplet makes its journey from nozzle plate to substrate, and to review the technology that makes all of this possible.

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Speed of 3 different drop sizes can be tailored to land at same place on substrate.

The diagram below shows inkjet droplets in flight and details some of the characteristics of the various components that must all be tuned in order for the overall operation to be optimized. There are a great many of these properties that have to work together in order to obtain the best overall performance so it is useful to split these into three groups:

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Jetting performance

The printhead is the heart of any inkjet printer, and the design and construction of the printheads determine a number of key properties including spatial resolution, print speed and ink deposit. Fujifilm industrial printheads are designed for a range of applications, and versions are available that are compatible with most common ink types including UV, water based, hybrid and oil based systems.
Once the printhead has been integrated into a suitable system, it receives ink at the correct temperature and flow rate from the ink delivery system.
The printhead is also fed with image data that tells the head when to fire a droplet, and a waveform that tells it how to fire the droplet. Finally, the environment including temperature and pressure is regulated to ensure optimum performance.
The fluid characteristics of the ink itself are carefully matched to the printhead in order to optimize drop formation. These fluid characteristics are what makes the droplet round, and keep it moving in the right direction without breaking up, ensuring that satellite or mist formation is minimized.
The ability to match printheads and inks for a particular application and to tune waveforms to optimize jetting performance is a key Fujifilm technology, and this is illustrated below. This, together with the ability to tune the fluid characteristics of the inks mean that Fujifilm is able to optimize jetting performance and ensure maximum performance and reliability.

Waveform development

A waveform is a series of electronic signals that is used to fire an ink droplet from a drop-on-demand piezo printhead. It determines everything from the size and velocity of an inkjet droplet to the speed of printing and is a major contributor to overall system reliability.
This diagram shows a series of waveforms that would be used to produce droplets in a greyscale printhead. Each of the larger pulses starts to eject a droplet that combine on the nozzle plate to form a large droplet. A 'cancel pulse' can be included to break the droplet off cleanly, minimising satellite and mist formation.
Waveforms have to be precisely tuned to the dynamic response between the ink and the printhead itself, and Fujifilm is able to create highly optimized waveforms due to its in depth knowledge of printheads and inks.

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Image Optimization

Fujifilm Dimatix produce a range of inkjet printheads for industrial and package printing applications as well as established wide format graphic printing. These class leading printheads employ a range of proprietary Fujifilm technologies and combine these properties to produce some of the best and most reliable printheads available today. These technologies include:

  • Redijet technology incorporating ink recirculation past the nozzle for quick start up, long standby times and reliable operation
  • Fujifilm non-wetting nozzle plate coating, reducing contamination and helping to maximize up time with high duty cycles
  • Silicon MEMS architecture allowing 'printhead on a chip' construction, maximizing nozzle density and minimizing drop size
  • Versadrop variable drop management, allowing greyscale printing to enhance visual print quality
  • High frequency operation providing high speed printing
  • Compatibility with most inkjet ink technologies including water based, UV, hybrid, oil based ceramic and the associated maintenance fluids
  • Unique Fujifilm piezo ceramic with superior piezoelectric performance
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Fujifilm Starfire™ printhead for high volume printing with most ink types
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Fujifilm Samba™ ultra high resolution, high speed Silicon MEMS printheads, designed to be compatible with most ink types

Ink functionality

The properties of the finished print are determined to a large degree by the chemical make-up or 'functionality' of the ink. These properties include all of the end use requirements such as color, adhesion and resistance properties together with any specific properties that may be needed for the end application. In addition, the chemistry of the ink plays a major part in the way that the image is formed.
Many of these properties come into play a fraction of a second after the inkjet droplet has landed on the substrate. During this time, the droplet has to wet the surface by a predetermined amount so that the image is formed correctly, and has to start the process of bonding with the surface. A short time later, the ink needs to dry if it is a water based ink, or cure if it is a UV system. It is during this process that the properties such as chemical and physical resistances are formed. The lightfastness is determined partly by the selection of the pigment, and partly by the balance of the ink system, so these properties are incorporated into the design specification for the ink. Pigments have to be dispersed into the ink, and dispersion science is a key Fujifilm technology.
All of the components in the ink have to be tuned to each other as the overall performance requires everything to work together.

Inks for industrial applications

Fujifilm produces a range of UV and water based inks for a variety of industrial and package printing applications. This includes inks for labels, flexible packaging, corrugated packaging, textiles and decorative laminates. In addition, there are specially designed inks for specific applications including ultra-high lightfast inks for exterior design, thermo forming inks and inks for glass and other difficult materials.

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Image optimization

In order to increase system reliability, the printhead, ink, and image processing system must function as one to bring out the maximum potential of its performance. For example, even if a printhead creates high precision ink droplets and places them quickly and accurately on the substrate, if the ink does not adhere to the substrate, high quality dot shape cannot be achieved. In order to maximize the capability of the printhead and ink, technology such as special coating for the substrate and catalysts to speed up the chemical reaction will be necessary. Such technology like the "Rapic technology" implemented in the "Jet Press720S" and "EUCON technology" implemented in the "MJP20W" shall be highlighted and introduced.

Rapic technology and preconditioner

"Rapic technology" is Fujifilm's proprietary technology for realizing high-quality drawing on printing paper. In general inkjet printing, drops of ink that are jetted one after another are pulled to each other due to surface tension and become one large ink drop.With "Rapic technology", migration of pigments within ink is prevented by applying preconditioner that reacts with pigments of "VIVIDIATM" ink in advance so that "bleeding" dose not occur even when drops of ink are pulled to each other. Thus, jetting performance of inkjet is drawn out to the fullest and high-quality drawing is realized by forming distinct dots on aimed locations on the paper.

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<EUCON technology>
‘Pre-coating technology’ to prevent ink bleeding

UV ink has excellent property in drying speed by UV irradiation. However, it tends to bring ink bleeding when large amount of ink is jetted directly on the plastic film, which does not absorb any ink. FUJIFILM has developed specific UV curable primer to hold the color ink dot on the right position of the pre-coated substrate.
The UV curable primer is partially cured and CMYKW inkjet ink lands into the partially cured pre-coated layer to achieve brilliant color image.

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Fujifilm Inkjet Technology has a Broad Support Network

Fujifilm's manufacturing pri-nciple is clear, “to embed quality and reliability in the product and manufacturing process”.
A broad global network for “research, development, manufacturing, and sales” has been established, creating closer partnership with a more diversifi¬ed group of suppliers. This network exhibits great strength in pursuing stable and sustainable supply of inkjet products as well as pursuing quality and reliability of products.
There are approximately 6,500 members of the Fujifilm Group worldwide. Each individual and company cooperate with conviction to take on the challenge everyday to create innovation that will change the world.

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FUJIFILM Speciality Ink Systems Ltd.

Established in 1951 as the "Sericol Group", the company was acquired by Fujifilm in 2005. Beginning with the development of ink for screen printing, the company now focuses mainly in manufacturing ink for industrial ink jet printers. In particular, it develops the advanced wide format printing system using its wealth of knowledge regarding UV ink accumulated since the establishment of the company.

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FUJIFILM Imaging Colorants Ltd.

Established in 1985 as the "Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd." it rose in a short period as the top manufacturer of ink dyes for ink jet printers, and was acquired by Fujifilm in 2006. The company plans to expand its business with advanced technology that have won them high shares in the field of water-based/pigment ink for consumer use inkjet printers and also by implementing Fujifilm's synthetic chemistry and technology for dispersal and processing raw materials.

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FUJIFILM Dimatix,Inc.

Established in 1984 under the name "Spectra". It later grew rapidly as the world's number one printhead manufacturer under the corporate name "Dimatix". Being acquired by Fujifilm in 2006, the company became a great pillar that supports the inkjet business. Among the many lineups, the "SAMBA" is known worldwide as a high resolution printhead manufactured using the high precision MEMS technology.

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Fujifilm Advanced Marking Research Laboratories

A state-of-the-art laboratory established to bring about innovation unique to Fujifilm in the field of color marking where diversification of methodology and the expansion of market are taking place. Fujifilm's color material technology, device technology, equipment development technology developed over the years have been fused to provide a variety of industries, not limited to the printing industry, with a high-speed high-quality inkjet print system. The research results are shared with partner companies as feedback. The laboratory makes daily efforts to bring innovation to "printhead handling technology", "marking process technology", such as drying and settling of ink, and "image processing technology".

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Fujifilm Synthetic Organic Chemistry Laboratory

Utilizing advanced organic material technology at the Fujifilm Advanced Research Laboratories, materials for coloring and additives are being developed. Contributed to the wide dissemination of marketed ink jet printers by unveiling the color retardation mechanism of the dye used for ink and greatly increasing the ozone resistance. The results were highly praised not only within the industry but also from the academic world.