Xaar is a world-leader in the development of industrial inkjet technology. This is an extremely versatile non-contact technology; it can be used to apply a wide range of fluids with precision accuracy to a range of different substrates. The Xaar 1003 printhead can consistently pump out 42 million drops of ink a second, and the 2001 can pump out considerably more.
There are two key types of inkjet printing – Continuous Inkjet (CIJ – continuous flow of ink) and Drop-on-Demand (DOD – a drop of ink is only produced when it is needed). Xaar’s works with Drop-on-Demand inkjet technology.
DOD inkjet is divided into three classes – Valvejet (which uses needle vales and solenoids to control the flow of ink); Thermal inkjet (a current is applied to a tiny heating element which heats up rapidly as a result, causing the ink to vaporise and bubble within the printhead chamber, forcing the ink out of the nozzle); and Piezoelectric inkjet, which is Xaar’s specialism.
Piezoelectric inkjet technology uses piezoelectric material as a key active component within the inkjet printhead. Piezoelectric material exhibits a phenomenon called the piezo effect – i.e. when force is applied to certain (natural) materials, a charge (electricity) is produced. Another effect – the reverse piezo effect – occurs when you apply electricity to the material – in this case the material deforms (ie moves). Piezoelectric printheads incorporate PZT, which is a manufactured and poled piezoelectric material. All piezo printheads work in the same way. The material is deformed in order to fire an ink drop.
The printhead is the part of a printing system that contains nozzles for jetting ink. Piezoelectric printheads are made up of an active component called the 'actuator', a series of pipes and channels collectively known as the 'fluid path' and some electronics to control the individual channels. The actuator contains a series of parallel walls, made of PZT, that make up the channels. In Xaar’s bulk technology printheads, the electrical current is applied to the walls of the ink channels and the walls move as a result. Movement of the channel walls creates acoustic pressure waves which in turn eject ink from the nozzles at the end or side of each of the channels.
From the start of Xaar 30 years ago – based on exploiting a portfolio of patents – creation and protecting Intellectual Property has been the foundation of our success and helps us to stay at the forefront of industrial inkjet printhead development. Everyday, we continue to push the boundaries of inkjet as seen by the release of the ImagineX technology platform – supported by a new portfolio of IP.
Total patents filed to date
The ImagineX platform will provide the basis for our next series of product launches, enhancing the capabilities of inkjet printing and opening additional opportunities for our OEM partners and end-users alike enabling us to push the boundaries of what's possible with powerful, reliable and efficient technology.
Discover the different types of piezo printhead architecture and how they operate.
We have a number of unique technologies which are incorporated into our printheads.