Printer head relies on welding rather than adhesives

May 19, 2005
Many printheads are built up of layers with adhesives holding the entire assembly together.

But adhesives can interact with and ruin inks. To get around this limitation and build a sturdier, more rugged printhead, engineers at PicoJet Inc., Portland, Oreg. (picojet.com), ultrasonically weld several stainless-steel plates together to form the PJ-N256 dropon-demand printhead. This design prevents ceramic piezoelectric material from entering the fluid channels and blocking nozzles.

Each nozzle has a piezoceramic actuator. Applying a voltage expands the actuator and it pushes down on a diaphragm plate forcing out ink droplets. Each independently addressable nozzle assembly can spit out 10,000 drops/sec at 6 to 8 m/sec. A complete printhead consists of 256 nozzles in a 16 16 array. It delivers 300-dpi resolutions and can be used for four-color printing on foam board, canvas, textiles, glass, metal, plastic and, of course, paper. The all-metal ink channel handles aggressive ink chemistries, including UV-curable, oil, water, solvent, hot wax, and conductive inks.

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