Case Studies: Inkjet Analysis
September 30, 2009
Trident Industrial Inkjet, manufacturer of industrial inkjet print head technology, has chosen the JetXpert system from ImageXpert (Nashua, NH) for accurate and repeatable in-flight droplet analysis.
ImageXpert’s JetXpert system combines state-of-the-art, proprietary strobing technology with customized optics and proprietary ImageXpert software to provide a flexible platform for analyzing the performance of any print head through drop-in-flight analysis and visualization. This calibrated system returns results in real-world units such as picoliters and meters per second.
“Trident reviewed a number of drop watcher providers. We chose ImageXpert’s JetXpert system because of the system compactness, and its capabilities to provide droplet velocity and droplet angle deviation,” says Steve Liker, business development manager, Trident-ITW. “Another key capability was its ability to automatically and quickly measure droplet volumes. We compared the drop volume measurement results provided by the JetXpert and found that they were within a few percent of Trident’s drop volume measurements taken through tedious gravimetric (weight) measurements. That sold us on the ImageXpert system.”
Measuring the in-flight characteristics of ink drops under different conditions can aid in optimizing system settings, ink formulation and printer performance. Manufacturers of inkjet heads, head driver electronics, inks, and integrated printing and material deposition systems benefit from analysis of drops in flight. Triggered by the drive signal of the print head, JetXpert can be used with any print head or print head technology.
The very short minimum strobe pulse width (125 nanoseconds) results in excellent image clarity with minimal motion blur. Powerful strobe control software allows for customization of the strobe settings for each application and experimental setup. ImageXpert software is used for automated drop analysis including drop trajectory, velocity and volume, as well as other features as desired.
“Customers require accurate data to enable them to make educated print head and fluid selections,” says Liker. “The JetXpert system offers that accuracy and offers the ability to capture significant amounts of data quickly for optimum efficiency.”
The strobe software also enables animated visualization of drops in flight for more detailed observation of jetted drops during flight providing greater insight into print head performance. Movies and images can be saved. JetXpert has several optional hardware configurations including an automated head scanning capability for analysis of the output of every jet, and a second camera for visualization of faceplate wetting.
Offering unparalleled flexibility in both hardware and software, JetXpert is an affordable and powerful solution for measurement and visualization of drops in flight and is appropriate for both R&D environments and for verification in production. And, at less than 2 feet wide, the small footprint is very suitable for environments where space is at a premium.