I remember some years ago discussing a new wider thermal inkjet printhead with the team at HP.
This concept promised an excellent opportunity for packaging and labeling OEMs to offer an alternative solution to the legacy print technologies used in their equipment.
As you are probably aware, thermal inkjet (TIJ) printheads are usually 12.8mm wide, limiting the print height (for a single printhead) to about 1/2″.
Many OEMs have stacked multiple printheads to overcome this limitation, but this as never appealed to me as a long-term solution.
HP has also introduced a 1-inch wide TIJ printhead, but this doesn’t seem to be widely adopted.
So, I was excited to see the press release for the new HP Thermal Inkjet (TIJ) 108mm Bulk Printing Solution a few days ago.
With a print height of up to 4 inches, the new printer is based on HP’s TIJ 4.0 technology, allowing larger print formats to be produced without the need for stitching multiple heads.
The new printer also claims a throw distance (distance from the printhead to the substrate) of 10mm, a big increase on the popular TIJ 2.5 systems in everyday use.
Unlike TIJ 2.5, the new printer uses a bulk ink system with a 775ml capacity) to allow for longer production runs with the need for ink replenishment – for high-speed applications, the printer can be supplied with two bulk ink systems, allowing non-stop production.
Where could this new printer be used?
My main interest in the concept was as an alternative for thermal transfer printers on print/apply labelers.
The thermal printer is often the limiting factor when it comes to running labelers on high-speed packaging lines, and using a TIJ-type printer that can print a 4-inch wide label would be very interesting.
The new printer would also be ideal for variable information printing on card printers and directly to secondary packaging.
The ink is water-based, suggesting the printer is unsuitable for non-porous materials.
If I was still an OEM for print apply labeling, I’d be looking to get one of these new printers from HP as soon as I could.
What do you think?
Download the HP datasheet here: https://h20195.www2.hp.com/v2/GetPDF.aspx/4AA6-4007ENW.pdf