The idea behind today’s modern inkjet printing goes back to the mid-1700s
…when static electricity experiments were done by Jean-Antoine Nollet, a French clergyman and physicist. Nollet was particularly interested in the new science at the time of electricity and in 1750 he published findings stating that water flowing from a vessel would convert into a fine spray if the vessel was electrified and placed near an electrical ground.
In the mid-19th Century, this process was modified and used by the well-known Scottish physicist and engineer, William Thomson, a mathematical physicist and engineer working at the University of Glasgow. Thomson, who later became known as Lord Kelvin, patented the Syphon Recorder which used static electricity to trace droplets of ink describing incoming telegraph messages onto a roll of paper tape.Lord Kelvin’s invention involved placing an ink nozzle inside a coil that was suspended between the poles of a strong magnet. When no telegraph message was received, the nozzle remained stationary and a straight was etched onto the roll of paper as it passed under the nozzle. When an incoming signal from a telegraph message was received, a current was sent through the coil which caused the nozzle to deflect a stream of ink, resulting in movement of the line on the paper. The process is is now known as continuous inkjet printing.
Continuous Inkjet technology remained a relative scientific curiosity until the development of the computer chip in the mid-Twentieth Century. At that time, Dr. Richard Sweet of Stanford University created high speed oscillograph that applied an electrical charge to an ink stream that allowed ink drop droplets of even size and spacing to be placed in a pattern onto a field.
Today’s CIJ printers work by creating a continuous stream of ink through a gun body and tiny nozzle by using a high pressure pump. Since the process makes no contact with the substrate, there’s no chance of damage. This allows the printer to work at high speeds which is an important consideration to most industrial manufacturers.
Many industries use CIJ printers to create expiration dates, bar codes, and other data because of their extreme precision and capability to print clearly on a variety of different surfaces. The printers’ results are generally clear and indelible that can be easily scanned by machines or read by the general public.
Most of the CIJ printers in use today can be used in almost any sort of printing environment, including dusty or humid areas. Also, CIJ printing technology is considered ideal for businesses and manufacturers who print continually, all day long, or only occasionally. CIJ printers can also be used with different types of ink depending on the user’s needs, including solvent-based inks and inks using alcohol or ketones so they dry quickly.
CIJ technology is used in a wide array of industries because it is versatile and has the ability to mark onto a large number of substrates. CIJ printers are today’s most popular option among technology printers and their future seems to be secure for at least the foreseeable future.