Exactly What is CIJ Printing?

For this article, we welcome Erryn Deane from Needham Ink, part of the Needham Group. Erryn brings a wealth of knowledge in ink and other manufacturing processes.

The idea behind today’s modern inkjet printing goes back to the mid-1700s


Jean-Antoine Nollet (19 November 1700 – 25 April 1770)

…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.

william thomson

William Thomson, Baron Kelvin, oil painting by Elizabeth King, 1886–87; in the National …
Courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery, London

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.


RFID identity theft protection

By the time you read this sentence, a hacker or thief could have stolen your credit card information three times over. Yes, it is that easy. Yes, it can be that quick. By exploiting a feature in your credit card called RFID or Radio Frequency Identification. What was supposed to be a highly functional and convenient feature that was meant to speed and ease the experience of transactions is being targeted by criminals to steal your information and hard earned money.

RFID allows data to be transferred from your card to the card reader and vice versa over empty air. Contactless transfer of information is the exact reason why RFID was developed. To determine if your credit card is equipped with RFID simply look for a symbol reminiscent of the WiFi symbol but pointing off to the side. Much easier to find is the gold rectangular chip usually embedded on the front of the card. Surprisingly, an overwhelming amount of RFID-ready card holders believe that their cards, money and information are safe the moment they slip it into their wallet. Well, they’re very, very wrong.

This technology utilises magnetic waves to transmit data back and forth in small distances. Unfortunately, the magnetic waves are so powerful and carry so much energy that they have the ability to pierce through clothing, padding, wallets and purses (up to a certain thickness). Criminals have caught on to this fact and are using portable readers, and a little close contact to skim your credit information right from under your nose. Using this tactic, these thieves can digitally pick your pockets while at the line in the grocery store, on the bus ride home or, heaven forbid, sitting idly beside you at church.

With such invisible means of thievery one can feel powerless, but there is a solutions and it’s an easy one. Special foil like material can be used to block or avert the magnetic waves emitted by RFID readers. By inserting your RFID-enabled credit card into a sleeve made of this material you can, in effect, prevent the skimming of the financial and personal information found in your credit cards. Just throw your credit card in the sleeve and throw it in your purse or wallet without worry. If you have multiple RFID credit cards it may be a good idea to purchase RFID blocking wallets which are practically wrapped in stuff. Products also exist that increase the convenience by allowing you ditch the wallet altogether. Take SafeSleeve’s cell phone cases for example. Their cell phone cases come equipped with slots for your credit cards and a bit of cash, but is also protected by RFID blocking material.

By using apparel loaded with RFID blocking material like those mentioned above and safe transaction practices you can drastically decrease the odds of having your data lifted from your credit card. And just imagine, with over a billion credit cards at risk in today’s environment, the best way to protect them from criminals may just lie in a simple foil.


Mechanics Meets Chemistry In New Way To Manipulate Matter

A fundamentally new way of manipulating matter and driving chemical reactions has been heralded as a chemistry breakthrough by many in the scientific community. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a novel way to use mechanical force to alter the direction of chemical reactions which yields results not previously obtainable using conventional conditions.

Normally during a chemical reaction, molecules need to overcome a barrier so that they can be transformed into useful products. This is usually accomplished by adding light, heat, pressure or some electrical potential to change the distribution of the reactants moving them into a new excited state.

By harnessing mechanical energy, the researchers say materials would more easily be able to repair themselves or at least indicate whether they’ve incurred any damage. Up until now, there was no way to direct usual chemical reactions in a specific direction. The researchers used ultrasound to force a reaction to go in two different pathways and by modifying the volume, they were able to change the reaction’s direction.

Ultrasound and some other mechanical techniques have previously been used to redirect reactions before but not in this type of application. There is some debate whether ultrasound works by making electrical changes in the molecules in to create actual mechanical stress, but the results indicate that however it works, there definitely are mechanical forces going on.

Future chemists may be thinking about using mechanical forces to activate a chemical reaction but this is the first time ultrasound has been shown to create the stress needed.

The demonstration proves that it is possible to use a mechanical force in such a way that it can redirect a chemical reaction to travel along a designated path. The scientists are hopeful that these results will open up an entirely new thread for chemists dealing with synthetic materials can explore.


Advanced Mechanical Horse Built For Therapy

Hippotherapy is a strategy designed to use the movements of a horse to treat patients with cerebral palsy and other neuromusculoskeletal disabilities. Patients are asked to ride a horse while under the direction of a licensed therapist. The movement of the horse drives the patient’s body, in particular the hips, in a way that is similar to human movements that naturally occur when they run. This rhythmic motion challenges the patient to try and anticipate and adapt to the movements of the horse in order to maintain their balance. The therapy is believed to help improve patients’ strength, flexibility, balance, muscle symmetry, posture and motor functions.

Use of hippotherapy was first described by Hippocrates in ancient Greece when he wrote a chapter on “natural exercise” and mentions horse riding. In 1952, Liz Hartel won a silver medal in equestrian sports at the Helsinki Olympics, explaining that horse riding had helped her recover from the effects of polio. Later, therapeutic riding centers opened throughout Europe in the 1960s and by the 1990s the practice had become so well-known that the American Hippotherapy Association was formed in the US.

Even though hippotherapy appears to help both children and adults with physical and mental disabilities, researchers say that getting patients to physically get onto a horse has been a major obstacle. Now, research scientists at Baylor University have constructed a mechanical horse for patients who are either afraid of riding a live horse or for those whom it might not be safe.

Baylor’s mechanical horse mimics the actions of a real horse by using a 3-D system with a saddle surface that moves in all directions in a cycling pattern. Engineering students at the school designed the device by studying the movements of an actual horse with video-motion photography. Additional research is planned by the research team to further study the biomechanics of hippotherapy with their new mechanical horse.