Friday, April 12, 2024

Charting India’s inkjet odyssey – lessons from Global Print Konnect

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Dr. Tri Tuladhar, director at Trijet, during his presentation at The Global Print Konnect Conference

The Global Print Konnect Conference – Powering India’s Inkjet Journey, held on 14 February 2024, at Hotel Pullman in New Delhi’s Aerocity, resonated with the ethos of collaborative problem-solving and developmental strides. The Global Print Konnect Conference discourse highlighted not only the technical intricacies of inkjet printing but also the transformative potential inherent in collaborative problem-solving and developmental initiatives, charting a course towards a vibrant and dynamic inkjet ecosystem in India and beyond. The gathering, attended by industry giants Kao Chimigraf, Meteor, People & Technology, Seiko Instruments, and Trijet, emphasized the significance of collaboration and partnership within the inkjet ecosystem, contextualizing the intricate orchestration required to elevate inkjet output device manufacturing in India.

Dr. Tri Tuladhar, a luminary in the field and director at Trijet, elucidated the multifaceted intricacies in his presentation titled ‘Fluid Dynamics: Tailoring properties to meet industrial inkjet needs’, offering a profound glimpse into the technical intricacies that underpin this burgeoning industry.

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At the heart of Trijet’s innovation lies rheology, the science of flow and deformation of matter, which delineates the interplay between force, deformation and time. Tuladhar highlighted the complex rheology governing inkjet printing inks, unveiling novel techniques to correlate fluid rheology with jetting behavior. He emphasized that the rheological attributes of an ink hinge upon various parameters, including deformation, processing time, rate and temperature.

In Tuladhar’s elucidation, the amalgamation of ink and printhead epitomizes a fusion of chemistry with physics, yielding outcomes manifested on the substrate. He accentuated the imperative of aligning the amalgam with the application’s requisites, necessitating nuanced adjustments encompassing physics, chemistry and mechanics for consistent outcomes. Tuladhar’s analogy likening ink to blood and the machine to the body highlights the pivotal role of the printhead as the heart, orchestrating precise ink delivery akin to blood circulation. The printhead’s primary function is to expel inks – whether solvent-based, water-based or inkjet – onto various substrates, necessitating a comprehensive understanding of fluid dynamics and ink behavior from multiple perspectives.

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Tuladhar said, “In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, the transition from analog to digital has redefined our understanding of precision and efficiency. This shift bears significant implications, particularly in fields where accuracy is paramount, such as printing technology. The intersection of time, geometry and industrial scalability presents both challenges and opportunities that demand a nuanced perspective.

“When we contemplate the notion of ‘right force’ to push the ink and ‘right place’ to print in micrometers, we delve into the intricacies of precision engineering where ink size is in nanograms. In the digital realm, these concepts take on heightened significance, necessitating a reevaluation of traditional paradigms. This is a consideration that extends beyond mere mechanics; it encompasses the very essence of how we approach technological advancement. As technology inches towards the nanoscale, considerations of force, place and time evolve into pivotal determinants of success.”

Precision printing and droplet formation

A cornerstone of precision printing lies in the meticulous control of droplet formation, an endeavor requiring the orchestration of myriad variables with clockwork precision. Tuladhar said, “It’s crucial to remember that the precision required in printing is incredibly fine-tuned. The size of the drop is measured in nanograms, the timing in microseconds, and the placement in micrometers. This level of detail makes the optimization of geometry imperative, even if it results in a higher price compared to the ink’s content.

Delving into the pricing dynamics of two ink variants, Tuladhar elucidated, “While the core constituents may exhibit parity, the differential costs stem from the intricate expertise required to ensure compatibility and precision. For instance, the apparent incongruity of a USD 20 ink versus a USD 2 alternative is underpinned by the sophisticated fine-tuning and optimization inherent in the manufacturing process.”

System integration and industrial evolution

In the quest for perfection, challenges loom large, manifesting as imperfections on the canvas of precision. Tuladhar dissected the intricacies of defect mitigation, unraveling the delicate interplay between waveform flexibility, substrate compatibility and droplet dynamics. He highlighted the collaborative ethos underpinning the industry, where collective endeavor supersedes individual prowess.

As the discourse delved deeper, the spotlight turned toward the pivotal role of system integration. Tuladhar expounded upon the intricate dance of hardware and software, where precision printing metamorphoses from a mere concept into tangible reality. The amalgamation of disparate elements into a cohesive whole emerges as the linchpin of industrial evolution.

Inkjet Learning Centre in India

Central to Tuladhar’s discourse was the clarion call for collaborative synergy among printhead manufacturers, drive technology providers, maintenance personnel, and ink specialists to propel inkjet technology towards indigenous, high-quality solutions tailored for diverse applications. He articulated the necessity of transcending the culture of blame game prevalent in the event of printing defects, advocating for collective problem-solving to surmount challenges and foster innovation.

Tuladhar envisaged a promising trajectory for inkjet technology in India, positing it as a potent avenue spanning paper, flexible packaging, ceramics, textiles and beyond. He highlighted the imperative of harnessing collaborative endeavors to realize the latent potential of inkjet technology, positioning India as a burgeoning hub of innovation and excellence in the global printing landscape. “In addition to establishing technical collaborations with the Indian inkjet industries, we are committed to devising a plan for creating an Inkjet Learning Centre in India to benefit the wider inkjet community,” Tuladhar concluded.

Mahan Hazarika
Mahan Hazarika
Mahan Hazarika has served as the Editor of The Packman since 2017, demonstrating an impressive decade-long expertise in the field of writing about the printing and packaging industry. In his leisure time, he indulges in his passions for music, travel, and watching movies.

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