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Xaar: Ultra High Viscosity technology “opening up new possibilities” for packaging 3D printing

Inkjet 3D printer developer Xaar has claimed it Ultra high viscosity (UHV) technology “opens up new possibilities” in product packaging lines in several sectors.

In particular, the company believes in the “unbeatable performance” of its UHV-powered ImagineX Spraying liquids with viscosities of up to 100 centipoise (cPs) in one pass allows users in the packaging sector to “let their creativity run free”. Xaar says the machine’s great particle processing capabilities make it ideal for making parts with high opacity and wide color gamut, so designers can now add pizzazz to their labeling.

“While inkjet printheads could typically only emit liquids of around 8 to 12 cP, our technologies allow printers to spray much higher viscosities,” explains Graham Tweedale, GM of Xaar’s printhead business unit, “which allows for a wider color gamut will”. and incomparable opacity, [that] can be used to print a wide range of special effects. “

The Xaar printhead portfolio

Founded in Cambridge, UK, Xaar is proud to be the world’s leading independent manufacturer of piezo-based drop-on-demand inkjet technologies. The company puts its inkjet know-how into practice by developing industrial print heads that allow liquids to be applied consistently in precise quantities for customers in the areas of industrial packaging, ceramic or glass decoration, and exterior housing coding.

In the past, the Xaar has also dipped its foot into the High Speed Sintering (HSS) market and one dedicated 3D printing hub in 2016, before founds Xaar 3D Next Stratasys. Until recently, Stratasys only held a 45% stake in the company, but it did took full control of Xaar3D in October as part of its plans to incorporate HSS into its new H-Series 3D printers after the H350 earlier this year.

Following the sale of Xaar3D, Xaar’s offering is largely based on its portfolio of printer add-ons, printheads, materials and related services.Irix‘. Launched in September 2021, the company’s latest printhead is capable of enabling 3D printing and liquid dispensing inks from solvent-based materials to those for industrial manufacturing.

To bring its technologies to market, the company often used them with third-party 3D printers such as the AMpolar i1, what’s coming equipped with Xaar 1003 printheads. The company also has one 5-stage material evaluation service That’s supposed to help customers who want to inject highly viscous liquids, and with Xaar’s recent surge in use cases, the initiative now seems to be paying off.

The AMpolar i1 3D printer, complete with Xaar 1003 print heads
The AMpolar i1 3D printer (pictured) comes with Xaar 1003 printheads. Image via Xaar.

Ultra high viscosity in use

Xaar’s latest high-volume printhead platform, ImagineX, was launched in 2019 and can print all types of inks at temperatures up to 200 ° CÖC, so that it will serve as the basis for the company’s entry into new industries in the years to come. The system is powered by UHV, a technology that allows inks to be sprayed on with unprecedented viscosity to make parts quickly and efficiently, often for promotional applications.

In fact, the ImagineX is able to do this by processing larger particles than traditional inkjet systems, which contain higher amounts of pigment and produce more vivid colors and clearer blacks and whites. The machine can also print on curved surfaces, making it perfect for making direct-molded packaging, while it can also be used to apply thick-layer lacquer decorations.

This feature allows users to add textures to labels, be it for visual impact or functionality. UHV enables users, for example, to use tear-resistant inks for flexible labels, while the technology also enables packaging to be provided with Braille and tactile warnings, with effects that can normally only be achieved by screen printing.

Compatible with his Nitrox, 2002 and 50x-series printheads, Xaar says that since its inception, the technology has already shown “the significant difference” that inkjet production can make when used to produce high-impact digital labels and packaging on a large scale.

“We’re already seeing Xaar’s ultra-high viscosity technology open up new possibilities in a number of applications,” added Tweedale. “After many years of customer demand to print higher molecular weight photopolymers to add resilience and flexibility to printed materials, our Ultra High Viscosity technology recognized that ability and really unleashed the power of inkjet.”

A translucent print made with Xaar's Ultra High Viscosity technology.
A translucent print made with Xaar’s Ultra High Viscosity technology. Photo via Xaar.

Is inkjet 3D printing on the rise?

Although the multi-material inkjet segment is still from Stratasys PolyJet and 3D systems’ MultiJet technologies, these are largely based on 2D inkjet print heads. As a result, machines using these technologies rely on relatively low viscosity resins, leaving a market niche for a system capable of depositing high viscosity materials at an industrial throughput.

One such company trying to break the mold of inkjet 3D printing is Quantica, his Material blasting in industrial quality T1 Pro Machine at Formnext 2021. Based on the company’s Extreme Viscosity Jetting technology, the system is said to be able to separate liquids up to 15 times more viscous than existing multi-material jetting systems, which enables the production of much higher-strength parts.

In more research-oriented applications, Remote service also wants to be in the world of inkjet 3D printing with its Thermoset reactive inkjet printing or ‘DRIP’ approach. Essentially, the technology involves colliding droplets of ink in mid-air to form parts, and the company has now started work on a way to incorporate FDM printable carriers into a fully functional prototype DRIP 3D printer.

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The image shown is a translucent print made with Xaar’s Ultra High Viscosity technology. Photo via Xaar.