Ink News

Excerpt: Here are the Ink News across the world

Dressels researchers help print flexible energy storage components with MXene Ink

Researchers from Drexel University and Trinity College in Ireland, have created ink for an inkjet printer from a highly conductive type of two-dimensional material called MXene. Recent findings, published in Nature Communications, suggest that the ink can be used to print flexible energy storage components, such as supercapacitors, in any size or shape.

Yury Gogotsi, PhD, Distinguished University and Bach professor in Drexel's College of Engineering, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, who studies the applications of new materials in technology, suggests that the ink created in Drexel's Nanomaterials Institute is a significant advancement on both of these fronts.

“So far only limited success has been achieved with conductive inks in both fine-resolution printing and high charge storage devices,” Gogotsi said. “But our findings show that all-MXene printed micro-supercapacitors, made with an advanced inkjet printer, are an order of magnitude greater than existing energy storage devices made from other conductive inks.”

While researchers are steadily figuring out ways to make inks from new, more conductive materials, like nanoparticle silver, graphene and gallium, the challenge remains incorporating them seamlessly into manufacturing processes. Most of these inks can't be used in a one-step process, according to Babak Anasori, PhD, a research assistant professor in Drexel's department of Materials Science and Engineering and co-author of the MXene ink research.

“For most other nano inks, an additive is required to hold the particles together and allow for high-quality printing. Because of this, after printing, an additional step is required — usually a thermal or chemical treatment — to remove that additive,” Anasori said. “For MXene printing, we only use MXene in water or MXene in an organic solution to make the ink. This means it can dry without any additional steps.”

MXenes - two-dimensional layered material

MXenes are a type of carbon-based, two-dimensional layered materials, created at Drexel in 2011, that have the unique ability to mix with liquids, like water and other organic solvents, while retaining their conductive properties. Because of this, Drexel researchers have produced and tested it in a variety of forms, from conductive clay to a coating for electromagnetic interference shielding to a near-invisible wireless antenna.

Adjusting the concentration to create ink for use in a commercial printer was a matter of time and iteration. The solvent and MXene concentration in the ink can be adjusted to suit different kinds of printers.

“If we really want to take advantage of any technology at a large scale and have it ready for public use, it has to become very simple and done in one step,” Anasori said. “An inkjet printer can be found in just about every house, so we knew if we could make the proper ink, it would be feasible that anyone could make future electronics and devices.”

As part of the study, the Drexel team, working with researchers at Trinity College, who are experts in printing, put the MXene ink to the test in a series of printouts, including a simple circuit, a micro-supercapacitor and some text, on substrates ranging from paper to plastic to glass. In doing so, they found that they could print lines of consistent thickness and that the ink's ability to pass an electric current varied with its thickness — both important factors in manufacturing electronics components. And the printouts maintained their superior electric conductivity, which is the highest among all carbon-based conductive inks, including carbon nanotubes and graphene.

This all amounts to a very versatile product for making the tiny components that perform important, but often overlooked functions in our electronics devices — jobs like keeping the power on when the battery dies, preventing damaging electrical surges, or speeding the charging process. Providing a higher-performing material and a new way to build things with it could lead not only to improvements to our current devices, but also the creation of entirely new technologies.

“Compared to conventional manufacturing protocols, direct ink printing techniques, such as inkjet printing and extrusion printing, allow digital and additive patterning, customization, reduction in material waste, scalability and rapid production,” Anasori said. “Now that we have produced a MXene ink that can be applied via this technique, we're looking at a world of new opportunities to use it.”

Global conductive inks market to reach USD 4,479.7 Mn by 2026: TMR

The global conductive inks market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 3.4% from 2018 to 2026, according to a new report titled 'Conductive Inks Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2018–2026,' published by Transparency Market Research (TMR) The global conductive inks market is primarily driven by strong growth of the global packaging industry.

Printed electronics can be used in a wide range of applications including organic photovoltaics (OPVs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). With technological advancements, different types of nano-patterning methods have been developed to improve light extraction from OLEDs, for instance, nano-imprinting and nano-contact printing.

Furthermore, increasing demand for low-cost, anti-reflection coatings for use in LCD displays is driving the market. Growing awareness about the usefulness and convenience in terms of application of printed electronics in different industries is projected to augment the global conductive inks market in the short, medium, and long term.

Growing use of printed circuit boards (PCBs), circuits, antennas, biosensors, sensors, touchscreens, printed heaters, and touch switches in different industries also acts as a major driving factor for the global conductive inks market.

Risen Demand for Conductive Inks in End-use Industries

Medical-grade, electrically conductive inks are used in a wide range of medical electrode applications (such as TENS and ECG electrode applications), defibrillation, transdermal drug delivery, and monitoring systems. Increasing usage of conductive inks in advanced medical devices is acting as a key driving factor for the global conductive inks market.

Moreover, increasing use of conductive inks in the production of lightweight sensors and seat-heating elements in the automotive industry is propelling the global market for conductive inks.

Flexible displays, thin-film transistors, OLEDs, OPVs, smart textiles, and radio frequency identification (RFID) are some of the major applications of conductive inks. Impact of the above-mentioned driver is analyzed to be high currently and it is likely to remain high during the forecast period also.

Complexities Associated with High-end Technologies

High costs of silver conductive inks is a key restraining factor for the global conductive inks market. Moreover, complexities related to usage of highly conductive inks in high-end devices is a major technological challenge for the market. These factors have been restraining the market over the last few years.

However, market players are constantly in pursuit of integrating enhanced technologies to improve their profitability. Manufacturers are engaging in continuous research activities in order to innovate advanced conductive inks. Impact of the above-mentioned restraint is analyzed to be medium currently and it is likely to remain medium during the forecast period also.

Silver Conductive Inks Segment to Dominate Market

The silver conductive inks segment dominates the global conductive inks market, as these inks are largely used in the electronics industry. Silver conductive inks have a wide range of applications across RFI/EMI shielding of polyimide flexible circuits, polymer thick-film circuitry, membrane switches, and coatings for tantalum capacitors. Due to properties of silver conductive inks, they are widely used in energy, medical, and consumer electronics industries.

Growing Demand in Asia Pacific

Based on region, the global conductive inks market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. Asia Pacific led the global market in 2017. According to leading manufacturers of conductive inks based in Asia Pacific, the demand for conductive inks in the region has been increasing, especially in the electronics & electricals (E&E) sector.

Furthermore, China was the leader of the global semiconductor industry in 2017. It was the world's largest producer of electronic products accounting for well over a 33% of the global production in 2017. In 2017, China's electronics production witnessed an increase of 3.4%, while the electronics equipment production increased by 2.0%, and the production of electronic components rose by 8.7% in the year.

Demand for conductive inks in Latin America and Middle East & Africa is anticipated to increase at a rapid pace during the forecast period.

Dominance of Brazil in the electronics & electricals (E&E) industry in Latin America drives the conductive inks market in the region. The E&E industry in Brazil expanded at a CAGR of 7% in 2018.

Mimaki to highlight newly launched new metallic UV ink at Fespa 2019

Mimaki Europe, a leading manufacturer of wide-format inkjet printers and cutting systems, announced on February that it will release a UV-curable metallic ink, named MUH-100-Si. This will be the highlight at Mimaki stall during Fespa 2019, to be held at Messe Munich, Germany on 14-17 May.

The new ink strengthens Mimaki's product offering and pushes the boundaries of graphic expression beyond that of ordinary UV flatbed inkjet printers. The ink is compatible with Mimaki's UJF-7151plus printer, which produces high-quality print for an impressive range of applications, from gifts and novelty items to wide-format boards.

The new MUH-100-Si UV-curable metallic ink will bring a strong competitive edge to Mimaki customers, allowing them to provide added value to the brands who use their services. Supporting Mimaki's ideology of “new technology for creating the next generation of digital printing”, the new ink demonstrates how digital print enables creative ideas to be realised highly efficiently in the product manufacturing process.

Bert Benckhuysen, senior product manager, Mimaki Europe comments: “We are excited to launch this metallic ink. At Mimaki, we dedicate ourselves to providing customers with products that will allow them to stand out within their markets. Not only will the new metallic ink ensure this, but it will also provide a much more efficient way for our customers to manufacture more luxurious and sophisticated products.”

Created by mixing a bright pigment into the ink, MUH-100-Si can place metallic ink directly onto the product without the need for a separate manual transfer process, as is the case when applying glitters or foils to produce a metallic effect. Decorative options such as printing both gloss and matte tones, texture expression with embossing effect, and full-colour metallic expressions can be achieved in-house by printing coloured ink overlaid on metallic ink.

Available for use with the UJF-7151plus printer, the metallic ink can be used for a wide range of applications, including items such as paper containers, films and novelty items.

Inkmaker introduces IEC horizontal mill machine

Italy-based manufacturer of printing ink dispensing systems, Inkmaker, displayed its IEC mill Hm - series machine at Asia Coat 2019, held in the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai recently.

The Hm - series comprises of three models, HM10EA with a chamber volume of 13-litres; HM15EA with 18-litres, and HM20EA with 23-litres.Adil Khan, sales and service engineer, Inkmaker, said, “The Hm series is reintroduced with a new face-lift, enhanced safety and double mechanical seal. It has an unmatched price-performance ratio. It proportionally mixes pigments, resins and solvents and provides colour strength due to the surface area of the inks.”

It offers easy colour change and an efficient and high-flowing bead separation unit. The bead diameter ranges from 1.0 to 2.2-mm. The grinding capacity of the HM20EA machine is 75-700-l/h. One of the machine's key advantages is that it offers the formulation in both micro levels and nano levels.

Inkmaker also offers ink management software's available in over 30 languages. “Our software can operate anything from small compact units to complex industrial systems,” said Khan.

The online version of the software enables the users to manage factories, formulae and work orders instantly, easily and by remote. “It is ideal for multinationals and for suppliers with international customers," added Khan.

The key features of the software are its provision dispensing parameters with automatic adjustment and management and traceability of raw materials and formulations.

Inkmaker also provides engineering, installation and after-sales services. According to Khan, all Inkmaker dispensing systems can handle water-based or solvent-based materials, high viscosity or liquid products according to the customer's requirements and for each line of products, different sizes are available. “One of our key strengths is the pan-India presence of our service support team,” added Khan.

EFI acquires BDR Boya reactive inkjet ink maker

EFI has acquired BDR Boya Kimya, a Turkish manufacturer of reactive inkjet inks for industrial digital textiles printing.

Following the completion of the deal recently, Bursa-based BDR, which will be integrated into EFI Reggiani, will continue to develop inks, working closely with and supporting its clients while expanding and growing its capabilities. BDR's 19 employees, which include the company's co-founders Serra Saatçıoğlu Yildiz and Ibrahim Demir, are joining EFI and all will remain based at their current sites in Turkey.

While financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, they are not expected to be material to EFI's Q2 or full-year 2019 results.

EFI Reggiani vice-president and general manager Adele Genoni said that: “We are very excited. This is an important announcement in the history of textiles for us, and we are looking with a lot of enthusiasm into the next quarter and the next year.

“Turkey is an important hub for textiles that is growing more and more so the fact that BDR is based there makes a lot of sense for us. We already have a legal entity in Turkey and also local people engaged to service our customers, so the geography is important but the proximity with customers is also important.”

Founded in 2016, BDR has built a significant presence in Turkey and Pakistan and, increasingly, across Europe, the Middle East and India as well.

“BDR has always been very focused on the growing worldwide opportunity with digital to increase sustainability in the textile industry using high-performance and quality inks,” said Saatçıoğlu Yildiz and Demir, who will become worldwide sales director for ink and director for technical ink and development respectively at EFI Reggiani.

“EFI's global, best-in-class Reggiani portfolio fits exactly with our own key goals for innovation and growth. We are excited to be joining EFI to work together on advancing the industry's analogue-to-digital printing transformation.”

Genoni added: “BDR's co-founders have done an amazing job in growing the business in terms of technology and knowledge of other markets. It is very respected in the textiles space.

“At EFI Reggiani we have a product development roadmap for the next two to three years, for printers, chemistry and ink, and BDR will be entered into this. The drivers of this roadmap are strongly connected to eco-friendly solutions and productivity and reliability.”

INX offerings at FESPA Expo

INX (Hall A5-Stand H20) will feature ink products that are in alignment with the “Explosion of Possibilities” theme of this year's FESPA Global Print Expo, which takes place May 14-17 at Messe Munich in Germany.

INX offerings, including the new Triangle DT8 and DT8-PRO aqueous inks, will be geared towards the textile printing, screen and digital wide format and signage segments.

“FESPA has always been an event where we can present an interesting cross-section of products. This year will be no exception,” said Renee Schouten, INX director of marketing. “Our Triangle DT8 and DT8-PRO, in addition to Prodigy TXKC, are high-performance solutions that any textile printer should consider. The Triangle LUV and LV8 inks are unique with their high reliability and performance on digital graphic media.”

In line with INX's commitment to producing environmentally responsible inks, Triangle DT8 and DT8-PRO reinforces this effort. The water-based, nano dispersed dye sublimation aqueous inks are designed to deliver high performance for direct-to-textile and transfer printing using Epson piezo print head technology. They are approved for use in printers with DX4, DX5, DX7 and TFP print heads.

Triangle DT8 and DT8-PRO are intended for use on polyester or mixed synthetic fabrics that contain a minimum of 60% polyester. Fast drying with excellent transfer properties and available in a wide color gamut, these inks can be used on flags and banners as well.

Prodigy TXKC inks are odorless and provide plenty of options. They can be printed on cotton and blend textiles using the Kyocera KJ4B print head series, and require a pre-treated fabric. Fast drying with high rub resistance, they are available in cyan, magenta, black and yellow.

Triangle LUV is a premium UV curable ink with many benefits. These inks provide excellent adhesion and flexibility on a vast array of digital graphic media and are optimized for use in printers that run in lower temperatures. Triangle LUV will produce high consistency, repeatability and stability when ran on systems such as the Dimatrix Starfire series, Konica Minolta 1024, Ricoh 64/65 and Seiko 508GS.

Triangle LV8 is a true solvent, low viscosity ink that offers superb adhesion and flexibility to a wide range of digital graphic media. Optimized for use in Dimatrix, Konica Minolta, Ricoh and Seiko print heads with a 7-35 picoliter drop size.

Natron MG series inks from Boston Industrial Solutions

Boston Industrial Solutions, Inc. has introduced the Natron MG Series inks, a two component ink series for pad printing or screen printing onto metal, glass, ceramics, and hard plastics substrates.

The MG Series ink line can be used to screen print or pad print on multiple substrates, allowing decorators to eliminate the need to have two ink lines for multiple substrates.

This ink line for pad printing or screen printing onto metal, glass, ceramics, and hard plastics substrates features high opacity and gloss, fast drying and curing time. It also features weather and chemical resistance. In addition, just like the Natron SE silicone inks, it is easy to work with. The MG Series ink line comes in more than 40 standard colors, which include more than 20 high opacity colors, 12 color matching colors, six neon colors and four process colors. Custom colors are also available within eight hours upon request.

Generally, the MG series will air dry at 68°F in 20-30 seconds and will achieve full cure within 24 to 48 hours. Accelerated drying can be achieved by heating the printed products at 175°F for approximately 3 to 5 minutes. For glass, metals, and ceramic, printed parts should be baked at 300°F for 10-20 minutes to achieve exceptional dish washer resistance. On the other hand, hard plastics should be heated 170°F for 10-15 minutes.

The MG Series ink for pad printing onto glass, metals, ceramics and hard plastics is available in 1kg containers.

HP launches dye-sub printers to foray into into textile printing

HP will make its first-ever moves into the textiles printing market by launching two machines in its new Stitch S series of dye-sublimation printers, with a third on the way for Fespa.

The 1.6m-wide Stitch S300 and S500 printers will be available from June after being debuted at the ISA 2019 in April.

HP said the Stitch S300 had been designed for ease-of-use and is intended for entry-level or minimal-use markets. It comes with HP's Ergosoft RIP, HP transfer paper and the manufacturer's full profile library. It is capable of both transfer and direct-to-fabric printing.

Its sibling, the S500, was described by HP global business director for textiles Ester Sala as a “workhorse” for high-production operations, designed to keep up with demanding workloads in markets such as sportswear, interior decor and soft signage.

Both machines will be followed in July by the 3.2m Stitch S1000, which was presented under exclusive invitation at ISA and will receive its public unveiling at Fespa 2019 in Munich. Details on the S1000 are scant as yet and will be revealed at the show.

“The digital printing market is worth $3.6bn [£2.77bn] and polyester makes up 60% of the square-meterage that is printed,” said Sala. “It is expected to continue growing to a point where its demand is doubled by 2030 and the more it grows, the more dye-sublimation will grow, too.

“It is because of this that we have decided to move into the four key markets of soft signage, interior decor, sportswear and apparel. Across these markets, it is the same pain points that they have in common: colour management, waste and inefficiencies, and delivery times.

“We have been working closely with customers during the development stages of the Stitch family to make sure we come up with the best solution possible.”

A pioneering feature of the Stitch family will be its user-replaceable printheads which Sala said “will bring a lot of peace of mind to users in a very manual industry” by saving on downtimes.

Features including automated maintenance, the ability to take papers as light as 25gsm and a variety of hardware built in for image, colour and banding control have been touted by HP as reasons the Stitch is a unique proposition in the textiles market.

The S500 runs a symmetrical eight-head dual-CMYK configuration and is designed to maintain colour and quality consistency at speeds up to 110sqm/hr, billed by Sala as “twice as fast as the fastest machine currently on the market”.

Alongside the printers, HP has also launched its own branded dye-sublimation papers and a specialised dye-sub thermal inkjet ink billed as the first of its kind by HP.

Going forward, the Stitch branding will be an umbrella term for all HP machinery in the textiles sector.

The family of machines, including the full show debut of the S1000, will appear on HP's stand at Fespa 2019, set to take place at Messe Munich on 14-17 May.

Macclesfield-based wide-format kit vendor RA Smart has been named as HP's chosen reseller for the Stitch family in the UK and Ireland.

NUtec Digital Ink releases latest GBL-free offering

Nutec Digital Ink is further expanding its GBL-free ink range with the release of its newest eco-solvent product Diamond D20-GF ink.

The Diamond D20-GF is a premium eco-solvent ink designed for use on Spectra Starfire print heads such as those found in Gongzheng wide format printers. The D20-GF ink offers excellent outdoor durability and, when used in regular applications using suitable substrates, will deliver printed images that last for up to two years.

The Diamond D20-GF formulation is low smell, GBL-free and offers superior abrasion and chemical resistance, while providing excellent media compatibility across a broad range of self-adhesive and flexible substrates.

Available in either 1L, 2L or 5L bottles with an 18-month shelf life, the D20-GF eco-solvent ink supports NUtec's new product strategy which includes the development of more environmentally and operator- friendly digital ink alternatives for its customers worldwide. The company's ink products are supported by NUtec Digital's Ink Delivery System Warranty.

“While we are continually developing newer ink technologies such as our water-based and UV-curable digital inks, it is our eco-solvent chemistry that remains the first choice for our customers in the traditional outdoor signage arena," NUtec Sales and Marketing Director Neil Green said. "The Diamond D20-GF ink is our latest eco-solvent offering in the GBL-free range and already has our customers thrilled with its performance.“

Global digital inks market powered by textile printing: TMR

The global digital inks market was valued at US$ 10.0 Bn in 2017 and is projected to expand at a CAGR of 9.5% from 2018 to 2026, according to a new report published by Transparency Market Research (TMR) titled 'Digital Inks Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2018–2026.'

Growth of the advertising & promotion industry is expected to augment the demand for digital inks between 2018 and 2026. Increase in textile digital printing and rapid urbanization in emerging countries are estimated to boost the global digital inks market from 2018 to 2026.

Significant growth of the textile industry in developing economies and rise in use of sustainable inks are boosting the adoption of digital inks. The textile industry in Asia Pacific has expanded at a rapid pace in the last few years.

This trend is projected to continue during the forecast period. Rapid digitization and increasing changes in the fashion industry in developing countries are driving the digital inks market.

Rising demand for low VOC emitting inks from various end-use industries such as packaging, textile, and others, is fueling UV-cured and water-based inks segments. This, in turn, is projected to fuel the digital inks market during the forecast period. Need for high quality, on-demand printing, and high speed printing is estimated to propel the digital inks market in the near future.

The global digital inks market has been segmented based on formulation, substrate, application, and region. The water-based segment held a major share of the global market in 2017 owing to the high demand for low emission and cost effective inks from various packaging and textile manufactures.

Furthermore, stringent regulations of government pertaining to protective environment regulations increases the demand of water-based inks. The UV-cured segment is expanding at a substantial pace during the forecast period, as these offer high productivity and superior printing throughput. UV-curable inks possess numerous features and functionalities which make them suitable for specialized printing needs.

For instance, UV-curable inks are used to print on rigid surfaces and on polyethylene billboards. They can also be used on metals, glass, ceramics, textiles, and other substrates. Quick drying and high ink saturation features of UV-curable inks increase their requirement in niche applications. This, in turn, is driving the UV-cured segment.

The advertising & promotion segment is projected to hold a major share of the global digital inks market during the forecast period. Digital inks, especially inkjet printers, have been widely used in advertising media and promotional activities applications in the last few years.

Their adoption is increasing in textile application owing to their superior properties and significant qualities. Significant rise in the advertising media and textile digital print applications is projected to create opportunities for players operating in the digital inks market. Furthermore, ceramics and glass printing segments are anticipated to create lucrative opportunities for digital inks manufacturers in the next few years.

The digital inks market in Asia Pacific is likely to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period. Rising consumption of UV-cured inks in developing economies such as India, China, Vietnam, and Indonesia is expected to create lucrative opportunities to digital inks manufacturers in the next few years owing to rapid urbanization, growth in population, expansion of the textile industry, and rise in the number of packaging and advertising applications.

Additionally, increase in digitization in matured markets such the U.S. Canada, and Germany is projected to create lucrative opportunities in the digital inks market in the region during the forecast period.