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13 January, 2022 - 11:30 By Tony Quested

Inks innovation at heart of Domino-IfM tie-up

Domino Printing and the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing are working together on new inks research that could have broader benefits for the coding and marking industry worldwide.

The partners are determined to solve a long-standing issue in the sector; they are examining the jetting process in continuous inkjet printers, how the chemicals in inks behave in different conditions and the potential impact on performance. 

The research is key to ensuring consistent and reliable print quality in coding and marking and is leading to Domino developing new formulations which will optimise inks for different production environments.

Achieving a clean, crisp code on a beverage canning line requires a very different type of ink to that used for harsh industrial applications such as printing on cables or cement bags. 

Dr Josie Harries, group programme director at Domino says: “We are constantly seeking new ways to advance our products, solutions, and services to deliver the best performance and value for our customers. 

“Part of our research includes an ongoing project to better understand the jetting process in continuous inkjet printers. We are looking to examine how inkjet formulations behave in every type of atmosphere from hot to icy cold, from sticky to dusty, to reflect all the variables likely in our customers’ plants, so that we can identify which formulations make reliable inks.”

Another area being examined closely is particle build-up where small ink deposits accumulate within a printhead – meaning more frequent cleaning and potential downtime for the customer. 

Domino says the benefit of the research project is two-fold: it helps the industry better understand how to design printers that offer better uptime; and it informs the ink formulation process so that R & D teams can develop inks which will function reliably within specific printers, and in specific production environments, helping to reduce downtime and waste. 

Dr Harries says: “Collaboration, whether with the IfM, our colleagues, or external partners, is key to our R & D efforts in this area.

“It is also one of our core business values and a central part of how we are working to build expertise within Domino. An issue, or idea, studied in isolation will only progress so far, restricted by the knowledge, experience, and technical capabilities of one entity. 

“By working with the IfM we are not only able to extend our existing testing capabilities, but also benefit from a broader knowledge base.”

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