The program is titled Fundamental Fluid Dynamics Challenges in Inkjet Printing, abbreviated FIP. It is a unique cooperation between the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), the University of Twente (UT) and Océ. The FIP program will focus on the research of complex fluid dynamics phenomena, including the interactions with the printheads and substrates.
The program will last six years, and represents an investment of €6.3 million. The FIP program will be coordinated by Detlef Lohse, Professor and Chair of Physics of Fluids, University of Twente. The research will focus on drop formation, the prevention of air bubbles and the drying of drops on paper. It will also explore the interaction between ink and different types of substrates.
At Océ, inkjet is used in high- speed production printing systems that produce up to 1714 full-color A4 images per minute. The market for high-speed inkjet printing is growing rapidly. For instance, digital book printing is growing by 15% per year. Digital book printing on demand eliminates the need for large inventories of books, and there is no waste of unsold books. Books can be printed close to consumers in local markets, with reduced shipping costs and simplified logistics.
With inkjet technology, printing on demand is moving beyond paper. Users of Océ systems are printing product packaging on demand. They are printing directly onto interior décor and building materials, such as textiles, wall paper, panels, wood and glass. Today, printing on demand is even moving beyond the printing of images. It is already possible to print “functionality.” In pilot projects, Océ jetting techniques are printing resist directly onto copper for the production of printed circuit boards. Another example is the printing of coatings onto OLED screens.