Ink Discharge Evaluation


Ink Discharge Evaluation


Ink Discharge Evaluation

Services and Support

Services and Support
  • Ink Discharge Evaluation
    We will verify whether the ink is discharged correctly from the inkjet printhead.
  • Print Evaluation
    We will verify whether circuits and patterns are printed correctly onto the substrate by the inkjet printing device.
  • Prototyping
    We will make prototypes using an inkjet printer or other means according to your request.
  • Contract Manufacturing
    Based on the prototyping results, the manufacturing of the product may be outsourced to us starting from small lots.

Common misconceptions in IJ technology development and Elephantech’s support

  • Any liquid can be used
    There are certain ink properties that are required for inkjet printing suitability, making other manufacturing methods more suitable in some cases.
    → We will evaluate the liquid (ink)’s suitability for inkjet printing based on its properties. In addition, we will compare and verify against other manufacturing methods to help select the most appropriate manufacturing method from a productivity and cost perspective.
  • All printheads can draw equally
    Each company’s inkjet printhead has its own characteristics and the characteristics of the inks it specializes in differ from company to company.
    → We will select the inkjet printhead that is the best match for the ink you wish to use based on the characteristics of each company’s inkjet printhead and provide support in terms of discharge evaluation, drawing evaluation and system construction.
  • Inkjet makes drawing easy
    The waveform, voltage and drawing conditions must be set according to the ink. Fine tuning of the pre- and post-processing on the substrate‘s side is also of great importance, requiring comprehensive adjustments.
    → We will evaluate the liquid (ink)’s suitability for inkjet printing based on its properties. In addition, we will compare and verify against other manufacturing methods to help select the most appropriate manufacturing method from a productivity and cost perspective.
  • Inkjet technologies are easy to use (easy to systemize)
    Inkjet printheads require a variety of adjustments depending on the ink and is a technology that is built up step by step according to your requirements. From a reliability standpoint, there are many items that need to be checked.
    → Reliability is essential in building a mass production system. We will work along with not only printhead makers but also material and equipment manufacturers to support your development.
  • Mass production will be quickly achievable if the results of the sample works are satisfactory
    The road to mass production is a lengthy one, requiring a great deal of time and effort to be put into its preparation, including evaluating various aspects and scrutinizing costs. With a proven track record in mass production, Elephantech can propose a variety of solutions.
    → We will continue to advance the sample works while simultaneously evaluating the hurdles and scenarios that await in the lead up to mass production. We will provide you with appropriate solutions to each of these challenges, including the involvement of third parties when necessary.
  • Inkjet systems are inexpensive to set up
    Industrial printing systems are designed on the premise that they are to be used with special inks and there are also high requirements in terms of print accuracy. As such, high precision, and therefore expensive, systems are needed to ensure continuous stable drawing.
    → Building a system requires coordination with printhead makers, control board manufacturers, equipment makers, suppliers and such on various levels, all of which can end up very costly if not conducted efficiently while keeping the key points in focus. We fully grasp the characteristics of each company and can provide you with the best proposal. In addition, we can provide you with a business prototyping environment through our prototyping and manufacturing services.

Factors to be adjusted for IJ printing

Figure of correlations between inkjet printing factors

There are 4 main factors that need fine adjustments to unlock the full potential of inkjet printing.

An ink discharge test, for example, is a process in which fine adjustments are made between the ink and the inkjet printhead. In many cases, the drawing test is much the same with the addition of substrates. However, when it comes to actual production, the drying process plays a most important part. For instance, drying the ink immediately after discharge can control the amount of smearing on the substrate surface, but having the heater too close to the printhead can cause the ink to stick to the printhead surface and lead to problems during continuous production. In many cases, fine-tuning the specs to improve the relationship between any two of these four factors requires readjustments to the remaining two factors as well, necessitating a lot of patience in finding a solution that works for all four.

With such requirements in fine adjustments, one must wonder if inkjet is actually worth the effort. Certainly, the initial adjustments for inkjet is troublesome, but, once complete, the manufacturing process can benefit from the many advantages of using inkjet. For example, one of the advantages is that operators can produce with the same quality even when there are no engineers on the manufacturing floor. This can also be seen in how we can now use inkjet home printers to print beautiful pictures right from our offices or living rooms. Inkjet is a wonderful manufacturing tool that will, once the initial set up is properly completed, allow a great number of people to focus on value creation beyond printing processes.


IJ Manufacturing Launch Check Points (Example)


Q.What are the most important factors to consider in setting up IJ manufacturing

A. In terms of materials, the IJ ink and the substrate. As for the system, the inkjet printhead and its controls as well as pre- and post-processing steps need to be considered.

Q. What verifications should be made before running a discharge evaluation?

A. Inks are generally a mixture of solvents, which liquify the ink, and solutes which give the ink its function, but these require dispersion stability to be evaluated for long-term storage and physical properties to be adjusted to the printhead. Furthermore, a material compatibility evaluation is also necessary to ensure that there are no undesired effects on the materials of the printhead or ink flow path. (Elephantech uses Safety Data Sheets for easy discharge evaluation)

Q. What are the physical properties that need to be measured for the ink formula?

A. Viscosity, surface tension, density and acoustic velocity are essential. Wettability will also become important in relation to the substrate.

Q. What do you evaluate in a discharge evaluation test?

A. Elephantech’s initial discharge evaluation looks at items such as initial fillability, intermittent discharge performance, weight and speed followability, and frequency characteristics.

Q. Is there anything other than the ink that can be adjusted to improve discharge evaluation results?

A.Other than the ink, corrective adjustments can be made, for example, to the inkjet printhead’s waveforms and the ink’s temperature. Other methods to compensate for poor discharge performances include making adjustments to the printhead gap and drive frequency during drawing.

Ink Discharge Evaluation Service

Using a high-performance printhead made by Seiko Epson Corporation (hereinafter "Epson"), we will evaluate the performance of your inkjet ink in a short time.
ink discharge
The service is ideal for the following situations:
  • Evaluating the inkjet compatibility your functional ink.
  • Conducting a discharge evaluation of the enzyme and protein inks.
  • You are after a specialist's opinion on the development of your ink.
  • You want to test your ink with a printhead that is widely used in printed electronics mass production.

Apply for Ink Discharge Evaluation Service

Different aspects of the service

A one-stop ink discharge evaluation service
  • An ink discharge evaluation service to bring inkjet printing to a wider range of applications.
  • From receiving the ink to running ink discharge tests and writing reports, Elephantech provides a one-stop service.
Ink evaluation using a cutting edge Inkjet machine for R&D
  • Using Epson's PrecisionCore inkhead, performance indicators for printing onto substrates and such are evaluated with inkjet printing equipment used for cutting edge R&D.
  • If necessary, we will also perform waveform adjustments and Print Evaluation.
Conditions regarding the evaluation
  • This service is provided by Elephantech under license from Epson. The evaluation results will be shared with Epson.
  • In general we offer an initial ink discharge evaluation service free of charge. There may be cases where we cannot progress to the evaluation following a safety data sheet (SDS) check.

Outline of Epson’s Inkjet machine for R&D purposes

Ink evaluation using a cutting edge Inkjet machine for R&D
Manufacturer Seiko Epson Corporation
Printhead PrecisionCore
Ink viscocity guide 1-10 mPaS (Please contact us if not within this range.)
Minimum required ink volume 50 mL
Observation functions Ink droplet flight
Printing function Print on 100mm square stage
Ink type Water-based and solvent-based inks
Evaluation Evaluated by Elephantech under commission from Epson

Flow of the ink discharge evaluation

In addition to the one-stop ink discharge evaluation, we also provide characteristic improvement proposals and consultations based on our experience in mass production.
Application and initial meeting
We will hold a meeting with clients who apply for the service.
Memorandum of understanding
An MoU on ink evaluation will be concluded.
Provision of SDS and ink
The client will provide us with SDS and ink. The SDS must be provided.
Ink evaluation and improvement proposals
We will evaluate the ink. At the same time, we will propose improvements to ink characteristics and such.
Report submission
We will submit a report to the client once the evaluation is complete.

Results provided by the ink discharge evaluation service

Test items Description of items

Initial ink filling

We will evaluate the initial fill characteristics on an inkjet nozzle, mainly focusing characteristics as a fluid.

Intermittent stability

We will evaluate the stability in situations where ink is discharged intermittently. We will mainly judge ink discharge stability and resistance to drying.

Droplet volume followability

We will evaluate whether the volume of the droplet follows changes in voltage. Higher followability will allow for finer control.

Drop velocity followability

We will evaluate whether the drop velocity follows changes in voltage. High-speed flight will stabilize the landing position and allow for high-precision printing.

Frequency characteristics

We will evaluate suitability for high-frequency printing. We will determine how far the printing throughput can be increased to.


Articles concerning the Ink Discharge Evaluation

Ink Discharge Evaluation Service blog


What is the relationship between Elephantech and Epson?

Epson is a shareholder of Elephantech and we have a capital and business alliance. (We are not an equity method affiliate.)

What is the relationship between Elephantech and Epson regarding the ink discharge evaluation service using Epson’s Inkjet machine for R&D?

Epson has set up a research and development base called “Inkjet Innovation Lab Hatchobori Satellite” inside the Elephantech Hatchobori Head Office, and Elephantech is entrusted by Epson to conduct research and development work such as ink evaluation.

The Inkjet machine for R&D at Hatchobori Satellite is an Epson R&D asset.

Can the ink discharge evaluation be done without having the results shared with Epson?

We regret to inform you that the ink evaluation is done using Epson assets, and so the R&D inkjet printing device cannot be used to evaluate the ink discharge without the results being shared with Epson.

Can we ask Epson directly for an evaluation?
It will depend on the resources at Epson's disposal, but it is possible. There is no specific need to go through us.

Make an inquiry about or apply for the ink discharge evaluation service

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