It has always been called ink for inkjet printer blood, and its quality directly affects the quality of document output. Especially in the current fierce competition in the inkjet printer market, ink is a must-have when using inkjet printers, and naturally has become an indispensable place for many businesses to show their technical strength.

Users who have bought inkjet printers know that the inks on the market are mainly divided into two types, dye inks and pigment inks. The characteristics of dyes are transparent, through selective absorption of certain spectral components in the incident light to make the transmitted light change color. Therefore, dye ink can be used not only to print color photos, but also to print transparent light box sheets. In traditional color photos and transparent positive films, dyes are used for color formation.


duRABrite

At present, high-end photo printers from HP and Canon all use dye inks in whole or in part, while Epson uses pigment inks developed by themselves. Such as Epson's "Century Rainbow" pigment ink and "Hengcai waterproof and light-resistant DURABrite" used in the final C63 printer.

The biggest disadvantage of this type of ink is that it is prone to fading. For example, magenta in Epson dye ink is a less durable color. Someone has done experiments, used it to print color cards on matt paper, and found that if exposed to the air, do not need to see the light, as long as a month's time, the color on the picture will go a lot, making the gray scale change Green. Epson inks copied by some manufacturers are even more terrible. If the film is not coated in time, the photos will fade after a dozen hours. Seriously affected the ornamental and artistic nature of the photos.

Below I will introduce the ink technology of the three major manufacturers of inkjet printers.

HP Ink Technology

As the leading equipment manufacturer in the global office market, the ink technology of inkjet printers is in a leading position. Although the sales volume of its inkjet printers in the market is not as high as that of Epson, its advanced consumables are still bringing infinite wealth to it. In its fourth-generation rich image technology, it includes 6 colors of ink, so the color types represented are more than 1.2 million, and the volume of ink droplets is about 5 picoliters. In the newly introduced fourth-generation Fulitu PRO technology, on the basis of the four-generation Fulitu technology six-color ink system, two very bright dyeing inks-light magenta and light cyan, were added. In the fourth quarter, the rich color technology of the rich color technology can also print lighter and finer ink droplets, reducing the visible particles on the photo, resulting in better photo printing quality and more natural colors. Delicate, it looks more comfortable and natural. The ink cartridge No. 58 contains so-called photo-specific ink, which is a dye black ink, which can provide a purer and smoother black effect than mixed ink, so that the fourth generation of rich image technology achieves more subtle details. Improve image quality.


Since the volume of the dye ink molecule is only 2 nanometers, which is less than one hundred thousandth of the pigment ink molecule volume, it can more easily penetrate into the printing medium and form a uniform and smooth molecular surface. Therefore, the use of dye ink is more likely to produce uniform color, Photographic images with continuous and delicate tones. In addition, a patented anti-fading agent is added to the six-color ink system. According to the test results of relevant authoritative image research institutions, HP ’s new Colourfast printing photo paper is used in conjunction with the new six-color ink cartridge technology to produce high-quality images. 73 years can be stored in the frame. Compared with traditional photo printing, color photos printed by HP inkjet printers have the same visual effect, but they are stored for a longer period of time, which is suitable for printing photos and images that are highly commemorative. However, the replacement of other brands of ink or paper will seriously affect the image retention period.

Epson ink technology

The ink technology of inkjet printers has always been valued by Epson. The high quality of inkjet printing and the normal use of the printer itself depend on the contribution of ink technology. Epson's ordinary inkjet printers for home users generally use their unique "gem-grade" quick-drying ink, which is characterized by extremely strong color expression, and it will dry when encountered with paper, and will never appear to be smeared by fingers. Flower situation. Epson has quite advanced technology in terms of ink color and ink droplet size. At present, its minimum ink droplet can reach 2 picoliters. After actual printing, the minimum ink drop is only 4 picoliters (such as Epson STYLUS PHOTO 950). About 4 picoliters (such as Epson STYLUS PHOTO 830U / 895/915/2100, etc.). In terms of ink color, the Epson STYLUS PHOTO 2100 model has the most color types. It uses 7-color independent ink cartridges, but provides 10 colors of ink, which is currently the most ink color. Mid-range photo printers also have more than 6 colors, such as Epson STYLUS PHOTO 830U / 895/915. Epson Stylus C63 uses the constant color waterproof and light-resistant ink DURABrite is not a dye ink used in ordinary inkjet printers, but Epson newly developed pigment ink. Unlike the inks used in general inkjet printers, Hengcai waterproof and lightfast inks can obtain high-definition and long-lasting images on any paper. The output of Epson Stylus C63 using Hengcai waterproof and light-resistant ink has the characteristics of long-lasting, bright and collectable. As can be seen from the above, Epson is very professional in ink technology. In addition to the types of ink colors and droplet sizes that people can usually think of, it has also introduced some additional technologies, such as anti-light and waterproof characteristics, which are very suitable for photo printing. And long-term preservation needs.

Canon Ink Technology

Canon has also adopted some corresponding technologies in terms of ink color type and ink droplet size in ink technology, but overall it is not as professional as Epson and HP. Its ink color is at most six colors, and its smallest ink droplet has reached 1 picoliter, such as iP5000, i900, S830D and so on. In terms of ink droplet size control, it has its own "super-fine ink droplet technology". It achieves high print quality and high-speed printing speed through multi-nozzle and multi-motor system. In an ordinary inkjet printer, if the distance between the orifice and the heater is lengthened, the speed of the ink droplets will relatively slow down, and the size and shape of the ejected ink cannot be guaranteed. Under the ultra-fine micro-droplet technology, by shortening the distance between the orifice and the heater, together with the high-precision nozzle, the ejected ink droplets are only 4 picoliters, and each micro-droplet has a perfect Round. At the same time, a combination of low-density inks can be used to achieve a limit of 1 picoliter that can be distinguished by the human eye. For example, the density of the photo ink used by IP5000 is only 1/6 of that of ordinary ink. The actual ink droplets printed It is equivalent to 0.067 picoliter droplets. Another example is the i950 print head with up to 3072 nozzles, which can eject 74 million ink droplets per second. The independent four-drive motor system makes this printer not only have ultra-fine print quality, but also high-speed photo printing. Features.

Matching of printing paper coating and ink

We need to know that different inks are used on different printers and other things must be added to change its viscosity, surface tension, and possibly thermal expansion coefficient or boiling point, etc., so that different printers can be ejected smoothly. These additives should also be safe for the ink head. The solvents and additives used on different printers make different printers have different selectivity for paper. For example, everyone knows that Epson inkjet printers are picky about ink, but if he replaces his ink, it can be used on any paper just like an HP printer.


We must first understand reflective printing paper. The main purpose of the printing paper coating is to absorb ink faster and prevent the ink from spreading laterally. The ink absorption capacity of ordinary offset paper is also good, but it can not prevent the lateral diffusion of ink, so the resulting image is not high in definition, and the color saturation is very low. At the same time, some readers must have noticed that the surface of the common plaster or whitewashed wall skin can also absorb ink, and the dot spread is relatively small. Therefore, when we print, we also need something similar to gypsum powder for coating, and the print quality will be better. Coated paper is this kind of thing. Its surface is made of some white fine powder mixed with some binder. There are many small holes in the middle to absorb ink. After the ink drops, it spreads in both depth and horizontal direction. Compared with offset paper, its horizontal spread is smaller, so the clarity and color saturation are better. In addition, its pores are relatively large, no matter what kind of ink can be absorbed. But after the moisture of the ink evaporates, these pores also become a smooth channel for the air to enter, so the photos printed on the coated paper fade faster. Pictures printed with HP printers will fade by more than 30% after one year. The coating of the coated paper is still not strong enough, and the powder can be wiped off with a light stroke, and it cannot be protected by laminating. However, another disadvantage of the paper is that the diffuse reflection formed by the rough surface structure makes the maximum density of the photo less than a high degree, and the coating is opaque and the dark layer has a poor sense of layering.

Matching of glossy photo paper and ink

In addition, in addition to coated paper, there are high-gloss photo paper, especially traditional printers such as HP recommends the use of high-gloss photo paper to print photos. If we put a little water on it, the surface coating will become sticky and melt away. But it is transparent again, it is much like a kind of animal glue. However, the current coating probably uses high molecular organic compounds, and will not use the bovine bone glue or pig skin glue used in the film. When a drop of ink drops on it, we will find that the coating bulges obviously after absorbing water. Obviously this "glue" absorbs water and dye molecules into its own microstructure and makes itself soft and swell. A good coating does not absorb ink fast, but absorbs ink slowly, and the surface tension of the coating is relatively large, so that the ink droplets do not infiltrate around like water drops on the lotus leaf when they are not drawn into the "glue". Then slowly suck it into the "glue" and wait for the moisture to evaporate. The "gel" shrinks and wraps the dye tightly. For example, the stronger the ink absorption capacity of the thick coated paper, the smaller the diffusion capacity. You can print with a relatively large amount of ink, the photo effect is clear and sharp, the density of the dark part is large, and the crystal is clear, very realistic. Because the coating is completely transparent, the ink can form a larger concentration, and the incident light is reflected after reaching the bottom layer. After two filterings, the color saturation is very high. And because the dot spread is small, it can be formed by pure additive color to the greatest extent, so the saturation of high brightness red, green, and blue is very high.

The colloidal coating is also divided into soft and hard. The hard coating absorbs ink more slowly and is more selective about the type of ink. The ink's solvent is not suitable and cannot be absorbed. But its ink droplet spread is small, and the formed ink layer is thick, which can print the best photos. It does not absorb the original inks of Epson original ink, Canon original ink and some HP printers.

The soft coating absorbs ink quickly, and almost any ink can absorb it. However, the color of the same ink on different papers varies greatly. The dot spread of this type of paper is usually larger. The softer the paper, the better the ink adaptability and the more serious the paper spread. The sharpness and color saturation of the picture are also worse. However, paper with a soft coating layer usually has a certain water resistance. It is possible that its ink absorption mainly depends on its micropores instead of "glue". Therefore, its "glue" can be insoluble in water, so there is a certain Waterproof. And its surface tension can be specially modulated so that it can only be infiltrated by specific ink, and ordinary ink reaches it like it falls on a lotus leaf, and cannot enter these micropores to bring the ink out.

Based on a comprehensive analysis of the inks of various manufacturers and printing papers, it can be seen that the inkjet printing technologies of HP and Epson are very professional in terms of ink technology. It can be said that the true print quality is comparable, but the overall Epson's inkjet printing technology is more suitable for high-gloss printing paper, which is why Epson's inkjet printers occupy the leading position in the inkjet market. They are more suitable for soft colloidal coated paper. HP's inkjet products are more suitable for cost-insensitive business users. Canon's inkjet products are centered on performance, suitable for a wide range of paper, and the ink price is also the cheapest of the three, so it also occupies a relatively large market share.

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