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16.08.2018 | Materials Technology | News | Onlineartikel

New pigment inks for extreme temperatures

Wiebke Sanders

In some branches of industry, processes take place at temperatures of several hundred degrees Celsius - for example in a ceramic furnace. Only very few inks for component-marking with ink jet printers can withstand these extreme temperatures. With this in mind, marking and coding specialist Paul Leibinger GmbH & Co. KG from Tuttlingen has introduced a pigment ink to the market, which allows a clear typeface even at 1000 °C.

In a furnace where ceramic components for industrial applications harden – such as spark plugs, insulators and cutting tools – temperatures of up to 1000 °C are reached. For such applications, Paul Leibinger GmbH & Co. KG from Tuttlingen, Germany, has developed a heat-resistant ink for its JET3up PI inkjet printer. It is designed for the inkjet printer JET3up PI – a printer that marks products with the so-called CIJ technology (Continuous Inkjet) without contact.

These high temperatures represent a real challenge for printing inks with which manufacturers mark the components even before firing. “The danger is that the ink burns in the furnace and dissolves into soot. The typeface, such as a model number, would no longer be readable, so the component would be rejected,” explains Christina Leibinger, Managing Proprietor of Leibinger. “That's exactly why we developed a new ink for our JET3up PI CIJ printer, which ensures a reliably readable typeface with high contrasts even at temperatures of up to 1000° C.” Not only ceramics can be printed, but also metal and glass; for example, in the production of light bulbs and halogen lamps. The printing ink is now available and compatible with the Leibinger JET3up PI CIJ printer.

Floating, heat-resistant paint particles

Heat-resistant ink is a pigmented ink. Black color particles float in a medium – unlike a dye ink in which the dye is dissolved in the medium and evaporates immediately at extreme temperatures. The experts succeeded in modifying the pigment ink’s particles and medium in such a way that they can withstand heat of up to 1000 °C – unscathed. They also found a way to keep the particles in suspension through chemical stabilization. This slows down the so-called sedimentation process, in which the pigments settle.

Up to 120 million characters per tank filling

In the printhead, an ink jet, consisting of up to 96,000 electrically charged single drops per second, shoots through a nozzle. When printing, a high-voltage field changes the trajectory of individual drops, so that they end up as pixels on the product surface. The remaining drops fly into a catcher tube, and are sucked back into the continuously circulating hydraulic circuit and used there. The printing technology is fast enough to keep up with conveyor belt speeds of up to 10 m/s and is also extremely cost-effective.

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