Bright New Horizons for Memjet DuraLink Integrators
It’s here! We’ve been waiting for it and now it’s here – Memjet pigment ink and second generation print heads. This introduction starts the path to new generations of Memjet-enabled devices arriving in the market.
There were some interesting changes to the Memjet go-to-market that emerged from the announcement of DuraLink technology at the Memjet Analyst Day in August. DuraLink, the second-generation print platform from Memjet, supports aqueous pigment inks through newly designed print bars that form part of an integration kit. Memjet General Manager for Commercial Presses Eric Owen compared the new platform to a Blue Apron Box, where integrators take the modules they need to integrate the technology into their platform, as opposed to the first generation VersaPass which was delivered as a self-contained print engine supporting dye-based inks. The new technology uses pigmented inks, new heating technology, and 70,400 nozzles that enable up to 1600 x 1585dpi printing up to 2.5 meters wide. DuraLink joins the first generation dye-based technology which is now branded as VersaPass. The addition of the DuraLink solutions gives existing and future OEMs an important new option for print engines.
DuraLink Technical Specs
- Configurable up to 100.9 in / 2.5 m wide
- Up to 1600 x 1585 dpi resolution
- Up to 668 fpm / 203 mpm
- Print heads 8.77in/222.8mm width
- Aqueous pigment inks
- Sold as components to be integrated
For existing OEMs that want to replace VersaPass heads with DuraLink heads, Duralink is expected to take nine to 12 months to integrate. For new OEMs the Memjet team expects it to take 1-2 years to do the needed Mechanical Engineering. Memjet expects the first DuraLink-based products to enter the market in 2019.
|Printhead||Maintenance Module||Ink Supply||Waste Ink Management||Aerosol Management||Print Engine Supervisor||Print Bar Interface||Dongle Dock|
An important claim for Duralink is the reliability of the print heads. According to Memjet, with Duralink printheads and inks, nozzle-out conditions will go unnoticed due to the 5X nozzle redundancy of the new head design. The new 2.2 pl drop weight aqueous pigmented ink with its more limited dot gain is also expected to provide crisper images. Memjet also makes important assertions about the DuraLink’s pigmented inks, that they are water-fast, fade resistant and environmentally friendly.
The inks’ gamut is broader than GRACoL for coated papers, compared to Memjet’s dye based inks, with noticeably smaller ranges on plain papers. There is still testing to do on a broader range of substrates to codify the best substrates for the new technology, but over time OEMs should have the tools they need to target a broad base of applications, from transaction and commercial to labels and packaging.
Resolution Meters per Minute Feet per Minute Inches per Second
1600 x 1585 74.5 m/min 244.5 fpm 48.9 ips
1600 x 1260 93.7 m/min 307.5 fpm 61.5 ips
1600 x 790 149.5 m/min 490.5 fpm 98.1 ips
1600 x 580 203.6 m/min 668.1 fpm 133.6 ips
What does it mean?
While the technical details of the technology are interesting, the challenges that face Memjet and their integrators are also worth mentioning. The first generation of Memjet heads, VersaPass, was dye-based and found acceptance in transaction printing, office products, tabletop and high-speed label printers, and some wide format applications. With the pigmented inks and the new head technology, Memjet says that DuraLink is designed both for simplicity and for greater utility. Memjet’s management expects OEMs to take the new DuraLink technology into a wider range of applications, expanding in wide format, growing in transaction and commercial printing, and adding packaging applications over time. Much of where the technology goes will depend on Memjet’s OEMs. In the Memjet business model, the OEMs are responsible for all warranties, head life claims, and customer engagement, not to mention their marketing skill and overall support.
We know from watching other inkjet manufacturers that there is often a disconnect between the capabilities of the technology and the training provided by the vendor who directly engages with the end customer. The Memjet DuraLink technology will be capable of excellent print quality under the right circumstances with the right preparation, right substrate selection, and right decisions about print speeds and drying methods. The burden is on the OEMs to build a value proposition, match capabilities to markets, and deliver on the promise of a new generation of Memjet technology.