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Kyocera Launches New “EX Series” 600dpi Printhead

Kyocera recently announced the launch of a new Kyocera printhead KJ4B-EX600-RC, which is a 600 dpi print head with the function of recirculating ink to the nozzle. This is the same series as the previously released 1200 dpi KJ4B-EX1200-RC.

Kyocera KJ4A and KJ4B Series Printheads

Kyocera breaks its printheads into two broad categories, with the Kyocera KJ4B saying the head is suitable for use with water-based inks, while the Kyocera KJ4A is designed for UV inks. The new printhead is therefore suitable for a range of applications, from document printing to packaging and textiles.

Kyocera Printhead KJ4B-EX600-RC Features

Unique Monolithic Piezoelectric Actuators

This new printhead is part of a new generation of EX printheads that all use unique monolithic piezoelectric actuators. This is a very thin piezoelectric actuator plate, 116 mm long, 34 mm wide, and only 0.04 mm deep, located above the ink chamber within the printhead. By precisely controlling the voltage applied to this actuator via waveform and drive electronics, Kyocera printhead can cleverly control the shape of this actuator to eject ink from each ink chamber.

Kyocera’s EX series printheads use this large, thin monolithic actuator to eject ink droplets.

Kyocera does already sell a similar printhead, the existing KJ4B EX600, but the latest version achieves full recirculation right to the nozzle plate, as the RC in its name suggests.

This latest KJ4B-EX600-RC does have a number of other improvements compared to the existing version. As a result, the jetting frequency has been increased from 30kHz to 40kHz, meaning the standard print speed has increased from 76.2mpm to 101.6mpm. This is the same speed as the recently released 1200 dpi KJ4B-EX1200-RC. It can produce droplets from a minimum of 5pL to a maximum of 14pL at 40kHz. It can also produce 18pL droplets at up to 30kHz and 24pL at up to 20Khz. This provides OEMs with a wide range of options, aiming to get as much color pigment onto the substrate as quickly as possible.

High Functionality

The printhead features full fluid recirculation through the nozzle plate, which will help limit the potential for nozzle clogging. It appears to have a single ink channel capable of delivering resolutions up to 1200 dpi. It is said to run at speeds of up to 101.6mpm.

Kyocera printhead KJ4B-EX600-RC ink recirculation

Best of all, the new printhead has a native drop size of 2pl, can produce droplets up to 4pl, and has a maximum jetting frequency of 80 kHz. This gives OEMs a lot of flexibility to develop waveforms to optimize drop volume for their specific applications. It also means a much higher volume of ink deposited, which Kyocera says is useful for delivering fluids with more functionality, such as faster drying for commercial printing or pigmented inks for textiles.

This is a growing trend in inkjet printing, as water-based inks are being used for a wider range of applications, such as printing on coated papers and films. And printers are becoming faster at higher resolutions, which means there is also a need for these inks to dry more quickly.

However, this level of functionality also means the ability to handle high-viscosity inks, although the recommended ink viscosity range for the new printhead is 5.0-6.0mPa*s. There is a heating device on the print head, which is usually used to control the viscosity of the ink before ejection. Interestingly, there is also water cooling on the printhead to prevent the electronics board from overheating.

Printhead Structure

The new Kyocera printhead has a print width of 108.3mm and has a total of 2656 nozzles, but only 2560 active nozzles, the same as the existing EX600. However, the new EX600 RC’s physical dimensions are larger than the older head at 200 x 41.6 x 68.2 mm, so it won’t be a direct replacement.

Driving frequency of Kyocera KJ4B-EX600-RC

Otherwise, the overall structure of the new nozzle is the same as the rest of the EX series. The ink flow channels are built into a stack of stainless steel plates laminated together, providing good chemical resistance and a rugged design. The filter within the flow channel is designed to capture any harmful elements in the ink.

There is a heater within the print head, as well as water cooling, which allows the temperature to be adjusted directly from the print head. This make it easier to control the ink viscosity and therefore the drop size regardless of the ambient temperature.

Kyocera KJ4B-EX600-RC Cooling area

Like the KJ4B EX1200 RC, Kyocera will exhibit the printhead at Drupa 2024, the international printing and media industry exhibition, from May 28 to June 7, 2024.

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