Inkjet printing

Functional inkjet printing is an additive manufacturing technology applying industrial inkjet heads to deposit functional materials. These functional materials can have dielectric, conductive, adhesive, mechanical, optical or chemical properties, and are printed pixel by pixel from a digital file.

Because of its precise drop placement and accurate drop volumes, functional inkjet printing is one of the methods of choice for manufacturing of printed electronics as well as more traditional product ranges such as displays, sensors, semiconductors, mems, life science products and optics. Inkjet printing is truly additive and can create very fine features needed for product miniaturization without the use of lithography and all the process steps related with it. It is also fully digital, avoiding the use of masks or screens and offering extremely fast product-to-product changeover times. In both cases inkjet printing reduces manufacturing cost.

With a typical distance between the substrate and the inkjet head of just under 1 mm, inkjet is a non-contact deposition technology. This means that there is no risk of damaging fragile substrates, and more importantly can deposit on top of existing 3D topology and fill trenches and cavities, which is a challenge for traditional printing techniques like screen printing.

Because industrial inkjet heads have a high number of parallel nozzles and print heads can be stacked into arrays, inkjet achieves a very high throughput. By printing multiple layers of material on top of each other, inkjet printing can also be used as a 3D printing method.

As inkjet printing works with any digital layout, which can contain either fine patterns or homogeneous layers and can tap into a wealth of printable functional materials, it is a very versatile technology.

OPE Journal educates on inkjet printer design considerations

ChipScaleReview explores challenges in semiconductor packaging

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