Project Name Development of advanced ink formulations based on specific nanoparticles to be used in inkjet equipments
Project Acronym INKNOJET
Partner name Lurederra Technological Centre - Spain
Betadiseño Cerámicas s.l - Spain
Politronica Inkjet Printing s.r.l. - Italy
Start date December 18th 2012
End date May 18th 2015 Closed
The main aim of INKNOJET project is the development of innovative ink formulations based on specific nanoparticles suitable for general inkjet technology. For this, it is proposed a new method based on two different strategies (FSP, milling), in order to obtain sophisticated mixed/doped nano-oxide pigments, easily applicable, cost effective and at pilot scale. Furthermore, the new method will outstandingly increase the range of inks available for inkjet technology to be applied on ceramic substrates, therefore broadening the horizon of application. In this sense the advanced compositions to be developed will be validated by the application of the inks based on specific nanoparticles in ceramic sector.
Concretely, mixed/doped oxides such as for example SiO2-Co2O3 and SiO2-Au2O3 among others will be synthesised using the most suitable production strategy among the previously assessed; then, Politronica will be the main responsible for the suitable integration of nanoparticles within ink compositions in order to obtain stable and homogeneous ink formulations. For this purpose, Politronica will assess both the directly incorporation of the powder nanoparticles within ink matrix, as well as the incorporation of the nanoparticles previously dispersed in a compatible medium with the other ink components.
Finally ink formulations based on specific nanoparticles developed will be applied in ceramic surfaces by inkjet equipments. Nowadays, there are several printing technologies available for the deposition of inks in different substrates such as screen-printing, roll coating, inkjet, etc. However, the flexible inkjet technology which is an excellent tool for SMEs, has numerous advantages highly valued for the production of customised products, namely, fast design changes, high automation, deposition of precise amount of material avoiding excessive waste of raw materials, and production of small series at high speed among others, allowing to work according to customer requests. Nevertheless, only full inkjet equipments and non-flexible cartridges are able to deal with inkjet technology on ceramic surfaces for example, since these special machines have been designed for final specific applications.
Therefore, for further progress regarding printing equipments and innovative applications, it will be necessary the development of novel formulations, which is the aim of the project. The existing problems regarding inkjet technology are mainly focused on ink compositions. On the one hand, the current inks based on organic compounds available for inkjet equipments are not suitable for its fixation on ceramics since the high temperature processes required decompose the products responsible for the dye ability. On the other hand, currently there are not inks based on inorganic pigments with macrometric size suitable to be applied by inkjet in ceramic substrates due to the particle thickness problems of inks, forcing the use of techniques like screen-printing, 4-colour printing, etc when such deposition is required.