Printer Technologies-Concept of Inkjet Printers


Inkjet Printers

Definition: An inkjet printer is a printer that forms images by spraying liquid ink from an ink cartridge out of nozzles aimed carefully on the paper. A stepper motor drives a belt that moves the printhead across the paper. Another stepper motor drives rollers that advance the paper. Inkjet printers have a self-cleaning cycle and will park the printhead when not in use. The printer can use heat or vibrations to release the ink.



Figure: An inkjet printer

Inkjet Printer Capabilities

Inkjet printers are very versatile. Inkjet printers vary by:

  • The media they can print on. This includes the following:

—    Inexpensive copier paper

—    Bright paper made specifically for inkjet printers

—    Photo paper

—    Transparencies

—    Labels

—    Card stock

—    Envelopes

  • Whether they produce black and white or color output.
  • The cartridge design and the cost of cartridges.
  • The speed at which they print.
  • Whether the printhead is part of the printer or whether it is packaged together

with the ink tanks in a print cartridge.

  • The paper path. Some printers have a straight-through paper path and others turn

the paper over as it passes through the printer.

  • The resolution in DPI.
  • How the ink is released. It could be by:

—    The piezoelectric method, used in Epson printers. This uses a vibration to release a droplet of ink from the cartridge.

—    The thermal method, used in most other printers. This method releases a droplet of ink by heating up the ink.

  • The volume of the ink drop, expressed in picoliters (10^-12 liters). The smaller the drop, the less grainy the print output.

Solid Ink Printers

Solid ink printers are somewhat of a cross between inkjet and laser printers except that they use ink from melted solid-ink sticks. The melted ink is forced into a printhead, where it is transferred to a drum, which then transfers the image to the paper as it rolls over the drum. Solid ink printers can produce an image with a clear, fine edge on a wide variety of media, such as standard paper or transparency film.

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