The InkDock™ D2C Printer is an industrial UV inkjet printer for cylindrical objects.
It incorporates a TOSHIBA TEC ink recirculating printhead, our InkDock™ recirculating ink supply and a UV curing unit. A rotating table moves vertically to allow either spiral or circumferential printing. The video below shows a design being printed onto a cardboard tube.
The print height of this TOSHIBA TEC CF3 600dpi head in "skyscraper" orientation is around 54mm, so to print this much wider design, the image file is split into 3 sections and the rotating table is lowered two times during the print cycle, by exactly the width of the image sections so that they are "stitched" together without gaps or overlaps. The UV curing lamp is turned on just before printing begins to ensure that all of the jetted UV ink is properly cured.
When printing spiral designs, the print table moves continuously while the UV ink is jetted and cured, instead of sequentially stepping to new positions as in the video below.
The D2C Printer's user interface is browser-based, offering full control over the InkDock™ supply parameters to match any given UV ink. Recirculation of the ink allows heavier pigments and higher viscosity carriers to be jetted successfully.
This direct-to-cylinder printer is an example of custom-built units from iTools. It was designed by us as a "proof-of-concept" for one of our customers, prior to being installed as a fully-integrated print station on a production line.
We frequently use this cost-effective "proof-of-concept" approach as an intermediate stage when designing industrial printing systems. The advantage to the customer is that they don't need to commit to the full cost of a final solution from the outset of the project. This is particularly important when new technologies such as inks, substrates and application methods are being explored. Our aim in these circumstances is to prove that the concept is viable before launching into full-scale production of a final solution. This allows us to make design changes to improve the concept without high expenditure.
The InkDock™ D2C Printer is a fully-functional, robustly-built unit that is available to purchase. Modifications to suit specific applications are of course always possible.