Fujifilm expands inkjet ink manufacturing
Published: 19 March 2021 | No comments yet
An artist's impression of the new plant in Delaware, US, where construction commences in April 2021
Fujifilm Imaging Colorants (FFIC) is to construct a new production plant for pigment dispersions in the US, in order to accelerate global growth of the company’s inkjet business.
FFIC is a subsidiary of Fujifilm, and operates a water-based inkjet ink manufacturing facility in the US state of Delaware. By adding the new production plant for pigment dispersions, which are the main colourant in water-based pigment inkjet inks, it will be able to produce, ‘consistent, fully-featured water-based pigment inkjet inks’ and built with Fujifilm’s own core dispersion technology, RxD.
RxD – reactive dispersant – technology cross-links polymer dispersants adsorbed on the pigment particles. The dispersant prevents desorption from the pigment, creating a ‘very stable’ dispersion. This technology makes RxD dispersions suitable for multiple applications, as they enable the design of stable ink formulations that meet demanding performance requirements, according to Fujifilm.
The company further noted that in order to produce high-quality water-based pigment inkjet inks, technology that produces a stable dispersion of pigment in the ink is critical. The size of pigment particles in ink are around 100nm and in an unstable ink, multiple pigment particles would aggregate and sink, resulting in printhead nozzle blockages during printing. To prevent this, the pigment particles in the ink must be in a uniform and stable dispersion. Inkjet ink formulations also contain co-solvents and other functional materials to give the ink its desired properties. It is therefore essential that the stability of the dispersion is maintained and not compromised by the presence of these materials.
RxD dispersions are used not only for Fujifilm’s own inks, but also supplied to ink manufacturers around the world, and which are used in many water-based pigment inkjet inks.
Currently, the development and manufacture of pigment dispersions using RxD technology is limited to the FFIC location in Grangemouth, Scotland. By establishing a new dispersion plant at FFIC in the US, Fujifilm identified that it will, ‘continue to ensure the production of the highest quality products and strengthen global supply capacity to meet the future needs of the growing industrial inkjet market.’
FFIC, Inc. president and chief operating officer, Ian Wilkinson, explained, ‘RxD is a key technology for current and next-generation water-based inkjet inks. Expansion of our manufacturing capacity is part of a commitment to ensure we can meet increasing demand to support our global customer base. We are already manufacturing a very high-quality, high-purity product in the UK.
‘In this venture we are using the design and project management expertise of our UK team to execute this project in the US. This, alongside expert knowledge, technology and processes will ensure that we manufacture RxD dispersions to the same exceptional standard across both sites.’
Construction on the new will plant in Delaware will commence in April 2021, and is scheduled for completion by 2022. The investment for this construction is approximately $19 million.
Read more about innovations in inkjet digital printing, and also developments in printheads, in the March/April 2021 issue of Digital Labels & Packaging; register here to receive the magazine, for free