Back_f.jpg

Research & Development

Vera Inkjet scientists, engineers and product developers thrive on the challenge of formulating and designing inkjet fluids and inks for both existing and transformative applications. Engineering and development of customised inkjet inks/fluids is at the interphase of fluid dynamics, physics, chemistry, engineering, and material science.

Vera Inkjet State-of-the-Art
Research and Development Centre

Vera Inkjet scientists, engineers and product developers thrive on the challenge of formulating and designing inkjet fluids and inks for both existing and transformative applications. Engineering and development of customised inkjet inks/fluids is at the interphase of fluid dynamics, physics, chemistry, engineering, and material science.

VERA_Venn-01.png

Our expertise ranges from inkjet ink formulation for a specific printhead and substrate to development of functional fluids. Our research has continually expanded our understanding of inkjet ink/fluid formulations and their components like surfactants, humectants, dispersants, pigments, and binders. We study all aspects of ink/fluid bulk and dynamic properties under low and high shear, high frequency, high elongation, and high impact.

 

Equipment

Our in-house R&D lab is equipped with world-class instruments to study all aspects of an inkjet ink/fluid and its components: viscosity at low and high shear, static and dynamic surface tension, conductivity, pH, density, stability, and jetting performance.

Drop watcher

At the heart of Vera’s research lab is an ImageXpert drop watcher to observe jetting performance. This is an essential tool for inkjet experts to study drop volume, drop shape, drop velocity, and many other jetting parameters for different print heads, fluids, and drive electronics. Highly precise imaging is performed at half micron resolution such that drops smaller than 1 pL can be easily visualized and analyzed. 

VERA_Dropwatcher.jpg

NANOPHOX

This is an indispensable tool at Vera’s lab given that the rheology of the ink and dispersing polymer, and the opacity, tinting strength, gloss, film durability, and functionality of the pigment dispersion depend on the particle size distribution. NANOPHOX uses dynamic light scattering and can analyze highly concentrated suspensions with particle sizes ranging from 0.5 nm to 10,000 nm within a 0-90°C temperature range. Particle size distribution, polydispersity, and stability of suspensions can be easily obtained.

VERA_Nanophox+Zeina.jpg

SITA Tensiometer

Since drop formation and wetting is largely controlled by dynamic and static surface tension, respectively, highly accurate measurements of surface tension are required for the optimization of the type and amount of surfactant used in inks. The SITA tensiometer uses the bubble pressure method with a bubble lifetime in the range of 15 ms - 20 s to yield accurate and fast measurements.

VERA_Tensiometer.jpg

Fluidicam RHEO

While drop formation and jetting from the printhead nozzle is important, the flow of ink through the printhead channels and ink chamber is equally critical for optimum performance. Due to the high flow rates within the microfluidic system, the fluids experience high shear rates which can be accurately studied with the Fluidicam RHEO. It combines microfluidic principles with optical acquisition under high shear rates of up to 105 s-1 within a 4-80 oC temperature range to produce highly accurate shear viscosity profiles. 

Dispermat Bead Mill

In order to remain at the forefront of inkjet research, the development of dispersants and in-house methods for pigment dispersion is a priority at Vera. Using the Dispermat bead mill, milling speeds of up to 20,000 rpm are achievable. Several parameters are studied such as pigment to vehicle ratio, type and size of the beads, milling time, and rotation speed to yield a dispersion with optimum particle size and rheology that is stable in the ink vehicle.

VERA_Dispermat.jpg

Spectrophotometer

Since inkjet ink research is a very colourful field, it is only natural that it requires accurate colour measurement. Using X-Rite’s spectrophotometer, colour and opacity can be efficiently measured for patch sizes as small as 7 × 7 mm.

In addition to the above instruments, Vera’s lab is equipped with rotational Brookfield and vibrational viscometers for low shear modes, various DTG and graphic printers, curing and drawdown apparatuses, and tools to study ink aging and freezing.

Through collaborations with colleagues at McGill University and Université de Montréal, Vera also has access to state-of-the-art characterization equipment such as electron and infrared spectroscopy.

VEAR_Spectro+Sam.jpg