Printers use a few different technologies to add ink to paper. From impact versus non-impact to heat versus vibration, we cover it all here. Let us explain how an inkjet printer works.
Traditionally, impact printers such as dot-matrix printer, typewriters, letterpress or line printers had metal, plastic or rubber heads and worked by striking an ink ribbon against the paper and making an impression on the paper. However, over time those impacts would regularly damage the print heads and would require costly fixes or replacements.
To fix those issues, the inkjet printer technology we all know today was born. In simple terms, an inkjet printer sprays drops of inks so small that they’re called microns. A typical droplet is around 50 to 60 microns in diameter, which is thinner than a human hair.
In the Non-impact printers, the printing mechanism doesn’t touch the paper. Inkjet printers are a part of non-impact technologies because they use nozzles in the ink cartridges to spray micron ink droplets onto the paper.
Heat or Vibration Technologies
After the development of non-impact technology for printers, inkjet printers improved by using either heat or vibration technology to spray the ink on the paper. There are two common technologies used under this umbrella, and those are thermal bubble and piezoelectric.
Thermal bubble is also known as Bubble Jets, and they’re mostly used in Canon and HP printers. When you send a print job to the printer, an electric signal triggers a resistor which radiates heat. That heat then makes the ink boil, ultimately making the ink burst onto the paper in a precise and accurate manner.
These have arguably become the most common inkjet cartridges now. These printers are most common among Epson printers because they began the research in the 1970s, and they ultimately patented the technology. Additionally, they don’t have boiling ink. Piezoelectric printers don’t react until it receives an electric charge that vibrates a piezo crystal in the back of the cartridge and forces a micron droplet of ink out of the nozzle of the cartridge.
Now you can say you know how an inkjet printer works, through boiling ink that explodes, or through an electric charge signaling a subtle vibration.
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