XAAR, the printhead manufacturer based in Cambridge, UK, recently released a new printhead model, the XAAR 5501.
This is a piezoelectric printhead. This type of printheads work based on a ceramic piece that deforms (bends) when a voltage is applied. The rapid change of shape of the ceramic plate is what fires ink out of the nozzles.
The model name comes from the fact that it has 5544 nozzles, each producing 5 picoliter ink drops. The XAAR 5501 head has a print width of 11.5 cm (4.52 inches).
Intended markets for the XAAR 5501 printhead
According to XAAR, this new printhead model is compatible with aqueous inks, UV inks and solvent-based inks.
In other words, this printhead handles a number of inkjet inks for commercial applications. The intended markets for the XAAR 5501 are
• Direct to garment
• Dye sublimation (transfer)
• Soft signage
Another application listed by XAAR is ceramics.
This new model was introduced and exhibited for the first time at Ceramics China 2017, a trade show held in Guangzhou, China every year.
FLAAR Reports has attended ceramics trade shows several times around the world such as Tecnargilla, in Italy.
At the time, this XAAR printhead is not yet available, but the company will have it available to manufacturers before the end of 2017.
Interesting features on this XAAR 5501 printhead
This new XAAR printhead model has a micro alignment system to align printheads via software. This feature makes printer warm-up time faster.
Similar to the XAAR 1001 introduced in 2010, (which replaced the widely used XAAR 760 model), the XAAR 5501 printhead comes with an integrated ink recirculation system. This means the printer design needs lower integration costs.
In launching mode
What’s interesting is the XAAR 5501 is the second printhead launched within a month.
Just a few weeks before launching this new printhead, the company announced another printhead, the XAAR 1003 AMx, which was introduced at Display Week 2017.
A migration of markets?
15 years ago, XAAR was one of the dominant printhead brands in the wide-format signage industry. But we are gradually noticing XAAR is starting to move its focus away from signage.
The company is starting to explore other industries such as ceramics and 3D applications.
We hope to evaluate this XAAR printhead in action in a future trade show, or in the company’s headquarters.