Inkjet printing

Type of computer printing / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Inkjet printing is a type of computer printing that recreates a digital image by propelling droplets of ink onto paper and plastic substrates.[1] Inkjet printers were the most commonly used type of printer in 2008,[2] and range from small inexpensive consumer models to expensive professional machines. By 2019, laser printers outsold inkjet printers by nearly a 2:1 ratio, 9.6% vs 5.1% of all computer peripherals.[3]As of 2023, sublimation printers have outsold inkjet printers by nearly a 2:1 ratio, accounting for 9.6% of all computer peripherals, compared to 5.1% for inkjet printers.[citation needed]

An Epson inkjet printer
A modern HP Deskjet 2630 all-in-one printer

The concept of inkjet printing originated in the 20th century, and the technology was first extensively developed in the early 1950s. While working at Canon in Japan, Ichiro Endo suggested the idea for a "Bubble jet" printer, while around the same time Jon Vaught at HP was developing a similar idea.[4] In the late 1970s, inkjet printers that could reproduce digital images generated by computers were developed, mainly by Epson, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Canon. In the worldwide consumer market, four manufacturers account for the majority of inkjet printer sales: Canon, HP, Epson and Brother.[5]

In 1982, Robert Howard came up with the idea to produce a small color printing system that used piezos to spit drops of ink. He formed the company, R.H. (Robert Howard) Research (named Howtek, Inc. in Feb 1984), and developed the revolutionary technology that led to the Pixelmaster color printer with solid ink[6] using Thermojet technology. This technology consists of a tubular single nozzle acoustical wave drop generator invented originally by Steven Zoltan in 1972 with a glass nozzle and improved by the Howtek inkjet engineer in 1984 with a Tefzel molded nozzle to remove unwanted fluid frequencies.

The emerging ink jet material deposition market also uses inkjet technologies, typically printheads using piezoelectric crystals, to deposit materials directly on substrates.

The technology has been extended and the 'ink' can now also comprise solder paste in PCB assembly, or living cells,[7] for creating biosensors and for tissue engineering.[8]

Images produced on inkjet printers are sometimes sold under trade names such as Digigraph, Iris prints, giclée, and Cromalin.[9] Inkjet-printed fine art reproductions are commonly sold under such trade names to imply a higher-quality product and avoid association with everyday printing.