Epson Micro Piezo Technology
Advance print heads for today and tomorrow
What is an Epson Micro Piezo print head?
“Micro Piezo” is the name of the multi award-winning, proprietary piezoelectric technology that is used in the print heads of all Epson inkjet printers which has made them renowned for their high quality output and reliability, as well as low running cost.
Since the introduction of the technology in 1993 till today, Epson has been and remains the only company that uses a piezoelectric print head throughout its inkjet printing device range – from the smallest personal photo printer, to the largest industrial system.
How does an Epson Micro Piezo print head work?
To push ink out from the print nozzles, an Epson Micro Piezo inkjet print head uses what are known as “piezoelectric” materials that bend when an electrical charge is passed through them. Elements made of these materials are built behind the print nozzles. When an initial electrical charge is applied to them, these elements bend backward, drawing precise amounts of ink from the ink chamber into the firing chamber. When the electrical pulse is reversed, the piezoelectric elements bend the opposite way very rapidly, propelling the ink out of the nozzles at high speed.
Using piezoelectric technology, the amount of ink pulled into and expelled out of the nozzles can be very accurately controlled by varying the electrical charge given to the piezoelectric elements which in turn, varies the degree to which they bend; so the print head can eject ink droplets in a range of precisely controlled sizes.
Epson’s Variable Sized Droplet Technology (VSDT)
Variable Size Droplet Technology (VSDT) refers to the capability of Epson’s Micro Piezo print head technology to eject ink droplets of different sizes by varying the electrical charge given to the piezoelectric elements. This enables Epson’s printers to achieve variable sized ink droplets as small as 1.5 picoliters. Epson Micro Piezo’s ability to achieve such superior precision results in sharp, rich, and virtually grain-free text and images - key qualities strongly associated through the years with Epson’s renowned photo-quality prints.
Epson’s Micro Piezo Advantage
Inkjet printers print by firing tiny droplets of ink onto a medium. The two most commonly used systems in the market are Epson’s Micro Piezo technology and thermal inkjet printing.
In an Epson Micro Piezo system, ink is fired using mechanical pressure. On the other hand, thermal inkjet technology works by electrifying microscopic resistors in tiny ink chambers behind the print head’s nozzles to rapidly create an intense heat that causes a violent and sudden increase in temperature vaporizes ink to create a bubble that expands so rapidly, the ink literally explodes out of the nozzle onto the paper. When the bubble cools and contracts, the resulting vacuum pulls more ink into the print head from the cartridge.
The following table shows the key differences and the advantages of Epson’s Micro Piezo system:
Epson Micro Piezo System
Mechanical pressure exerted by piezoelectric element
Ink ejected by creating and exploding an air bubble by rapidly boiling the ink
Ink motion controlled by voltage for precise and variable droplet size & high speed ejection
Achieves higher speeds by increasing nozzle count
Micro Piezo print heads allow for precisely sized drops of ink of up to five different sizes to be ejected onto the medium, resulting in sharper, grain-free prints with smoother tonal transitions
Thermal inkjet printers can achieve at most two droplet sizes by using print heads with nozzles of different sizes
The low temperature operation of Epson Micro Piezo print heads make them compatible with a wide range of inks, including dye and pigment types, solvent inks, and ultraviolet cure inks
Limited ink options due to extreme heat involved. UV and Solvent inks are impossible for use as they are too volatile for use in the high heat operation of conventional thermal inkjet printers
Epson Micro Piezo print heads run much cooler than thermal inkjet ones and can provide reliable operation for the life span of the printer. Therefore, no Epson inkjet print cartridge needs a print head attached, making them more affordable.
Most printers with thermal inkjet print heads need them to be changed regularly because of the extreme heat involved in their operation that will damage them with prolonged use. Therefore, expensive new print heads are usually built into ink cartridges and are replaced with every cartridge change