The Emergence of Thermal Inkjet Technology
The mid-2020s saw a technology that had been printing documents in offices for many years appear on the industrial coding and marking scene - thermal inkjet (TIJ) - and it offered some notable benefits over other methods.
The advantage of printing a document is that the surface to be printed on is constant - paper or, from time to time, photo paper. With water as the base for the inks, the surface had to be porous, but pharmaceutical labels seldom are. The breakthrough for TIJ was when inks were formulated that used ethanol as their base, but which could be handled in the same cartridge (something the cartridge manufacturers also helped with)
The 'thermal part of the name comes from the use of a small heating element behind each ink delivery nozzle of which there are two columns, each with 150 orifices in a half-inch (12.7 mm) nozzle plate. As each element is energized, the ink in front of it expands as it is expelled out of the cartridge onto the label.
Here was a technology that was fully programmable, clean in operation (the same compact cartridge system already sat on desks throughout the world), and it was easy to fit the beak bar of a labelling system.