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Coating Development - Curtain Coating Ink Jet

A client producing matt Ink Jet coatings on paper in an offline process was considering investment in new application technology and requested us to perform some development work to identify the most suitable equipment for them and to review their coatings to show what reformulation would be required to take advantage of the potential new capability.

Work Carried Out:
Based on our experience of these types of products it was clear that a contour coat would be required to achieve a uniform mottle free coating for optimum ink jet printing. The client was using Meyer bar coating and had problems with poor pattern and machine direction lines in the coating. Air Knife and Curtain were the two potential technologies selected that could offer improvements and of these two for investment review were air knife or curtain coating. The client agreed that curtain coating was their preferred option.

The project involved:
  1. Analysis of pros and cons of air knife and curtain technologies.
  2. Laboratory based work to optimise the viscosity, interfacial properties and extensional rheology of the formulation to make it suitable for curtain coating.
  3. Performance testing of new formulation lab coatings on a range of printer types to ensure print quality not affected by changes.
  4. Optimisation of formulation to enhance quality.
  5. Re-specification of base paper to optimise benefits of the new technology.
  6. Review of different curtain technology options and bubble eliminators.
  7. Arranging and managing trials at equipment suppliers to derisk scale up and to produce material for market testing.