New inkjet pigment dispersion plant from Fujifilm
25 March 2021: In order to accelerate the growth of the global inkjet business, FUJIFILM Imaging Colorants, Inc. (FFIC) is building a new production plant for pigment dispersions, which is a colorant for water-based pigment inkjet inks. Construction will start in April 2021 and is scheduled for completion by 2022 at an investment of $19m.
There is a growing need to use water-based pigment inkjet inks, which have low environmental impact and potential to meet requirements for food packaging safety compliance. Currently, FFIC in the U.S. is a water-based inkjet ink manufacturing facility. By adding the new production plant for pigment dispersions (the main colorant in water-based pigment inkjet inks), it will be able to produce consistent, fully-featured water-based pigment inkjet inks built with it’s own core dispersion technology.
In order to produce high-quality water-based pigment inkjet inks, technology that produces a stable dispersion of pigment in the ink is critical. The size of pigment particles in ink are around 100 nm and in an unstable ink, multiple pigment particles would aggregate and sink, resulting in printhead nozzle blockages during printing. To prevent this, the pigment particles in the ink must be in a uniform and stable dispersion. Inkjet ink formulations also contain co-solvents and other functional materials to give the ink its desired properties. It is therefore essential that the stability of the dispersion is maintained and not compromised by the presence of these materials. Fujifilm’s pigment dispersions are based on its ‘RxD (Reactive Dispersant)’ technology, which cross-links polymer dispersants adsorbed on the pigment particles.
Currently, the development and manufacture of pigment dispersions using RxD technology is limited to FUJIFILM Imaging Colorants Ltd. in Grangemouth, Scotland. In the establishment of a new dispersion plant in the US, the company will continue to ensure the production of the highest quality products and strengthen global supply capacity to meet the future needs of the growing industrial inkjet market.