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A Compact Inkjet Printhead with a Thin-Film Piezoelectric Actuator

Reduced size through an original high-integration design based on MEMS technology


The industrial printing market has seen a boost in demand from customers for the printing of multiple items in small lots. More and more users now demand a compact inkjet printhead that can be readily incorporated into their existing printing systems.


Ricoh has developed a compact inkjet printhead through its original high-integration design based on MEMS technology. The novel inkjet printhead features a thin-film piezo actuator in its droplet discharge mechanism. The printhead is compatible with UV, solvent, and aqueous inks and ready for use in various industrial applications, including signage graphics, textiles, and labels.

MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System): A generic term for micro electromechanical devices and technologies

Video: RICOH TH5241

Technical Highlights

The novel printhead, RICOH TH5241, features a high-density layout of nozzles and pressurized ink chambers. The gaps between the nozzle arrays are minimized to better implement four-color printing functions. The printhead features a staggered array of four nozzle rows, each row having a density of 300 npi (nozzles per inch) and an independent ink path. A single RICOH TH5241 printhead works in multiple configurations to suit a variety of applications:

  1. 4 colors: 300 npi × 4 rows
  2. 2 colors: 600 npi × 2 rows
  3. 1 color: 600 npi × 2 rows

(Two 600 npi rows are alternately used to double productivity compared to configuration 2.)

Nozzle layout of inkjet printhead with thin-film piezo actuator

Another unique feature of the RICOH TH5241 is its low weight, owing to the use of many resin parts. It has as many nozzles as the RICOH MH5320 but weighs only about one-third as much.

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