Creating big business opportunities from small nozzles Printers are breaking free from the confines of their own industry to engage in cross-industry collaboration 小噴頭創造大商機 印表機突破產業藩籬跨域合作

You may find it hard to believe that the traditional printer manufacturing industry could be linked to advanced, hi-tech industries like the beauty and skincare industry, the healthcare and biotech sector, the automotive industry, the solar energy industry and the large-screen OLED TV industry.

Ch’en Cheng-Hsiung, Chairman of the Printing Technology Research Institute, points out that the printer industry is at a major turning point in its history; as long as it can achieve a sufficiently high degree of technological innovation, the printer industry is poised for take-off and explosive growth. Motonori Okumura, Chief Operating Officer of Epson’s Imaging and Information Operations Division, notes that, thanks to advances in technology, companies that possess smart inkjet technology are in a position to develop almost unlimited opportunities for cross-industry collaboration.

The basic principle behind the operation of an inkjet printer is to squirt tiny droplets of ink onto paper, thereby creating text or images. The smaller the ink droplets, the more detailed the images. The smallest images that the human eye can see have a resolution of around 1,200 dpi (dots per inch), but today’s printers can already achieve a resolution of 2,800 dpi. Technology innovation is the key factor that will make cross-industry collaboration possible.

The healthcare and biotech sector is another area where printer nozzles can play a major role. Ch’en Cheng-Hsiung explains that “gene chips” have become very important in the healthcare and biotech sector. A special glass chip carrying DNA needs to have several thousand nucleic acid probes placed on a tiny area of just a few square centimeters. The human hand is not capable of achieving the level of precision that is needed here, but a printer nozzle can. This is an application for printers that would have been unimaginable in the past.
醫療生技也是印表機噴頭能著力的產業,陳政雄說明,DNA晶片(gene chip)在醫療生技產業是很重要的,一塊帶有DNA的特殊玻璃片需要在小小的數平方公分之面積上布放數千或數萬個核酸探針,這時人的雙手是無法吻合精密的點滴要求,噴頭的精準度恰能符合此產業需要,這是昔日難以想像的應用方向。