Epson Micro Piezo Technology
What is an Epson Micro Piezo print head?
“Micro Piezo” is the name of the multi award-winning, proprietary piezoelectric technology that is used in the print heads of all Epson inkjet printers which has made them renowned for their high quality output and reliability, as well as low running cost.
Since the introduction of the technology in 1993 till today, Epson has been the only company that uses a piezoelectric print head throughout its inkjet printing device range – from the smallest personal photo printer, to the largest industrial system.
How does an Epson Micro Piezo print head work?
To push ink out from the print nozzles, an Epson Micro Piezo inkjet print head uses what are known as “piezoelectric” materials that bend when an electrical charge is passed through them.
Using piezoelectric technology, the amount of ink pulled into and expelled out of the nozzles can be very accurately controlled by varying the electrical charge given to the piezoelectric elements. This enables the print head to eject ink droplets in a range of precisely controlled sizes.
Epson’s Variable Sized Droplet Technology (VSDT)
Variable Size Droplet Technology (VSDT) refers to the capability of Epson’s Micro Piezo print head technology to eject ink droplets of different sizes by varying the electrical charge given to the piezoelectric elements. This enables Epson’s printers to achieve variable sized ink droplets as small as 1.5 picoliters. Epson Micro Piezo technology’s ability to achieve such superior precision results in sharp, rich, and virtually grain-free text and images - key qualities strongly associated through the years with Epson’s renowned photo-quality prints.
Epson’s Micro Piezo Advantage
The two most commonly used inkjet printing systems in the market are Epson’s Micro Piezo technology and thermal inkjet printing.
In an Epson Micro Piezo system, ink is ejected by precisely controlled mechanical pressure.
On the other hand, thermal inkjet technology works by rapidly heating resistors built behind the print head’s nozzles to vaporize the ink, creating a bubble which expands so quickly that the ink literally explodes out of the nozzle onto the paper. When the bubble cools and collapses, the resulting vacuum pulls more ink into the print head from the cartridge.
Comparison of Epson's Micro Piezo (left) and thermal inkjet technology (right)
The following table shows the key differences and the advantages of Epson’s Micro Piezo system:
Epson Micro Piezo System
Ink Ejection Method
Ink ejected by mechanical pressure exerted by piezoelectric element.
Ink ejected by creating and exploding an air bubble by rapidly heating the ink.
Ink drop volume controlled by voltage for precise and variable droplet size and high speed ejection.
Achieves higher speeds by increasing nozzle count.
Epson Micro Piezo print heads allow for precisely sized drops of ink of up to five different sizes to be ejected onto the medium, resulting in sharper, grain-free prints with smoother tonal transitions.
Thermal inkjet printers cannot control ink droplet size for individual nozzles.
The low temperature operation of Epson Micro Piezo print heads make them compatible with a wide range of inks, including dye and pigment types, solvent inks, and ultraviolet cure inks.
Limited ink options due to extreme heat involved. Volatile inks are impossible for use in the high heat operation of conventional thermal inkjet printers.
Epson Micro Piezo print heads run much cooler than thermal inkjet ones and can provide reliable operation for the life span of the printer. Therefore, no Epson ink cartridge needs a print head attached, making them more affordable, and environmentally friendly.
Most printers with thermal inkjet print heads need them to be changed regularly because of the extreme heat involved in their operation that will damage them with prolonged use. Therefore, expensive new print heads are usually built into ink cartridges and are replaced with every cartridge change.
Epson Micro Piezo print heads use less power than thermal inkjet pint heads because the piezoelectric method of ink ejection is far more efficient.
The resistors used by thermal print heads to heat the ink consume a much higher amount of power compared to the piezoelectric method.