As part of our series of articles exploring the Institute for Manufacturing – which is part of the engineering department at the University of Cambridge – we chat with Dr Cristina Rodriguez Rivero.
Research associate Dr Cristina Rodriguez Rivero studies digital printing technologies at the Institute for Manufacturing, helping to drive innovation in the industry.
“Standard printing technology since the invention of the printing press has been analog,” she says.
“You need something like a drum with an image, and you transfer the image by touching another substrate or medium.
“In digital printing technology, we use contactless techniques. We send liquids remotely and control how we eject them to put them on a medium and generate an image.
“This means that from a PC, we can control this in real time and run small batches, so that we can customize the products.
“I work a lot in the personalization of products – especially in media like paper, which is more common, but also flexible materials and glass.
“Printing electronics on uneven surfaces requires an understanding of how the liquid behaves as it leaves a nozzle and how it can interact with coatings.
Cristina uses high-speed cameras to examine this, both for research purposes and to help companies facing specific challenges.
“Industrial printheads can have rows of nozzles – lots of tiny nozzles all together, which release a curtain of drips,” she says. “There are a lot of parameters to study!
Read the other articles in this series
Inside Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing with Tim Minshall and Sir Mike Gregory
Inside the Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing: How the Cyber-Human Lab is increasing our capabilities
Inside the Institute for Manufacturing in Cambridge: a revolution in space propulsion