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Case study

Preventing nozzle blockage to reduce costs with bespoke filtration

Chemicals and coatings


SupaSpun Capsule


Specialist Digital Ink Manufacturer


Filtration of Digital Printing Ink for Porcelain



Value Added

Extended Lifetime & Preventing Printhead Blockage


Chemicals & Coatings

The problem

Ink specifically formulated for the decoration of stone and porcelain tiles brings unique challenges when it comes to filtration. To ensure adequate penetration of the metalised ink into the ceramic surface, it's necessary to use a solvent-based solution. These help etch the surface, maximising the performance of the decoration and providing a much higher quality finish in terms of appearance and service life.


A specialist digital ink manufacturer approached us to improve their process. They were having problems with the consistent premature blocking of the printheads at their customers.

Close inspection of the printhead nozzles revealed it wasn't the agglomerated pigments or ink gels that were causing the blockages. Rather it was polypropylene particles shed by the degrading filter.

When choosing the correct filter for this application, there are three main performance criteria:

  1. Efficiency and cut-off characteristics. Will the filter protect my printheads while maximising the throughput of colour pigment?
  2. Lifetime. Good filtration efficiency with poor lifetime protects the printhead but isn't viable in consumable costs.
  3. Compatibility. The filtration materials must withstand long exposure to potentially aggressive solvents.

The filter manufacturer's technical expertise is paramount in addressing all three of these performance criteria.

In this case, the client had installed products that weren't compatible with their process.

The solution

The ink is a complex formulation of metallic pigments such as ruthenium (Re) and gold (Au) mixed with proprietary solvents and paraffins. Following analysis of the chemical formulation, it was clear the pleated polypropylene of the existing filter material would be severely degraded.

Filtration media in depth filters comprises small diameter continuous fibres that have a high surface area in contact with the filtered fluid. This is ideal for filtration efficiency, but it also accentuates any chemical compatibility issues.

The solution was to move from polypropylene pleated media to a bespoke SupaSpun Capsule with meltblown depth filter construction manufactured from nylon.

Close up of a pleated capsule filter being installed

The results

The new capsules were subjected to rigorous acceptance tests, including soak testing and printer qualification. There was no sign of physical degradation of the nylon media and the printer tests proved we'd successfully eliminated the printhead blockage. Our solution extended operational lifetime from below one month to three months.

By solving this problem, the client has reduced filtration consumable costs to their customers and eliminated costly printer head refurbishment and replacement.


When selecting filtration products for complex applications, such as digital ink, it's important to assess all aspects of the filtration process. In this case, an oversight on chemical compatibility caused significant resource and financial implications that required the expert eye of a seasoned supplier to discern.

If you'd like to learn how Amazon Filters can help you with your digital ink filtration, please get in touch.

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