Meteor Inkjet (Cambridge, UK), a leading supplier of electronics, software, tools and services for industrial inkjet, has developed a new electronics platform to avoid reliance on key computer chips that are currently in short supply worldwide. Meteor develops and supplies electronics and software to drive industrial inkjet printheads from Fujifilm Dimatix, Epson, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Ricoh, Seiko Instruments, Toshiba TEC, Xaar and Xerox. Meteor’s global customer base serves a wide variety of markets including packaging, commercial print, textiles, product decoration, signs, displays & décor, labelling, functional print, 3D and ceramic tiles.
Meteor’s Print Controller Card (PCC) is used by hundreds of OEMs around the world to synchronize image data sent by a PC to arrays of printheads. The PCC was reliant upon an electronic component which is in critically short supply this year, potentially delaying more than 4 million British pounds of printhead drive electronics. Anticipating these long-term supply issues, Meteor embarked upon a fast-track project to rearchitect the PCC. In quick response to the diminishing availability of alternative components, Meteor identified a suitable replacement chip that was freely available in high volume, taking the unusual step to acquire more than a year’s supply of the new chip before even starting development. The risk of this decision paid off, said the company, and Meteor’s new PCC2 print controller is now shipping in “production” quantities. The advanced chipset used in the PCC2 also brings with it increased speed as well as the potential for future functionality enhancements. “The industrial inkjet industry now has an essential component back in production,” Meteor added.
“Meteor’s products are trusted as the most reliable components with which to build an industrial inkjet printer,” said Jonathan Wilson, Meteor’s VP of Business Development. “Our customer base, having grown over the last decade to make Meteor the largest data-path supplier in the industry, had to wait for us to find a solution to what continues to be the worst chip supply shortage ever. I’m delighted that their patience is now being rewarded, and we will quickly clear the order backlog that developed over the last two quarters.”
During the PCC2 development, Meteor worked closely with several companies, including Dantex Digital, a leading digital press manufacturer and long-time Meteor customer. Richard Hall, Dantex R&D Director, added: “We have been pleased to participate as a beta site for Meteor’s PCC2 development. Supply-chain issues, and particularly shortages of electronic components, have taken their toll, and we are happy to work with collaborative partners that demonstrate resilience and customer focus.”