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Magnetic dry toner is metered onto a rotating roller, charged and artificially aged to simulate a certain number of copies. The instrumentation determines the charge transferred to the toner.

“This extensive application-specific product portfolio and an understanding of the application area as well as the interaction of the individual toner constituents cultivated over many years have contributed enormously to the success of both companies in the toner industry,” said Maria-Anna Biebl, head of WACKER’s HDK® business team. Regional teams at Clariant work closely with Wacker Chemie AG. This ensures that market requirements are identified and innovations are implemented in a targeted manner.

Lab-Scale Production

“Our customers expect supply security and product innovation,” explains Dr. Ingmar Piglosiewicz, the chemist who manages the toner applications lab at WACKER in Burghausen. His team develops tailor-made silica specialties in close collaboration with Clariant and their end customers. The focus is always on customer requirements and long-term practical implementation. In Dr. Piglosiewicz’s experience, it is crucial to be able produce silicas on a laboratory scale.

WACKER technicians also incorporate all the established analytical methods used in the toner industry to align the silica specialties to customers’ requests. “Key properties such as triboelectric chargeability, charge distribution, hydrophobicity and the mechanical strength of dry toners must be positively influenced by the silica products,” stresses Dr. Piglosiewicz. All these measurement parameters are important in electrophotography because the toner particles, which are just a few micrometers in size, must follow their predetermined path on the paper with utmost precision.

Dry toners are essentially composed of a resin, which binds the pigment, waxes and charge control agent. Initially neutral, it becomes triboelectrically charged upon contact with a magnetic powder. Mixing the two powders causes friction and a charge separation. A similar charge phenomenon can be observed when you rub a balloon against a rough surface.

How a Laser Printer Works

Electrophotography is used in photocopiers and printers: toner particles coated in silica are controlled by electrostatic forces and transferred to the paper.