The New Inks
Companies in India are developing advanced innovative solutions to make printing technologies environment-friendly and cost effective.
- May, 2010
- By Meenakshi Rohatgi
We have come a long way from the time when people were involved in the arduous task of manual printing, or writing. Today, no office can do without a printer. From the typesetting era to the advent of the high-speed printer, printing has emerged as a full-fledged industry.
The printing industry is witness to a transition from woodblock printing to inkless and to portable printing. With the fast changing needs, lifestyle, and environmental demands, the printing industry is steadily reinventing itself in order to keep up. Now there are printers which can integrate directly to devices such as digital cameras and scanners or even with memory cards. Companies are working hard to even make the printing process easier and cheaper for both the offset and the desktop printers. As the face of hardware changes, the composition of inks is changing too. Even the materials used in printing have undergone a vast transition. Where earlier petroleum was the buzzword, it is now nanotechnology and biodegradable compounds.
NEW INK TECHNOLOGIES
Companies such as Canon and Xerox have been busy improvising their existing solutions and products to keep up with the rapidly changing technology. While Canon has developed the “Bubblejet” technology for better inkjet printing, Epson has patented the “Micro Piezo” technology that prints with consistent small ink droplets and prevents creation of ink mist which is considered a health hazard.
“It is vital that companies keep up with changing social behavioral patterns and new technologies. Any new technology or modification in existing hardware/materials has to be done on the lines of three core points which this techsavvy era demands. The technological developments should be such that it bridges the gap between the technology and the users – that is, the user should be able to personalize the interface and set preferences for quicker output; the changed technology should be able to integrate seamlessly with changing IT infrastructure; and it should be environment sensitive,” says Puneet Datta, assistant director – marketing, business imaging solutions division, Canon.
The need of the hour is to fit a product in any or all of these three benchmarks and make an effort to foresee how products would fit in the future. Xerox has created innovative inks for inkjet printing which are not liquid but rather solid in nature. It largely reduces the hassles related to inkjet printing such as the cost, transportation, and the leakage. Xerox’s ColorQube printer uses this solid ink technology which involves melting of colorful solid resin blocks and squirting the melted ink onto the drum which then imprints the image on the paper. According to Vipin Tuteja, executive director – marketing, business support and international business, Xerox India, this cartridge-free design is capable of reducing almost 90 percent of ink wastage. Epson is also developing innovative ink solutions. It has manufactured a “green ink” which is free from harmful elements such as nickel and copper.
CLOSER TO NATURE
With global warming on the rise and a world impossible without the printing industry, there is a dire need to tweak the printing hardware and change the composition of raw materials for a greener world. EnNatura Technology Ventures, a Delhi-based startup, is proactively doing just that.
EnNatura has developed a biodegradable ink which does not produce any carbon emission. Nestled in the lap of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Delhi) in New Delhi’s Hauz Khas area, EnNatura has metamorphosed from an experiment in the labs to an environmentally-responsible venture. It aims to revolutionize the offset printing industry and erase it from the list of factors contributing to global warming.