Landa's Nanography a 'huge hit' at drupa

Landa Nanography

Landa has taken the wraps off one of the industry’s best-kept secrets at drupa with the launch of its radical new printing method based on tiny particles.  Landa's Nanography technology - marketed as 'digital printing for mainstream customers' - is proving to be a real draw for visitors to the event.

Landa has not just brought a new way of printing to drupa; the company has also brought six brand new presses along too.  Not all of the presses on display are running live at drupa, but two of them are: the B2 S7 (up to 12,000sph) model and the B1-format S10 (up to 13,000sph).  These models can be seen printing five times a day at the event after Landa’s theatre presentation.

The basis of the new printing method is Landa’s NanoInk made using nano pigment particles that are just a few tens of nanometres in size. The company’s chairman and founder Benny Landa explains that, at this size, the pigments develop special properties, producing a very pure colour, so less pigment is needed.

This aqueous ink is shipped as a concentrate in 15kg containers and then diluted to the correct working concentration inside the press using tap water, with the press system handling any necessary water treatment. “We are not shipping water all around the globe,” says Landa.

As the ink concentrate is used, the containers are constantly weighed so that the press operator knows how much is left of any given colour. Containers collapse down when empty and can be disposed of along with everyday plastic beverage bottles. All the presses print in eight colours - either CMYK plus four special colours, or two sets of CMYK for faster printing or higher resolution.

Specially designed ink ejectors form a complete print image by ejecting drops of NanoInk onto a heated blanket belt. This is dried on the belt, forming an ultra-thin polymeric film. This film, which could be likened to a decal, meets the substrate at a series of rollers and is transferred to it via pressure. Just before the image is transferred, an infra-red booster lamp kicks in, providing the necessary temperature for the transfer to work properly.

“It takes very little energy. The ink film has to be a certain temperature to transfer; we just bump it up to that before transfer,” Landa explains.
The sheets coming off the press feel barely warm, because it’s not the substrate that is heated but the blanket. They can immediately be used in finishing processes, claims Landa, due to NanoInk’s high level of scratch and abrasion resistance.

Landa press operators at drupa have been seen demonstrating this by rubbing a coin across freshly printed sheets. One of the major selling points of Nanography is its ability to print on standard printing papers, whether coated or uncoated, and on non-absorbent synthetics such as plastic films. The presses will even print on notoriously tricky polyethylene. The extreme thinness of the NanoInk layer means it conforms to the gloss levels of the stock.

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