Xeikon is drip feeding further details of Trillium, its new breakthrough printing technology, at Drupa 2012. The new technology is a liquid image development system based on High Viscosity Toner (HVT), formerly called Quantum.
The technology will be first implemented in a range of products dedicated to the document and commercial printing markets which will be marketed in parallel with the current 8000 Series. No images have been released thus far so you will have to make do with this outdoor billboard poster for Trill budgie food rather than a dull looking product logo.
The company says its unique combination offers far lower running costs at significantly improved speeds, while maintaining the high quality levels and eco-sustainability of Xeikon’s current presses. For printers, this means no longer having to compromise between image quality and productivity/cost.
“For the last few years, the conventional wisdom has been that printers choose electrophotographic (EP) presses for high quality and inkjet for high speed and lower costs,” says Wim Maes, CEO of Xeikon. “Xeikon’s Trillium technology changes this thinking as it utilises the best of both and closes the gap between speed/cost and quality. As it is toner based and a waterless non-Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) technology, it will also enables printing on untreated substrates. Moreover, it is fully compatible with the existing paper recycling technologies and has the potential to become fully sustainable from a toner composition perspective.”
Xeikon’s Trillium is a colloidal suspension (or sol) of toner in a carrier liquid (a pharmaceutical grade white oil), which allows toner particles down to 2 microns in size – up to 4 times smaller than its dry form. The smaller toner particles enable high resolution and result in less toner consumption. The implementation of High Viscosity Toner (HVT) allows the use of the smallest gaps in the transfer zones to deliver a combination of high image quality and high speed. Another key strength of Trillium technology lies in its ability to print mid- to high image coverage at high quality, which makes it particularly suitable for direct marketing and commercial printing applications. Furthermore, the technology offers a lot more head room for both speed and width improvements in the future.
With ownership of the key patents for both the toner and technology, Xeikon has the rights to incorporate HVT in a printing press and produce the necessary consumables.
The new printing process consists of six steps: charging, expose & erase, develop & clean, intermediate transfer, substrate transfer and fixation of the toner. The particles are not charged during manufacturing; instead they are charged just before printing. Trillium incorporates both a transfer and fuse process – unlike the transfuse step of other technologies. This allows for a modular-machine approach and speed increases.
Trillium, as implemented by Xeikon, is perfectly compatible with existing deinking and recycling installations and has already been tested. It also uses the same type of polyester resin system as used in Xeikon’s dry toners incorporating an environmental friendly catalyst which includes no organic tin compounds. The carrier liquid is also recycled in the printing process without evaporation, so the toner is 100% VOC free.
Furthermore, since the current toner is in an oil colloidal suspension (or sol), it can be replaced by bio resins and vegetable oil and as such has the potential to become fully sustainable.
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