Xerox announced a new "cured gel" ink technology that will enable digital printers to print on plastic and foil and achieve the quality of traditional presses.Steve Hoover, vice president and center manager of the Xerox Research Center Canada, outlined the problem current inket printing has with achieving bright colors: "These two requirements -- ink thin enough to jet thru a nozzle but thick enough to not soak thru the paper -- cannot both be met by current inkjet technologies." Furthermore, current inkjets are limited in the media they can print on.
The new ink is thicker and so sits up on the paper or other media, more like toner or traditional press ink. "The gel ink has the consistency of peanut butter after it is jetted through the print heads and turns rock hard when exposed to a pulse of ultraviolet light," said Xerox's announcement. "The result is a crisp, vivid, and long-lasting image. Unlike current water or solvent-based inkjet systems, the gel ink won?t bleed through or require dryers and vapor recovery systems, thereby increase print speeds and making the system more environmentally friendly."
At first, the gel ink will be restricted to commercial printing applications but may eventually reach the small business and consumer market.ZDNet