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Commentary & Analysis

Ink Ado: Frank Visits with Benny Landa

Benny Landa drives fast. I think he is in a hurry to reach the future. We had been on a whirlwind visit to the several Landa facilities in Tel Aviv, Israel and we were heading to a secret lab buried in the bowels of a non-descript industrial building.

By Frank Romano
Published: May 6, 2016

Benny Landa drives fast. I think he is in a hurry to reach the future. We had been on a whirlwind visit to the several Landa facilities in Tel Aviv, Israel and we were heading to a secret lab buried in the bowels of a non-descript industrial building.

Arrayed on a long workbench were about 20 print samples. They ranged from tissue paper to board to canvas to every substrate you could imagine. None were treated in any manner. There were two of each. One set printed with aqueous inkjet and the other with Landa Nanographic Printing. The Landa samples almost popped off the sheet. The inkjet samples were dull and the ink had permeated the sheets. The test was to show that Landa can print on almost anything it touches, with superb quality.

In fact, at other facilities I visited with him there were samples of foil and metallic printing and unbelievable colors for automobiles and colorants for hair (yes, hair).

Through it all, he kept calling his invention ink and I kept saying liquid toner. He delivers his ink with inkjet heads but it is not inkjet ink. In fact, it is much more than liquid toner. Just calling it ink may be an injustice.

What is ink? It is a substance that allows us to reproduce an image on a substrate. We evolved from letterpress ink to lithographic ink, to offset lithographic ink, and even Collotype ink. In 1916, an ink company in Philadelphia finally found the right mixture for CMYK inks and process color became a reality. Then there was gravure ink (liquid enough to fill those tiny cells) and flexographic ink that worked with anilox rollers and early rubber plates to print on cellophane. There is screen printing ink as well. Along came toner, powder or liquid, mechanical or chemical. Then inkjet with aqueous, solvent, eco-solvent, UV, and phase change inks.

The word ink also has legal ramifications. In 2005, I testified before five judges on the National Labor Relations Board. A printer in Wisconsin had a contract with the union covering lithographic and offset printing. The printer acquired a Kodak NexPress and put it a non-union facility. The union read the brochure. It said the device used “ink.” Not Dry Ink like Xerox, or ElectroInk like HP Indigo. So I volunteered my time to explain to the judges the differences between electrophotography and offset lithography. Toner, I said, was not ink in the offset litho sense. They unanimously agreed with me. The device in question used toner, not ink. The union revised their contracts. I believe in negotiation, not misinterpretation. (On a side note, the union lawyer said that I was anti-union. I noted that the year before I defied the president of my university and gave the commencement talk at the Milwaukee union school.)

So, when we say “ink” we should define what we mean. Ink is now a very broad category indeed.

Even calling it Nanographic Ink may not define it sufficiently. Other manufacturers make ink with nano particles, but Landa has something entirely unique. It is Landa Ink using nanographic particles that have characteristics and applications far beyond print, including drug delivery and energy harvesting.

At Drupa, visitors will be able to take away actual samples. The technology is now ready for prime time. This was not the case at Drupa 2012. There will also be several displays showing unique applications. Take the time to look at them. The Landa stand is so big you may need to leave crumbs to find your way out.

Benny Landa drives fast. The future, you see, is over the horizon, and he intends to get there first.

Frank Romano has spent over 50 years in the printing and publishing industries. Many know him best as the editor of the International Paper Pocket Pal or from the hundreds of articles he has written for publications from North America and Europe to the Middle East to Asia and Australia. Romano lectures extensively, having addressed virtually every club, association, group, and professional organization at one time or another. He is one of the industry's foremost keynote speakers. He continues to teach courses at RIT and other universities and works with students on unique research projects.



By Jim Hamilton on May 06, 2016

Indigo is liquid toner but the new Landa machines certainly use ink. So do a lot of other inkjet devices. The nature of that ink is what is becoming so important today. Landa makes the point about using nano particles. Kodak is making similar statements in regard to how fine their pigment particles are for their Prosper inkjet systems. Other inkjet vendors are also improving their heads, inkjet ink formulations, and priming methods. Looking forward to seeing you at drupa and getting the chance to look at all of the print samples up close!


By Andrew Tribute on May 06, 2016

I agree with Jim. Toner is either a dry or liquid form of transferable colorants that makes use of electrical charges to handles the transfer from the imaging engine to the substrate. Landa Nanoink is a special form of inkjet ink that differs from other inkjet inks. This is not just because of the pigment particle size but because it appears to contain a substance that when the ink is transferred from the inkjet heads to a heated blanket like surface is dries into a filmlike substance that can then be transferred to the substrate its dried form. While all the fuss has been made about nano sized pigment particles this is far less important than the method of transfer and drying of the ink to the substrate that makes the Landa process unique.


By Jim Hamilton on May 06, 2016

Andy, will we be seeing you at drupa?


By Andrew Tribute on May 06, 2016

Hi Jim

I will not be there and will miss my first drupa since about 1978. It would be nice to see old friends but I am not writing these days so I would be somewhat of a waste of space. Also I am now a poor pensioner spending all my money on golf, travelling, sailing, etc.

Have a great time.


By David Straub on May 06, 2016

Kind of wondering about the vehicle, varnish system in this invention ink.

Where I hail from the vehicle is the key major component in ANY ink. Oh well, maybe just a bunch of hot air.


By Rossitza Sardjeva on May 07, 2016

Liquid toner and InkJet ink are completely different. Liquid toner is usually dispersed in kind of mineral oil, while InkJet Inks especially in Nanographic are water based, pigments with size between 50-70 nm proper for DoD Piezo Inkjet printing.....


By Stan Najmr on May 09, 2016

I will make a second attempt since David Zwang in his coverage of Landa Ink missed the opportunity to answer it.

The thickness of the ink layer is half a micron. Is this an improvement from the 650nm,the thinnest layer as it was recorded in Landa patent from 2013?

"Nano" definition is lately used for particles that are less than 100nm in size. In other words; Is Landa Ink called "nano" just because it contains some small particles, or, as Frank is suggesting in his article above, it has truly unique properties associated with nanotechnology?


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