Indigo Founder Benny Landa is Reed Technology Medalist
Friday, October 17, 2003
Pittsburgh, Pa., October 15, 2003 — Benny Landa, founder of Indigo and now strategic advisor to HP Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina, has been named the recipient of the 2003 Robert F. Reed Technology Medal. Established in 1974 by the Society of Fellows (SOF) of the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) to commemorate the “Dean of Lithography,” the Reed Technology Medal is presented to an individual who has made a major contribution to technical and scientific development within the graphic arts industry. Landa is being honored for his many scientific and technological inventions, which have advanced the development of color digital printing. Of the experiences that foreshadowed Landa’s eventual development of a digital color printing press, the first occurred when he was a youth in his father’s tobacco shop in Edmonton, Alberta. There he helped his father build a wooden photo machine and processing lab for the family’s growing passport photo business. Unlike the conventional photo studios, the “direct-positive” photo machine they built avoided the need for film— printing images directly on paper years before photo booths became commonplace. In 1970, while living in England, Landa became a founding director of Imtec, a micrographics research and development company. Imtec later became the largest European vendor of micrographics equipment (microfilm readers and reader/printers). Landa led Imtec’s R&D activities and invented the company’s core imaging technology. While researching liquid toners at Imtec, he worked on a method of high-speed image development that would later lead to his invention of ElectroInk, Indigo’s proprietary liquid electrostatic printing medium. When Landa founded Indigo in 1977, its original mission was to develop an improved photocopying process using an imaging medium based on the qualities of liquid printing ink, rather than powder toners. When ElectroInk became a reality in 1983, Landa pursued the idea of using it to replace the ink in offset printing, and thus make offset printing digital. A decade later Indigo launched the E-Print 1000, a plateless digital press combining Digital Offset Color printing technology and ElectroInk. Commenting on Landa’s naming as the recipient of the Reed Medal, Dr. John Meyer, director, hardcopy technologies lab, HP Labs, said, “Throughout the years of Indigo’s history, Benny Landa was not simply the company’s founder and CEO. He has been Indigo’s visionary, its inspiration, its leader.” He is also Indigo’s most prolific inventor, with more than 140 U.S. patents—and a hundred more worldwide. Landa’s nominators also focused on his pioneering technical and scientific contributions to digital printing, noting his extensive research on the chemistry and physics of using liquid toner electrophotography. Besides contributing to an improved understanding of the process, Landa is credited with improvements such as tentacular toner, which produces an image layer with higher cohesion and greater resistance to distortion through the interlocking of adjacent toner particles. Landa’s study of the materials that contact the toner layers during image formation resulted in the optimization of such properties as surface energy and compliance. His pioneering work also led to developments such as a binary ink system separating the two steps of electrophoretic motion of the toner to achieve high speed and a high-viscosity image and a heated intermediate transfer offset blanket. Landa is also credited with spearheading numerous mechanical inventions, ranging from systems for controlling and distributing the liquid toner to those for paper handling and cleaning the photoconductor. Landa received the Gold Medal of the Institute of Printing and Graphic Communication in 2000, and in 2002 he received the Edwin H. Land Medal, which was jointly awarded by the Optical Society of America and the Society for Imaging Science and Technology. Landa will accept the Reed Technology Medal at GATF’s Society of Fellows Award Luncheon, Saturday, November 15, 2003, at the La Mansion Del Rio in San Antonio, Texas. Robert F. Reed Technology Medal Background The Robert F. Reed Technology Medal was established in 1974 by the GATF Society of Fellows (SOF) and first presented during the 50th anniversary celebration of GATF and its predecessor, the Lithographic Technical Foundation (LTF). The award perpetuates the memory of Robert F. Reed (1905–1973), the “Dean of Lithography,” and his contributions to the understanding of lithographic processes and materials. Reed graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1914 and worked as a research chemist with Ault and Wiberg Company and E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company. He joined LTF in 1924 as its first research director. He stepped down from the directorship in 1945 but continued to serve the Foundation as senior research consultant. He also continued his work in graphic arts research and as an author of printing textbooks until his retirement in 1970. Nominees for the Reed Medal must be technically or scientifically oriented individuals who have worked as engineers or scientists in graphic communications and printing for ten or more years with a measurable or documented record of accomplishments. It is preferred that a nominee’s accomplishments have occurred over a period of time rather than be confined to one project or development. Nominees need not be members of GATF/PIA or SOF. For more information on how to submit a nomination for the Robert F. Reed Technology Medal contact the GATF marketing department at 800-910-4283.