Settling in here in Dusseldorf for drupa 2012.  Show opens tomorrow, and it is interesting walking through all of the setup today.

WhatTheyThink received some information about the Xeikon liquid toner technology that we wanted to pass along to our readers. If more detail is forthcoming at their upcoming press conference, we will pass that along as well. In earlier reports, we referenced the name of this technology as Quantum, but now we learn that Xeikon will be using the name Trillium.

Xeikon reveals more details on its new Trillium printing technology:

  • Trillium incorporated 20 years of Xeikon EP system knowledge with a new liquid image development system based on High Viscosity Toner (HVT): This is an emulsion of toner and carrier-liquid (Pharmaceutical grade white oil) to allow the toner particles to be up to 4 times smaller compared to its dry form.
  • Xeikon owns an important amount of patents (both for toner and technology) to secure its implementation of HVT technology in a printing station and the production of the necessary consumables. With respect to the IP, Xeikon plans to conduct a full review of the recent announcements from other manufactures who are implementing HVT, to ensure there are no patent violations.
  • However these recent announcements (e.g. Miyakoshi/Ryobi), according to Xeikon, clearly define the viability of HVT as an alternative to dry toner in the R&D efforts to extend the overall EP process in light of the recent migration to Ink Jet. The name “Quantum” was an internal name used to describe the liquid development step in the EP process it had acquired a couple of years ago. It is more commonly described in today’s market as HVT and is a key part of Trillium.

Xeikon’s Trillium printing process consists out of 6 steps:

  1. Charging
  2. Expose & erase
  3. Develop & clean
  4. Intermediate transfer
  5. Substrate transfer
  6. Fixation

This is a unique implementation of HVT: the use of HVT allows the use of the smallest gaps in the transfer zones resulting in high image quality and high speed.

Trillium is focused first on the document and commercial printing markets.

As a result of its liquid HVT technology, it is particularly strong for printing mid to high image coverage at high image quality. This capability is still a big challenge to inkjet.

At its core, Trillium provides a lot of room for both speed and width improvements.

The anticipated investment level of a Trillium based press will be between 2 and 3 Mio € depending on Trillium’s final specifications. The model running at Drupa is a single print station running at a speed of 60 m/min.

Xeikon HVT is different from HP Electroink

  • Operation: the carrier liquid is recycled in the printing process without evaporation, so no VOC’s involved
  • Process : the toner particles are not charged during manufacturing, but just before printing
  • Productivity: Trillium will incorporate both a transfer and fuse process unlike the transfuse step of others, this allows for a modular machine approach and speed increase.
  • Sustainability 1: Trillium’s HVT as implemented by Xeikon is perfectly de-inkable (already tested). It uses the same resin types as Xeikon’s dry toners.
  • Sustainability 2: Trillium’s HVT has the potential to become fully sustainable: The current toner-oil emulsion can be replaced by bioresins and vegetable oil.