Xeikon Trillium

In an online press update, Xeikon announced the progress they're making with their Trillium liquid toner system. Xeikon's Trillium system is based on a mineral oil-based liquid toner that gets transferred to the substrate using rolls. It very much resembles offset printing.

In its Trillium system, Xeikon uses its LED image writing technology to write the image on the page. The rolls are made in such a way that a number of them take up 50% of the oil base so that, when the image is finally transferred to the substrate, only a small percentage of oil is transferred with the particles.

The surplus oil is recycled. The toner particles used in Trillium are between two and three micro-metres in size. Xeikon Trillium isn't nano printing like Landa's nanography, which I saw it compared with. It's plain liquid toner printing, although it does have its fair share of unique characteristics (IT Strategies wrote a Market Commentary on the subject, published in April 2012).

Despite the fact that Trillium's particle size is a lot smaller than dry toner's size, it isn't nano. Landa's system is. Landa uses particles of ten nano-metres and can thus accomplish more coverage, claiming better tack and improved colour capabilities. Landa says that due to the nano size of its ink particles, some characteristics of the materials change. It is indeed true that nano materials gain characteristics that we know from the quantum world.

With respect to inks, Landa says its inks — due to their nano nature — are capable of more vibrant colours than anything else on the market. Their white paper also shows the nano ink has better coverage characteristics than traditional ink or toner. For example, the particles are so small, they adhere to individual paper fibres, allowing for more precise placement of each ink drop.

Trillium won't have these advantages, but it also won't have the disadvantage of added interference from the EU in the area of environmental Directives and Regulations. The EU so far hasn't done much in the domain of nano technology, but they do continuously monitor the evolution of nano tech. One of the tasks they have committed themselves to follow up on, is the impact of nano materials and technologies on human health and environment.

It is to be expected that consumables such as inks or toners with nano particles will be more closely monitored and more strictly regulated than traditional inks already are. In that respect, Xeikon's Trillium system can be made in tune with EU regulations like REACH and RoHS2 easier than perhaps Landa's system.