Print Hi-Tech: May & June
Printing, digital, and marketing convergence
Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.
Today: beautiful imperfection of old books; conductive silver inks for industrial inkjet printing of electronic; inkjet making inroads into additive manufacturing; Publishers’ Forum in Ukrainian Lviv.
Books and Permanence: The Expired Series
The Japanese term wabi-sabi represents Japanese aesthetics centred on of transience and imperfection. It is the sense of undeclared beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete waiting patiently to be discovered.
In 2013, Kerry Mansfield, an American photographer, created a series of photos, dedicated to a strange beauty of expired library books. She shows us their damages that make each book unique discovering its history. Mansfield says she felt nostalgia for the library experience. As a result, she spent more than two years collecting former library books.
“Once they are too abused or out of date they’re written off as ‘withdrawn’, ‘removed’, ‘expired’, and taken out of circulation…. The unlucky ones get recycled back into pulp… Now they have a new life, as portraits of the unique shared experience found only in a library book,” she explains. Mansfield’s goal was to bring these damaged books back to life through photography, treating each as if it were a relic.
Electronic ink: A way to wearable electronic?
DuPont Advanced Materials launched a new PE410 electronic ink for inkjet Konica Minolta print heads. Possible applications cover a wide range of “lab to fab” processes: from rapid digital design to prototyping to full-scale manufacturing.
The manufacturer underlines that the new ink will enable digital printing for electronic components and circuits with extremely fine lines, including OLED panels, solar cells, antennae and touch panels. Other possible niches are smart packaging applications and even smart clothing.
According to the research company IDTechEx, the market for conductive inks and pastes will reach 3 billion $US in 2025. Therefore, is one of the most dynamic segments within the printed electronics industry. Integrated into plastic featuring, electronic inks could probably eliminate the need for bulkier and heavier conventional switches and wires saving space and weight.
AM + Inkjet = quick and efficient process?
After making inroads into industrial printing, inkjet may finally enter the additive manufacturing market. Israel’s Xjet introduced the ‘Nano Particle Jetting” technology that builds solid metal parts without any laser beam like in selective laser sintering (SLS) or electron beam.
The system applies metal in liquid form from standard inkjet nozzles. According to the innovators, the process is both quick and precise. The liquid metal 3D printer uses a cartridge with metal dust that loads into the machine much like with a document printer. Later the printed objects go into a conventional sintering oven to produce the final part.
Avi Cohen, markets development manager for XJet, says that the final metal parts are fully dense and have no thermal distortions or residual stress associated with powder bed metal printing processes. The building process is up to five times quicker that of laser-based additive manufacturing systems with a layer thickness of under 2 microns. At RAPID 2016 in May, the massive machine was finally introduced to public.
Bonus: Made In Ukraine
Founded in 1994, Publishers’ Forum in Ukrainian Lviv (Ukrainian: Forum vydavtsiv u Lvovi) is an international book fair and the largest book-related event in Ukraine reaching its 23d edition. In 2016, the Publishers’ Forum and the 11th International Literary Festival, one of major European literary festivals, will take place on September 12–18.
Publishers, translators, entrepreneurs, journalists, printers and readers will come to Lviv, a major cultural centre for centuries. The aim is to promote reading as a means of contributing to the growth of cultural, intellectual and professional potential of the community, to meet with local and foreign authors and discuss their projects and plans.