Emerging Printing Technologies — Business Lines Are Forming
The research firm contends that the high profile currently enjoyed by ink-jet printing is at least partly due to the promotion efforts of equipment vendors. It believes “flexo will certainly have a leg up on the other processes,” particularly in RFID/label printing.
Security printing is an expanding class of technology, especially on the digital side, that may offer printers a way to differentiate their capabilities. New developments are making it more affordable to add security features primarily designed to prevent counterfeiting, but also tampering.
Kodak Traceless led off the new spate of introductions. It uses special marker materials that are invisible to the eye, but can be detected by special handheld readers. The technology works with conventional and digital printing methods.
Create Complex Designs
Also suited to both processes, Agfa Graphics’ Secuseal is a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator that enables users to create complex designs and backgrounds in printed pieces that are difficult to reproduce.
For a basic level of protection, using microtext (as small as 1 pt.) and white or gloss printing—in combination with variable data—are techniques that have become commonplace in the digital arena. Some vendors are going beyond that level of protection.
Invisible ink and alphanumeric coding technology were introduced on certain HP Indigo press models. The former is an ink that fluoresces under UV light and the latter generates graphic representations of digits or numbers that can be placed as a visual element on a page.
Xerox Corp.’s InfraredMark Specialty Imaging Font technology produces text that becomes readible when exposed to infrared light. It uses two matched sets of CMYK toners that have very different infrared light absorption properties. One is used to print a color background and the other to print text within it.
The concept of lenticular printing, likewise, isn’t new, but it is enjoying a bit of a rebirth thanks largely to HumanEyes Technologies. The company has introduced new software tools that make it easier and less costly to create the artwork needed for lenticular printing. It has also been signing up a growing list of vendor partners to help drive the market, including the likes of Eastman Kodak, HP, KBA North America, Fujifilm Graphic Systems and Inca Digital.