Illusions of drupa 2012
But wait a nano…
The smallest measurable moment of time is a nanosecond, roughly the moment between when the traffic light turns green and the jerk behind you blows his horn. I’m not a scientist, but I know that a nanometer is one billionth of a meter, making it 1,000 times smaller than a micron, which is one millionth of a meter. So while I think the technology all makes sense and the print samples are commendable for a product still in the development phase, I question the use of the term “nano” to describe what’s going on under the skins of the big machines.
How big is a micron? Well, the dry toner that makes up the images on most electrophotographic printers is between 5 and 8 microns, and the particles in HP Indigo’s ElectroInk (liquid toner) are 1 to 2 microns, which is why it’s in liquid form. Although Landa claims his particles are “tens of nanometers” in size, I really don’t think the particles used in “Nanography” are approaching 1,000 times smaller.
In my opinion, the claims of nanometer-size particles are mostly marketing hype—not that there’s anything wrong with that! Size usually matters, and I can see the positive benefits of teensy-weensy particles, I just question whether they can truly be measured on the nanometer scale.
After all, a nanometer-sized particle is invisible to the naked eye. A DNA molecule for instance, is 2 to 12 nanometers across, a human hair is about 50,000 to 100,000 nanometers in diameter. Then again, if it works, why should the actual size matter? Technology that enables you to read this article relies on the actions of particles so small they are barely there at all. So why not in printing?
But that’s all just background noise. Come Ipex 2014 when these devices roll out for real in London (31 years after Landa brought us the first Indigo), it will be fascinating to see how the technology is received. By then, there will have been a few beta sites and the hype will make the show Benny put on at drupa look like a kid’s lemonade stand. I can’t wait!