Benny Landa’s Secret Ink

Jim Hamilton
Jan 23, 2012

Over the past few months rumors have been swirling around in regard to Benny Landa’s plans for drupa. Most of it has been talk, but more details are now coming to light. The Landa Labs web site, which has been on line for quite some time, added a note recently that Landa Digital Printing, developer of next-generation digital printing technology targeted at commercial, packaging, and publishing markets, would show a lineup of ‘digital nanographic printing presses’ at drupa 2012. The drupa 2012 web site shows a sizeable booth in Hall 9 for Landa Digital Nanographic Printing.

Next came an article called “The Secret Ink of Benny Landa” that appeared last week in the Hebrew-language magazine Calcalist (which translates to “Economist”). The article is in Hebrew, but a Google translation and help from InfoTrends’ Tel Aviv office unveils a few more details about some of the ‘Big Things from Small Particles’ that Landa has in mind. The technology to be shown at drupa is facilitated by an ink with very small pigment particles that Landa believes to be more durable and economical than any type of ink and that can adhere to any substrate. Few specifics are mentioned about what the products will look like, but it does appear that the inks will be applied by inkjet heads.

Landa has been working on this project for nine years and has amassed a group of 150 engineers and researchers to create what he believes will be a high-definition revolution in the printing industry comparable to what high-definition has done for television. According to the article the project has been funded entirely by Landa at a rate of about $40 million per year. Landa worked in great secrecy until recently, not even applying for patents. As drupa approached he applied for fifty patents to provide protection once his devices are shown publicly. Applications of the technology include everything from billboards to packaging. Landa is quoted as expecting levels of mainstream printing success that have not yet been achieved by Indigo (as successful as it has been). At drupa Landa is planning to have a 200-seat amphitheater with presentations offered five times a day. (Sound familiar?)

Landa’s printing technology, ambitious though it may seem, is modest in comparison to his dream of making a breakthrough in solar energy. Landa wants to create a technology that converts heat in the air into electricity. In all of his ventures his hope is to create more jobs in Israel. It is no wonder he is so revered there. His reputation in the graphic arts is also stellar, built upon a vision of how charged liquid inks applied to a blanket and transferred to paper could produce output quality to rival (or exceed) offset printing. One can only wonder what he has up his sleeves next.

Tantalizing as the concept of digital nanographic printing is, there’s not much to hold onto yet. It does, however, add another reason for a May trip to Dűsseldorf, and if what Landa says is right, his invention may be the one thing that you’ll remember when you look back on drupa 2012 many years from now.

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