Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

Inkless by Tocano Report Summary

Project ID: 782875

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Inkless by Tocano (Inkless by Tocano – Printing without consumables)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2018-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Introduction
The main objective of this innovation project is to provide a solution for Inkless printing. Tocano has developed know-how and expertise to apply laser technology for printing high quality text and images, in black on paper, without the need of any consumables (ink, toners, pigments). This Inkless technology works on all paper-based substrates, such as standard paper, coated paper and paper-board. In principle any material that contains cellulose fibres may qualify for Inkless printing. Inkless printing, i.e. printing without ink, would improve the economics of printing (by reducing operational cost and downtime), eliminate the environmental effects of having to produce, replace or refill and dispose harmful products (such as ink, toner, cartridges, ribbons) and also reduce some of the health risks associated with conventional printing.

Study Objectives
Prior to this study, Inkless printing had been proven, in laboratory, to produce excellent quality black prints on standard paper, but at low speeds. These results were achieved with a high-speed laser technology set-up. From there, research could extend in many directions (e.g. speed, quality, materials, technology, cost) in support of productisation for multiple markets (such as production print, office print, coding & marking, and label print). This study is aimed at strategic decision making and planning for launching a first product to market, by:
1. Examining applications, business opportunity and first productisation options for Inkless printing.
2. Assessing high level requirements and technical feasibility for such Inkless products.
3. Exploring receptivity and support in market to deploy Inkless technology, including identification of partnering options for Go To Market (GTM).
4. Defining next steps and planning how to take Inkless products to market.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Study Approach
The following actions have been performed within scope of this project:
- Market assessment through desktop research and consultation of market players;
- SWOT analysis on applicable printing segments and possible application fields;
- Specification of high level application test requirements;
- Feasibility assessment per defined application test requirements;
- Exploration of legal aspects and applicable standards and regulations for Inkless products;
- Execution of AMES tests on Inkless print samples (outsourced);
- Concept planning for further technology proving.

Study Outcome
The study has led to the following:
1. Coding & Marking would be the first most logical segment for a first own Inkless product.
2. Feasibility assessment of three possible application fields within Coding & Marking, 1. Primary (Product) Coding, 2. Secondary (Case) Coding, and 3. High Quality Barcode Label printing, has led to conclude that:
- Primary Coding & Secondary Coding applications look technically feasible with current high-speed laser technology - both could be served by one product design - but the current solution requires further optimization and proving for application - with demonstration capability.
- Barcode label print requires a separate solution approach (both technically and economically) and will be deferred for now.
3. AMES tests concluded that showed Inkless prints are not carcinogenic.
4. A first Inkless coder product may hit the market by 4Q2019 / 1Q2020 (or sooner if feasible).

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Next steps
Before commencing into a product development stage, more time will be taken to:
1. Mature the Inkless printing solution into a state where technical readiness and commercial viability for application can be demonstrated (i.e. improve cost points, demonstration in relevant operational environment).
2. Define the product concept, business opportunity and GTM strategy.
3. Explore strategic partnering opportunities for product development and GTM.

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