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Zink's logo. Click here to visit the Zink website! Zink announces "inkless" printing
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(Wednesday, February 7, 2007 - 20:25 EST)

Waltham, MA-based Zink Imaging LLC has announced the development of a new printing system that removes the need for a separate ink / toner cartridge or ribbon of any kind.

Zink has arisen from the purchase of Polaroid technologies and assets (and the hiring of quite a few Polaroid employees), and the company's new technology revolves around a specially designed print medium. Each sheet of Zink "paper" has dye crystals embedded inside, and a protective polymer overcoat tops it off. The dye crystals are initially colorless, but the application of heat with a special Zink printer activates and colorizes the crystals.

Zink states that its patented media can be made on various base materials including paper and plastic. The company claims that the resulting prints are resistant to damage from water, light, heat and humidity, and says that the media will be both affordable and able to be produced at any size in either roll or sheet form. Zink prints are also said to be non-toxic and recycleable, and to offer "millions of colors at very high resolution".

No products based on Zink technology have been announced yet, but the company is apparently already partnered with several (as yet unnamed) companies, and is actively seeking further partners. The first Zink printing products are expected to ship late this year, and will initially emphasise compactness and portability (said to be key benefits of the system). Intriguingly, Zink notes that the printers can be made small enough to be placed "anywhere, even inside of a digital camera."

Obviously, Zink still has a long way to go yet. There are still a lot of unknowns, and whether Zink turns out to be a viable substitute for existing technologies won't be known until partners are revealed, pricing announced, products shipped, and third parties have the chance to test print quality and longevity. On paper (or perhaps, on Zink?) though, this sounds like a promising technology whose progress we'll be watching with interest.

Zink's website shows the following image of a Zink printer, presumably a concept product:

Original Source Press Release:

ZINK Imaging Unveils a Revolutionary "Zero Ink" Printing Technology At DEMO 07

Enabling Printing Where It Has Never Before Been Possible

Palm Desert, Calif., January 30, 2007 - ZINK Imaging has unveiled a new way for consumers to print and experience full color digital images without the need for ink cartridges or ribbons. ZINK Imaging's patented technology, being shown for the first time at the DEMO 07 conference, shifts the printing paradigm from an ink cartridge or ink ribbon, to a totally inkless system. Images magically appear on the ZINK paper without a drop of ink.

The key to the ZINK process is the ZINK paper, which is protected by more than 100 patents and patents pending. Dye crystals are embedded in the ZINK paper and are activated by heat from a ZINK printer. The crystals then colorize, producing high quality, long-lasting, durable, and affordable images.

"At ZINK Imaging, we are insisting on the impossible to deliver a revolutionary digital printing experience to the world. ZINK technology does not require ink to print, provides a magical user experience, can transform any device into a printer, is good to the environment and most importantly, makes people smile," said Wendy Caswell, president and CEO, ZINK Imaging. "Our unveiling at DEMO marks the completion of a long and intense road of research and development that has resulted in a patented, innovative printing technology that we are quite proud to deliver this year."

ZINK Enables a New Mobile Printing Market
The ZINK printing technology will enable a new mobile printing market. Later this year, ZINK Imaging's partners will launch the first products using ZINK technology. These products are designed to take printing where it has never before been possible - into the pocket of every camera phone and digital camera user. With ZINK, printing in the moment becomes possible.

"Each year, millions of pictures are taken by camera phones and other devices but are never printed because consumers just don't know how or the process is too difficult. ZINK Imaging has invented a whole new way of printing digital images through the simple process of just adding paper. With this new inkless technology, consumers can print anywhere they take a picture," said Chris Shipley, executive producer, DEMO. "DEMO has made its reputation by introducing disruptive technology to the marketplace and ZINK is definitely one of the most exciting new technologies we have ever had at DEMO."

ZINK Imaging is the technology inventor and the manufacturer of the ZINK paper. It is creating the future of digital printing with a network of the world's most innovative companies and global brands to commercialize ZINK enabled products. ZINK Imaging will be announcing several partnerships in the coming months.

To learn more about ZINK Imaging, please visit www.ZINK.com. Or visit them at the DEMO Pavilion, #61.

About ZINK Imaging
ZINK Imaging, a privately held company, was founded to enable millions of customers to enjoy the magic of ZINK “Zero INK” products through the relentless pursuit of inventions and partnerships. A new and simpler approach to printing, ZINK shifts the printing paradigm from an ink cartridge or ink ribbon to a totally ink-less system. ZINK Imaging is headquartered in Massachusetts.

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