A NEW UNIT OF BRITAIN'S General Electric Co. PLC is developing an ink concentrate that delivers sharper images at a lower price per page. MICAP Technology Corp. in Niles, Ill., a year-old spin-off of GEC's A.B. Dick Co., uses fine grains of pigment less than 10% the diameter of standard particles. Then it coats the pigment grains with a polymer. The substance, the composition of which MICAP won't reveal while patent applications are pending, bonds to the chemically active sites on the particles so they don't cling to one another, a common problem in inks that results in uneven coverage.
MICAP Ink Capsules cost more per pound than standard pigment. But because they spread more evenly, less ink is needed to coat a page, lowering the net cost, says Robert A. Lustenader, MICAP's director of operations. Another advantage: The ink is less polluting because no solvents are required to mix the capsules into the ink's varnish. And because the ink layers are thinner, they dry better. MICAP is prepared for volume production of the first formulation, which is for single-sheet presses, and Lustenader says the company is testing formulations for web-fed presses, including those at newspapers.