Saying it has perfected technology that allows it to print without using any ink, Zink’s next move will be to use $25 million recently raised from Petters Group Worldwide to manufacture its initial inventory.
The Boston-area company revealed its product, a printer-and-paper combination, at last January’s DEMO conference. The core of the technology is the paper, which is layered with crystals that, when melted at specific temperatures, become colored.
The resulting glossy printed paper is photographic-quality, and often compared to the look and feel of Polaroid pictures — fitting, as Zink was originally spun out from Polaroid in 2005.
Zink recently purchased a Konica Minolta manufacturing facility in North Carolina. The company will use the funding round to stock up its initial inventory of paper. A single sheet of Zink paper will cost about 20 cents.
It does not plan on making its own printers. Instead, partner companies will produce the printers; the first two products on the market will both be for mobile printing of glossy 2″ X 3″ photographs — the size of a business card — with an adhesive backing.
The chief advantages of using Zink’s paper will be the small size of the printing devices and their inherent simplicity, requiring only a heating element to produce images on the paper.
Zink’s funding from Petters Group will be the first that the company has taken since separating from Polaroid. Negotiations with Polaris Venture Partners for $70 million fell through last year.