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Subject: Permanence of Indigo digital prints

Permanence of Indigo digital prints

From: Martin Juergens <mcj1933>
Date: Tuesday, August 1, 2000
Richard Minsky <minsky [at] minsky__com> writes

>I have been asked to participate in a fine art publishing project
>that will be printed on an Indigo digital printing press, and have
>been unable to find any data on permanence.

I found some information on the Indigo E-Print electrophotographic
press in the highly recommendable book by Frank Cost: Pocket Guide
to Digital Printing, Delmar Publishers, 1997. Although not so much
concerned with permanence issues, the author is very good at
categorizing and describing digital (and analog) printing processes
in detail. According to Cost, the Indigo employs a liquid toner (of
up to six colors)that is transferred consecutively onto an offset
blanket, from which all layers are then transferred to the paper.
Being made by an electrographic process, I would imagine that the
Indigo prints have similar permanence parameters as do color laser
prints/color photocopies and other similar technologies (including
Xeikon presses).

Although I have not done experiments on these prints myself, I would
also imagine that they are sensitive to heat, and should thus not be
heat-mounted. I have heard from framers who do commercial work that
many of the prints they are asked to mount and frame will often
react in unexpected and disastrous ways if they are handled with
conventional mounting methods. Thus, the need to identify these
prints as being of a digital origin (with additional specifications
as to which of the many digital categories they belong to) would seem
relevant. Furthermore, I would think that the fused toner that is on
the surface of the substrate is sensitive to scratches and abrasion.
Finally, I would recommend using a paper that fulfills the
requirements of "permanent" paper as defined by the paper industry.

It is clear that much work is still necessary in the area of the
permanence of digital prints. For what it may be worth, have you
tried contacting the manufacturers of the Indigo press about print
permanence? I have found that this can sometimes be of value.

    **** Moderator's comments: While not on this exact topic,
    readers interested in Indigo prints will probably also be
    interested in <URL:>

Martin Juergens
Art Conservation Program
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:10
                 Distributed: Wednesday, August 2, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-14-10-001
Received on Tuesday, 1 August, 2000

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