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The Future on Display

(September 2006) posted on Wed Sep 20, 2006

Exploring a New Generation of Signage and Graphics Materials


By Ben P. Rosenfield

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"The static display ranges from about 12-18 layers, depending on the artwork that is printed on top of the lamp," Feldman explains. "The foundation layers are a series of compounds and inks where we lay out a circuit that patterns the areas for illumination, and we can put an emitting ink on top of the lamp itself to create a wide gamut of color. In the instance of a dynamic display, we create a very fine printed matrix of addressable pixels. We essentially pixelate a piece of paper."

The technology is scalable, from shelf displays to billboards. According to Feldman, large displays are easier to make than small ones. "We can get very good resolution on a billboard with a much lower pixel density than what would be required for a cell phone," he says. "The density is a function of the application. We can achieve resolution comparable to high-definition TV on a piece of paper. That would require a gravure press to achieve the resolution, but that resolution isn't a requirement in many applications."

Quantum Paper's technology can be applied to a variety of substrates—cardboard, static cling, plastic, cloth, glass, and more. But Feldman says the company's present focus is on developing paper-based substrates. "Paper offers the most advantages and the most upside right now, so that's our priority. On a practical level, there is a minimum thickness, but we're using 100-lb cover stock," he says.

Quantum Paper's products are printed primarily by rotary screen and flexo. In fact, Quantum licenses its technology to printers, typically in the litho industry, whose annual revenues range from $20-300 million. Those who license the technology commit to put in place either an automated rotary screen line that Quantum has manufactured to its specs or a flexo system.

"We want to be confident that the printers have the resources and capabilities to make a commitment. We want a material commitment from them that they're going to make this a significant portion of their business," Feldman says. "It's our premise that if Quantum Paper products can, in a couple of years, be 20% of their gross revenue, then the profitability of Quantum Paper will far exceed the profitability of the rest of the business."

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