The Inkless venture first came to light in 2016. It was a spin-off from a graduation project carried out by Venkatesh Chandrasekar at the Delft University of Technology, where he met up with fellow student and Inkless co-founder Arnaud van der Veen.
The image was created using the “controlled burning” of paper using lasers, which was described as “carbonisation without combustion”.
Two years ago it raised €1m (£870,000 at the time) from a group of angel investors.
The know-how and patents have now been acquired by Spanish coding and marking manufacturer Macsa ID, and the Inkless venture will be wound down.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Inkless printing can make printing more sustainable and reduce the printing costs, while also the hassle that comes with changing consumables can be taken away. We believe that Macsa ID is the right party to bring the technology to the next step”, said Arnaud van der Veen, co-founder and CEO of Inkless.
He told Printweek: “The activities within Inkless will stop. The people of Inkless will discuss together with Macsa ID about the future developments of this technology and their potential involvements within Macsa to develop this further.”
Inkless had hoped to pilot the technology during 2018 and bring actual products to market last year, but this never came to fruition.
“Unfortunately we were not able to continue the technological progress at the same speed as we progressed in 2015, 2016 and 2017. For that reason, we were not able to meet the projected goals. The decline in speed of the product development is also the main reason why we decided to transfer the technology to an established party like Macsa,” Van der Veen explained.
“We believe that with the experience of Macsa in Laser technology R&D combined with their established network of clients, it will become easier to make the step towards a final product to be introduced to the market.”
Macsa makes coding and marking systems for a wide range of applications. It already offers a range of laser coding systems, and the firm has said that it sees a growing opportunity for direct laser marking in areas such as the fresh produce industry, where coding directly onto a product’s skin can potentially replace the need for labels.
The firm acquired Bedfordshire-based Halo Lasers in 2018.