Microscopic nozzles – half the width of a human hair – are key enablers of a new product available from Bytes Document Solutions, authorised Xerox distributor to 27 sub-Saharan countries, that is changing the face of office colour printing.
The new print head technology and cartridge-free ink deliver colour prints for up to 90% less supplies waste in the world’s first A3 high-speed solid-ink office multifunction printer. “The new Xerox ColorQube 9200 Series multifunction printer brings Xerox’s proven solid ink technology to the heart of the highly competitive office market,” says Erica Marks, product manager of the office systems group at Bytes Document Solutions.
Central to ColorQube is a print head that increases ink flow 400% by packing in 880 nozzles – at twice the number per linear inch compared to prior print heads. “Development of the minuscule nozzles — each only 37,5 microns wide — is considered a major achievement because they deliver higher flow rates despite their reduced size,” says Steve Korol, a Xerox researcher who worked with his research and development team to engineer the print head.
Each print head is about the size of a deck of cards and funnels molten solid ink through a complex network of channels to the nozzles, enabling colour printing up to 85 pages per minute. The ColorQube design features four print heads per printer, totalling more than 3 500 ink nozzles.
“This device opens up a huge market for Xerox,” says Don Titterington, VP of print head and ink research and development at Xerox Corporation. “At 150 million drops per second, this is a breakthrough in how fast we can put ink on the page. That’s as many ink drops in a minute as there are people on the planet.”
The ink, solid at room temperature in the form of an ink stick, is melted inside the printer and loaded into the print head in liquid form. This simple, highly reliable process does not use cartridges to hold the ink, reduces supplies waste by 90% compared to competitive office laser-based products, and delivers environmental benefits that many companies seek.
In addition, scientists developed numerous material and chemical innovations to the print head design, resulting in a stainless steel industrial-strength print head that can last the life of the machine. All told, the new ColorQube series is supported by 361 patents.
The ColorQube also features:
* Sophisticated sensors and image processing algorithms to calibrate the image before it is printed;
* A product lifecycle that requires 9% less energy and produces 10% fewer greenhouse gases than comparable laser equipment;
* A patented vacuum system, only 17 thousandths of an inch wide, that removes tiny paper dust particles from the printing zone, extending the print head‘s life; and
* The Intelligent Ready system, which uses a patented learning technology to activate a power-saving mode based on users’ schedules. For example, after monitoring work patterns for a few weeks, the device will detect if use is reduced during lunch hour and will automatically enter power-saving mode, resuming full-power operation as employees restart work activity.