Can waxy frozen ink outgrow the laser-jet and ink-jet business printing?
It is a long way to go.
Consumer habits and consumer preferences are hard to change.
A nice try, folks.
Toner industry overview
Direct Electrostatic Printing
Photocopying, laser printing and industrial digital printing all have their roots in electrophotographic technology invented 30 years ago. Since that time, companies such as AGFA-Gevaert, Xerox, Lexmark, Sharp, Hewlett Packard, and others have incorporated various forms of electrophotographic technology into their printers.
Direct electrostatic printing is based on a principle that is deceptively simple. A toner source delivers charged toner particles through a print head structure (consisting of a polymeric substrate with apertures and at least one set of control electrodes) to the image receiver (a sheet of paper, for example) in front of a back electrode. The propulsion field present between the toner source and the back electrode, means that negatively charged toner particles are attracted to the receiver on the back electrode, thus creating an image on the paper.
Toner Manufacturing Process
The traditional “pulverization technique” of toner particle production involves the blending of resin, charge agent control, wax, carbon black, and iron oxide. This is then heated and melted under high pressure, extruded through a dye and granulated.
The resulting flakes are ground by air jet milling. Air jet mills can produce micron-sized particles without generating heat, which would otherwise denature the toner product. Spinning classifier wheels at the top prevent particles leaving the mill before they have been ground to a size below the classifier cut size. Unground particles are returned to the bed via an internal mill recycle. The cut size is controlled by varying the speed of the classifier (the faster the spin, the lower the cut size). Superfines (whose presence often represents wastage in the milling process) are removed and additives may be blended with the toner before final bagging.
Toner particle size can be controlled to within ±0.3 – 0.5 µm, whereas the average particle size is 8 µm. Particle size distribution can also be controlled. Depending on specific requirements, the standard deviation of particle size distribution can be around 1.0 µm.
On-line particle size measurement is now used by many toner manufacturers to continuously monitor the particle size distribution and, by using multiple analyzers at different steps of the process, measure the unit operation yield in real-time.
Why is toner particle size distribution important?
A great deal of R&D effort has gone into improving print head design and toner transfer. The goal has been to produce simpler and increasingly more accurate systems with fewer components and improved imaging, which are suitable for a wide range of consumer and industrial digital printing applications. Final image quality though can be compromised by the quality of the toner itself.
Toner companies have therefore been faced with the task of improving the toner particles. While individual manufacturers have their own formulae for toners, most comprise around 90% thermo-plastics that are colored with 10% carbon black pigment and set with infrared following transfer to paper. Traditionally, dry toner particles are made by compounding, pelletizing and granulation, followed by micronization, classification and sieving. This results in a fine powder with a tight specification for particle size distribution. However, the method has several drawbacks, notably variation in particle shape and charge-to-mass ratio as well as the creation of dust particles. These can cause problems as the particles are propelled through tiny apertures in the print head. Larger or irregularly shaped particles can cause blockage while dust particles adhere to the print head surface and are too small to have enough charge to be controllable.
The ability to control the effects of electrostatic and electrodynamic forces lies with the way in which the toner is prepared. Preparation affects particle shape, particle size, particle size distribution, charge and surface treatment. The trend is to the smaller, narrower particle size and particle size distribution requirements needed for the production of higher resolution images.
Traditionally the electrozone counter method has been the standard for particle size analysis in toner manufacture, something that is now being replaced with on-line, real-time particle sizing that allows direct and immediate control of the production process.
Why is toner particle shape so important?
Recent years have seen the development of wet chemical toner processes such as suspension polymerization and emulsion polymerization, which do not involve a milling or classification stage and which have the merit of allowing much greater control of the size distribution, shape and material properties of the toner particles produced. Compared to pulverized toner the shape is far more regular. Many companies are now producing both monochrome and color toners using a wet polymerization process. The toners produced using this process produce material with a narrower particle size and particle shape distribution; this offers improved powder flowability, improved transfer ratio from the photoconductor to the paper and improved image quality.
A number of companies have patented chemical processes for growing toner particles of well-defined shapes. With the ability to produce toners with more precise shape and size distributions comes the need to characterize such materials. Most particle size analysis instruments are not able to measure shape but one exception is the Sysmex FPIA-3000. This instrument has wide use in the toner industry and many patents have been produced based on the optimization of particle shape. Methods have been developed using circularity as the key parameter. A circularity of 0.95-0.96 is optimum, lower than this the toner particles act as an abrasive, higher than this and they act as a lubricant.
The Sysmex FPIA-3000 uses sheath flow and patented high speed image analysis for rapid particle size and shape characterization. Analysis typically takes 5 minutes compared with the 2-3 hours necessary using traditional techniques such as conventional microscopy.
Toner manufacturers invest heavily in novel production techniques in order to develop processes that will maximize the proportion of particles with high circularity.
The main problem has always been to find a simple way of monitoring this parameter. The Sysmex FPIA-3000 offers a rapid way for routine shape characterization. In addition to particle size data it displays images of the particles and also displays a circularity diagram to the analyst who then has all the necessary data for informed decision-making.
Toner Particle Size and Shape Analysis
New manufacturing techniques
Early toner manufacturing involved the pulverizing and sorting of black, charged graphite. However, toner technology has become gradually more sophisticated in order to meet the ever-increasing quality and technical demands of the industry. The mobility of the toner in the supply reservoir mechanism, the transferability performance to paper, and the property of peeling from the drum are all affected by toner particle size, shape and material properties. In addition, colorants (predominantly pigments), resins, electric charge control agents and releasing agents have been added to toners as blend components. Fluidizing agents, lubricants and electric charge control agents have also been applied to the exterior of the toner particles.
Toner production methods have also continued to develop. There are two fundamental technologies applied to toner production – the pulverization method and the polymerization method. The conventional pulverization method, where an ingot (or a film) as raw toner material is pulverized and sorted, is slowly being superceded by the polymerization method, which is capable of yielding toner particles closer to a spherical shape. The polymerization method, which is also referred to as the chemical toner method is a technique in which granulation is conducted by utilizing an aqueous medium.
Size and shape measurement
With the ability to produce toners with more precise shape and size distributions comes the need to characterize such materials. Size can be characterized using the circle equivalent diameter – which is defined as the diameter of a circle that has the same area as the projected particle image. With this diameter, various irregularly shaped particles can be evaluated on the basis of a single consistent measure. Shape is characterized using circularity – a parameter that compares the perimeter of the projected particle image with the circumference of the area-equivalent circle thus permitting a numerical representation of complex particle shapes. Figure 1 shows an example of how circularity is calculated.
Figure 1: Calculation of circularity parameter
A circularity of 0.95-0.96 is optimum. Toner particles with a lower than optimum circularity value, act as an abrasive, reducing the lifetime of printing mechanism components and producing a lower quality image. Equally toner particles with a higher than optimum circularity (i.e. perfect spheres with a circularity of 1.00) act as a lubricant and do not transfer to the print medium properly.
Optimized image quality depends to a great extent upon achieving both a narrow size distribution (centered around a mean diameter of 8um-10um) and a narrow shape distribution (centered around a mean circularity of 0.95-0.96). Figure 2 shows the effect of toner particle circularity on image quality.
The effect of toner particle circularity on image quality
Typical low quality toner – low circularity and heterogeneous
Typical high quality toner – high circularity and homogeneous
Figure 2: The effect of toner particle circularity on image quality
Xerox Launches Solid-Ink Color Printer
By William M. Bulkeley, May 6, 2009 11:00 pm
Many companies restrict the use of color printers because of high costs – up to eight cents a page, compared to a penny a page for black and white. Xerox hopes to loosen up the color pursestrings with a new $20,000 printer that is says will sharply cut those costs.
Blocks of solid ink in Xerox’s ColorQube printer
Xerox says printing color using the new machine, which uses a proprietary “solid ink” technology, will be up to 62% cheaper than the price of current laser prints. Robert Palmer, an analyst with InfoTrends, a market research firm in Weymouth, Mass., said in a research report that the new product “could have a major impact on the office imaging landscape,” due to its pricing.
The machine, called ColorQube, is expected to be unveiled Thursday. It’s a multi-function device that prints, copies, scans and faxes, and is designed to be shared over a computer network by several dozen people in an office.
ColorQube uses a new formulation of Xerox’s solid ink, a waxy crayon-like substance that is melted and sprayed onto a spinning drum that deposits the ink on a sheet of paper. Color laser printers use powdered toner.
“The goal here is to try to break the price barrier and get more customers to use color,” said Ursula Burns, Xerox’s president. “We’re trying to replace a lot of black-and-white machines.” Ms. Burns said that only 15% of the 2.25 trillion pages printed in offices world-wide last year were in color.
Angele Boyd, an analyst with market researcher IDC Corp., says that Xerox is the leader in color printing in the office with a 23% share. She said the new device will have “to displace other vendors’ color lasers” to be successful. If customers simply swap the machine for another Xerox model, Ms. Boyd said usage revenue could be lower.
Office printing is a huge market, amounting to $81 billion last year, according to IDC. However, the market is growing very slowly, and it is expected to decline this year along with the world-wide economy.
Xerox said that on the per-click pricing plans, a page with limited color, such as a small color chart, would cost two cents, and a page that was about half color would be three cents. In these pricing plans, used by both Xerox and its rivals, customers place a meter on their color printers and are charged by vendors per printed page.
Tom Codd, a marketing executive at Hewlett-Packard, said he didn’t know about Xerox’s pricing plans, but he said “making a lot of noise about a printing technology isn’t news.” He said H-P is trying to help customers cut their overall printing costs by consolidating on a few standard models and removing desktop machines. Xerox also has a big business managing print services for customers.
Xerox acquired the solid-ink technology in 2001 from Tektronix for $925 million. Since then it has used it in machines that run at up to 30 pages per minute. The ColorQube runs at up to 85 pages per minute, in the middle range of current speeds.
Xerox says solid ink provides some ecological benefits by eliminating the need for replaceable cartridges – under its system, the solid ink stick is dropped into printer reservoirs. Solid ink printers usually use more energy than lasers because of the need to melt the ink, but Xerox said it had closed that gap by reducing the melting temperature. Solid ink can also be used on recycled paper and other paper that doesn’t work well in laser printers, said Infotrend’s Mr. Palmer.
Color Solid Ink Printing
C. Wayne Jaeger, Ph.D., Xerox Corporation
How does a solid ink printer work?
Normally ink is thought of as a liquid. However, there is a printing technology that utilizes solid ink, also called phase change ink or hot melt ink. The names are often used interchangeably, but the term solid ink will be used in this description of the technology.
The concept of solid ink is that it is solid at normal ambient temperatures but in the ink-jet printing device, the ink is melted, converting it into a liquid that can be jetted much as any other liquid ink is handled in a piezoelectrically driven ink-jet printer (but not, of course, in a thermally driven bubble-jet printer). The real advantage of solid ink over aqueous ink is that the molten ink does not have to dry. Instead, it freezes (solidifies) almost instantaneously on the cool printing surface. This also means that solid ink does not dry out in the nozzles of the ink-jet, as aqueous inks are prone to do. In addition, solid ink does not wick into the paper as liquid inks do. It remains bound to the surface of the paper, resulting in more vivid colors and producing an enhanced color gamut.
After several attempts by various companies (Howtek, Exxon, Dataproducts, Hitachi, Spectra, Brother), Tektronix successfully developed and introduced a color ink jet printer in 1991 using solid inks. The first-generation solid ink printer had 16 ink-jets per color (cyan, magenta, yellow) and 48 jets for black. It printed an A-size page (8.5 x 11 inches) in just under two minutes. Since then, the technology has progressed to the point where the same size page can be printed at 24 pages per minute. The latest solid ink printer’s resolution is more than four times the resolution (sixteen times the amount of data) of the first solid ink printer. The cost of the latest printer is less than one-tenth the cost of the original printer and further improvements are expected in costs and performance.
The first generation of solid ink-jet printers worked by printing ink directly onto the paper or transparency printing media. The printhead was rapidly shuttled back and forth across the page, as the paper was incrementally advanced upwards after each printhead pass. On each pass, a stripe 16 pixels wide was printed. (A similar strategy is still employed in most desktop aqueous-ink printers.)
The disadvantages of this approach made it quite clear that if solid ink were to succeed, a completely different printer configuration had to be developed for it. The printhead with ink weighed over 1.8 kg, or almost four pounds. The printer had to be placed on a very sturdy table to prevent them both from walking across the room as the heavy printhead shuttled back and forth. Most of the time to make a print was spent in decelerating the printhead, stopping, and then accelerating in the reverse direction. The ink drop placements going in one direction would be slightly offset from those of the ink droplets going in the opposite direction. Although the drop placement error was very small, the spatial frequency of the 16-pixels pass was in the resolution range for which the human visual system is most sensitive. To print secondary colors, two primary color droplets were overlapped, but the order in which the primary colors were printed changed when the printhead was printing in the reverse direction. For instance, printing a magenta droplet over a yellow droplet created a slightly different red than printing a yellow droplet over a magenta droplet, and this caused unacceptable hue shifts.
In addition, the gap between the printhead and the substrate to be printed must be consistent to give predictable drop placement. Printing on paper of different thickness changed the printhead/paper gap enough to produce visibly different prints. The complexity of precisely controlling the motion of the printhead and paper made it clear that in order to have better reliability, increase the speed (number of prints per minute), improve the image quality, and also decrease the cost of the printer, both the paper handling and the paper path had to be greatly simplified.
The key innovation of the solid ink printers developed by Tektronix1 starting in 1995 was the development of indirect printing. The concept was to replace oscillating motion with an ink-jet printhead that would rapidly and precisely spray-paint a complete image on a spinning drum, the print head moving axially like the cutting tool on a lathe as it deposited a spiral track. After the image is applied to the drum surface, it is offset (transferred) from the drum onto paper. This approach enabled a very simple paper path to be used, with the paper going straight through the printer in what is essentially an offset printing process. While this greatly simplifies the paper path, the indirect printing process places fairly severe constraints on the ink. The ink must be tough and hard at ambient temperature. The ink must be extremely clean and have a low melt viscosity so that it can be easily jetted through the tiny apertures of the printhead. (The printhead is intended to last the lifetime of the printer.) The ink must quickly freeze on the drum surface and stay in place on a rapidly spinning drum. Finally, the ink must easily and completely transfer from the drum to paper in the offset printing step.
The heart of the printer is an anodized aluminum cylindrical drum. A multi-aperture printhead as wide as the drum is used to precisely apply the ink droplets to the drum surface. The ink droplets are generated by a piezoelectrically driven printhead made of stainless steel. The printhead is not fully populated with apertures, but contains many spaced sets of aperture columns. Each aperture column is made up of four jets: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The aperture columns are equally spaced across the width of the array. Each time the drum makes a revolution, each four-jet column prints any desired combination of cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink droplets on every pixel in the line over which the four-jet column passes. Each four-jet column prints simultaneously, printing parallel paths of ink droplets around the drum. In the next drum revolution, the printhead is incremented over so that the next set of drops is printed parallel to the first set. After each drum revolution, the printhead is moved over one step, until the entire image is painted on the drum. The total lateral movement of the printhead during the printing process is actually quite small and depends on the gap between the columns of each four-jet set of the printhead. Depending on the selected image quality, the drum makes approximately eight revolutions in the process of generating the image plus one additional revolution to offset the image to paper and simultaneously clean the drum and treat its surface for the next image. The keys to producing high image quality are the consistency of the ink jets and the interlace method for generating each set of parallel lines on the drum surface.
The process of printing an image on paper breaks down to three basic steps:
A drum maintenance unit cleans the drum surface of any residual ink from a previous print and applies an extremely thin layer of silicone release oil to the clean anodized aluminum print drum surface.
The uniformly heated (135 °C) printhead sprays microscopic drops of molten ink onto the rotating print drum very precisely. The print drum is maintained at an intermediate temperature (65 °C). The ink droplets striking the oiled print drum change almost instantly from a molten liquid to a malleable semisolid.
The paper to be printed passes through a preheater into a pressure nip formed by a pressure roller and the print drum. Under heat and pressure the image transfers from the drum onto the paper in a single pass. By the time the paper exits the printer the ink has fully set and the print is immediately ready for use.
Figure 1 solid_ink_fig1.jpg
Figure 1. Solid ink printer with offset printing. Molten color ink is sprayed onto the drum by an ink-jet printhead.
There are no solvents and hence no drying time. The prints are completely water-fast. Because the inks are not liquid when they come in contact with the paper, the ink fuses to the paper rather than soaking into it, giving vivid colors on a wide range of papers. The order in which the secondary colors are printed is always the same, which gives consistent and predictable color. The process of printing on a drum and then transferring the image means that the drum-to-printhead distance is always the same. This consistent gap makes possible accurate and predictable drop placement, thus producing enhanced image quality.
Figure 2 solid_ink_fig2.jpg
Figure 2. Solid ink printer with offset printing path. Semi-solid color ink transfers from the drum onto a heated sheet of paper. The duplex path allows two-sided printing.
Solid ink technology has proven to be a good solution for office and workgroup users. One of the disadvantages of the technology is that it requires 12 to 15 minutes to be ready to make a print from a cold start. Once the printer is turned on, it is best to leave the printer on continuously. During any extended inactivity, the printer goes into a standby mode in which the temperature of the ink reservoir is allowed to drop to just above the freezing point of the ink. The printer can then be “awakened” and ready to print in just a couple of minutes. It also does not require any purging of the ink to prepare the printhead as is required from a cold startup. An “Intelligent Ready” feature of the printer learns the normal office routine and will have the printer up to temperature and ready to print when office activity begins. The “Intelligent Ready” will learn when the weekends occur and remain in the standby mode.
Because of solid ink’s good image quality and low cost, photographers are now using it to generate proof sets for school pictures. Many schools are using the printer technology because of its ease of use in loading the ink sticks and supplies and because it can print on just about any paper. Solid ink technology is best, the more it is used. It is unaffected by humidity or temperature and is consistent week after week and month after month through many years of use.
Figure 3 solid_ink_fig3.jpg
Figure 3. Cut-away view of a solid ink printer
Front Panel Display. Intuitive front panel interface eases installation, helps with the management and troubleshooting of the printer and gives local access to advanced features
Paper Trays. It has large paper capacities with a 100-sheet multipurpose tray (Tray 1) and a 525-sheet main tray (Tray 2). Additional trays may be added. Supported media sizes range from 3.5″ x 5″ to 8.5″x14″ legal size pages.
Print Drum. Solid ink technology mimics the process of larger, commercial offset printing presses by spray painting the image onto the high precision drum before transferring the image to paper. This helps deliver fast print speeds while avoiding issues common to lasers, such as challenges with accurate registration.
Ink-Jet Printhead. A full page width ink-jet array is a permanent printer component made of stainless steel. It has 1236 ink-jets capable of producing on-demand 24,000 drops per second per jet. In other words, nearly 30 million ink droplets per second are accurately and precisely applied to the print drum from the image.
Paper Path. The simple paper path allows the use of a broad range of media weights. The built-in duplexer allows the automatic printing of both sides.
Paper Preheater. Slot through which the paper passes to raise the temperature of the paper surface to make it receptive to transfer of the print image. (For simplicity, not shown in this diagram.)
Ink Loader. Clean, environmentally friendly solid ink sticks are easily loaded into the printer through a top door. Modeled after the way staples are loaded into a stapler, the slots are keyed so that only the right color ink can be installed. Ink can be loaded into the printer mid-job, and unlike any other technology the printer can be “topped-off” prior to large print jobs – helping customers keep their printer up and running.
Ink Melter. The ink melter is at the end of the ink load chute. (For simplicity, the ink melter is not shown in diagram.) Ink is melted on-demand. The melting of the ink is controlled by the level-sense in the ink-reservoir of the printhead.
Electronic Access. Side panel access to all connections means customer does not need access to the back of the printer – allowing customers to save space.
Melted Ink Reservoirs. Four reservoirs hold the melted primary colors, yellow, cyan, magenta, and black. Melted ink flows into the ink-jet printhead where the ink is precisely sprayed onto the print drum.
Maintenance Kit. The only replaceable part is the maintenance kit, which comes in 10,000 or 30,000 page capacities and is easy and inexpensive for customers to replace.
Waste Ink Tray. Emptying the waste ink tray is the only other regular maintenance required, and is accessed through the same side door as the maintenance kit. It is an easy and clean process.
1 Xerox purchased the Color Printing and Imaging Division of Tektronix, January 1 2000.
Improve efficiency of ink use by minimizing ink waste
Ricoh has developed a technology to significantly decrease the amount of ink consumed for purposes other than printing and use ink in a cartridge.
Is ink used for other than printing?
An ink jet printer, in general, consumes ink in a cartridge for purposes other than printing. When there is an interval of use, for example, ink may dry at the head nozzles or air bubbles may be entrapped. When this happens, ink ejection may become unstable, causing printing to blur or streak. Cleaning is required to prevent this and to recover and maintain normal ink ejection.
Cleaning consumes a bit of ink, so Ricoh has continued our efforts with GELJET printers to minimize the amount of ink discharged without being used for printing. We have also developed an ink supply system to use cartridge ink.
Develop technology to eliminate excessive ink consumption
With the Aficio GX e and Aficio SG series, we have reduced running costs by reducing excessive ink consumed other than for printing. To do so, we have developed the following three technologies.
1. Minimize ink intake during cleaning to the lowest in the industry
To discharge the air entrapped in the nozzle, the air is sucked out with ink by applying a cap on the print head. It is very important to discharge air completely while reducing suction as much as possible. At this time, if ink bubbles, it causes air bubbles to remain inside the nozzle. To eliminate the bubbles, we had to intake and discharge air together with a certain amount of ink.
In the Aficio SG series, Ricoh has decreased discharge to its limits by developing an ink less likely to bubble and also to withdraw ink uniformly from all 384 nozzles arranged on the print head. The industry minimum (as of January 16, 2012) of only 0.0005ml intake per nozzle was achieved while ensuring complete air discharge.
2. Develop a new idea to reuse ink wasted by the ink supply system
An ink jet printer enables stable ink ejection by maintaining negative pressure on the print head. In the past, to maintain negative pressure, a given amount of ink had to be periodically discharged from the head ink tank through the nozzles.
Ricoh has developed a unique feed pump to allow reciprocal transport of ink to maintain negative pressure without discharging ink. This feed pump is incorporated into the Aficio GX e series and Aficio SG series. A tubing pump feeds cartridge ink to the print head for printing. By inverting the drive, negative pressure is created by taking ink in from the print head to the cartridge side (Figure 1).
A conventional ink jet printer does not have a function to make ink flow backwards from the print head. Therefore another pump is used for suction from the ejection plane at the print head. This is done to create negative pressure. When this is done, because the ink taken out must be discharged, fewer sheets can be printed per cartridge. (The effect varies with conditions, such as how often the printer is used and the number of sheets to be printed.) With the Ricoh system, however, where a tubing pump returns ink, the ink returned to the cartridge can be reused. This sharply improves ink-use efficiency, thereby increasing the number of sheets printable per cartridge.
3. Use up ink in a cartridge effectively
When the ink in a cartridge is depleted, high negative pressure accrues inside a pump. When ink cartridges are exchanged at this time, a certain amount of air will mix in the supply tube, and the cleaning action to discharge air is needed. To avoid this problem, in the past, cartridges needed to be changed while some ink remained. The remaining ink was discarded with the cartridge-so it was futile ink.
With the Aficio GX e series and Aficio SG series, as soon as the ink in a cartridge is depleted, the tubing pump is reversed to suck a minute amount of ink from the print head and relieve high negative pressure inside the pump. This makes it possible to change a depleted ink cartridge without entrapping air. In this way, introducing the tubing pump makes it possible to return ink, to relieve negative pressure in the pump, and to thoroughly reduce unnecessary ink consumption.
Environmental Technologies:Technology Development:Products
-Improvement of Ink Use Efficiency-
Reducing ink consumption of GELJET printer
JAPANJapan/Ricoh Co., Ltd.
Ricoh’s GELJET printer features high-viscosity ink, developed to enable high-speed duplex printing on plain paper with high picture quality to support work at offices. Furthermore, to achieve high-volume continuous output, the print head and ink cartridges are separate from each other. To ensure stable printing performance with this layout and using a viscous ink, a state of negative pressure1 needs to be maintained inside the print head. Previously, to create a constant negative pressure condition within the print head, the GELJET printer was designed to regularly eject ink, even when the machine was not in a printing operation, resulting in the unnecessary consumption of ink. Seeking solutions to this problem caused by the repeated ink ejection pattern, Ricoh developed a new technology to create a constant negative pressure condition within the print head. The key element is a newly developed pump that can convey ink in two directions between the head and the cartridge, as opposed to the conventional one that allows ink to flow only in one direction, from the cartridge to the head. The new dual-direction pump enables the printer to create and maintain a negative pressure status inside the print head by sucking ink from the head towards the cartridge, thus saving ink by eliminating the need for ejection while the printer is not in operation. The new method is also beneficial as it has remarkably improved ink usage efficiency, because less ink is consumed for printing the same volume. This benefit is particularly notable for low print volume users2, for whom the frequency of the motion for creating negative pressure is relatively high in proportion to print volume. After the first mounting of the innovative pump on the IPSiO GX e3300 printer, released in May 2009, it was employed on the IPSiO GX e5500 series, which was launched in February 2010. Following this recent utilization, the new technology will be mounted on newer models rolled out in the years to come.
1Refers to a condition of a given area in which gauge pressure is below zero
(i.e., negative) compared with the ambient air pressure.
2Users whose monthly print output ranges approx. from 50 to 100 pages.
ABC’s of ISO Toner and Ink Yield Standards
April 24, 2013 Dave Jollota
By Dave Jollota
Most printer companies in the world are now beginning to report the yield of their ink and toner cartridges using recently released ISO standard methods. In the past, each company used their own internal methods for testing and reporting yields and while each method on its own may have been good, there was no way to compare one printer to another because everyone’s method was different. Now, you can actually compare the claims of different printer manufacturer’s to each other!
Typically, ISO has a number for a test methodology and a different number for a test target. For example, ISO 24711 defines the method that is used for testing the yield of ink cartridges using the ISO 24712 test suite. You will see printer manufacturers report the yield of their color and black cartridges referencing this standard. However, ISO also provides the option of using other test targets for comparing different technologies or for more focused testing. So, in ISO 24711, you can also run the mono toner test target (ISO 19752) to get pure mono yield numbers (and just to keep you on your toes, ISO 19752 is also the number of the mono toner methodology!)
OK, so what ISO number should you look for?
Mono Toner (black and white laser printers) – ISO 19752 Methodology and Test Target
Color Toner (color laser printers) – ISO 19798 Methodology using ISO 24712 Test Suite, but ISO also allows the optional use of the ISO 19752 test target if someone wants to look at pure black and white printing on a color laser printer
Color Ink – ISO 24711 Methodology using the same ISO 24712 Test Suite that is used for color toner and the optional use of the ISO 19752 test target if someone wants to look at pure black and white printing. This is very cool because you can now compare the yields of laser printers versus inkjet printers using the same test targets.
What’s missing? Photo Yield. ISO is hard at work developing a methodology and test target for photo yield and expect to be done in 2009. QualityLogic has developed and published our own methodology and HP also describes their methodology well on their site (they look very similar and are patterned after ISO 24711).
So, the next time you look at a printer or cartridge and want to now what kinds of yields to expect, look to see if they are using one of these ISO standards to help you make an informed decision.
What is edible ink printing?
Edible ink printing is the process of printing with edible inks over an edible surface (rice paper used on early stages of this invention, or or frosting sheets more commonly used today) using normal home use inkjet printers with installed edible ink cartridges. The frosting sheet will dissolve and the image printed on it will be fixed at the top of the cake.
What is necessary to print and edible image?
Not any printer can be used for print edible images. The only printers that can be used are the ones that has piezoelectric injectors like the Canon Bubble Jet technology or the Epson inkjet technology. Then, is recommended to use a new printer in order to avoid the contamination of the edible ink with normal inkjet ink. The use of a compatible to the printer ink cartridge with the appropriate edible ink density is necessary, is not recommended to buy bulk edible ink to refill an empty clean cartridge because each printer has different ink injectors and the appropriate liquid density is necessary for a correct functionally.
The preferred printers for the edible printing task are the Canon Bubble Jet printers.
Why are Canon printers recommended for edible imaging?
Canon printers have a print head that can be easily serviced or replaced. Inkjet printers as a whole are susceptible to print head clogs, an issue that can be compounded by the use of edible inks. Should the print head in your Canon printer become seriously clogged or damaged, it can be easily removed and serviced or replaced.
Which Canon printers can be used to print edible images?
There are different technologies, there are the 2 ink cartridges printers, and the 4 to 6 ink cartridges printers, is not recommended to use for edible ink printing more than 4 ink cartridge printers because those printers are intended for photo printing and are more delicate and difficult to configure for edible ink printing.
Choose a 2 cartridge printer system if you will be printing on average less than four edible images a week.
Choose a 4 cartridge printer system if you will be printing on average four or more edible images a week.
2 Cartridge Systems
Printer Settings Media/Paper Type: Plain
Print Quality: High
Pixma iP1500 i470 MultiPass MP360 BJC-4000
Pixma iP2000 i470D MultiPass MP370 BJC-4100
Pixma MP130 i475D MultiPass MP390 BJC-4200 MultiPass F20
i250 S200 BJC-4300 BJC-4400
i320 S300 BJC-2000 BJC-4550
i350 S330 BJC-2010 BJC-4650
i450 S330D BJC-2100 BJC-5000
i455 BJC-2110 BJC-5100
4 Cartridge Systems
Printer Settings Media/Paper Type: Plain
Print Quality: High
Pixma iP3000 S500 S520 MultiPass MP700 BJC-3000
i550 S530D BJC-6100 i560 S600 MultiPass MP730 BJC-6000
i850 S630 MultiPass F30 BJC-6200
MultiPass F60 BJC-6000 S400 S6300 MultiPass F50 BJC-3000 S630N
MultiPass F80 BJC-6100 S450 S750 BJC-6200 S4500 BJC-6500