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Xerox Phaser Ink - The Advantages of Xerox Phaser Ink

by joe johnston

The Xerox Phaser is a color multifunction printer based on solid ink technology, which was invented in the 1980’s by Tektronix. Originally geared to the industrial graphic arts market with a baseline product costing $10,000 dollars in the early 1990’s and able to print a business size document in just below two minutes, the Phaser has since become more and more available on a household and office level. Over the years, many improvements have been made to the technology, which have in turn resulted in drastic reductions to the overall cost and printing time.
Xerox phaser ink is a solid, oil based ink which comes in the form of a stick. It has much the same consistency as a candle. Solid ink sticks in the Xerox Phaser take the place of the liquid or powder based ink used in other printer models. Xerox Phaser ink is made from processed, non-toxic vegetable oils which are of food grade. The ink is not harmful to humans if touched, inhaled or even accidentally ingested.
Although of solid consistency at room temperature, Xerox phaser ink, once melted, can be maneuvered through the ink jets just like a liquid. The ink once again freezes instantaneously upon touching the cool surface of the paper. Xerox Phaser ink will not seep into the paper as is commonplace with more traditional liquid inks, but instead stays fully visible on the surface of the paper resulting in more vibrant, lifelike printing colors.
Ink sticks for the Xerox Phaser color printer are intentionally made into different shapes, to make it easier to distinguish between colors. Due to the distinct shape of each color ink stick, it is impossible to insert a replacement color stick into the wrong supply slot, and this makes for a very user friendly design which minimizes ink replacement errors.
Although originally designed with a shuttle-head configuration, which consisted of the print-head shuttling back and forth across the surface of the paper while printing a single line at a time, this design was quickly shown to be inefficient and a new concept was invented. In 1995, a technique called indirect printing was developed, which replaced the oscillating motion of the print-head with a new drum based technology. Instead of printing directly on the paper, this approach would quickly spray paint an accurate image onto the surface of a spinning drum, and the drum would transfer the image to the paper. The surface of the drum was then cleaned and prepped, the paper moved forward slightly, and the next section of the image spray painted onto the drum. All of this could take place in a fraction of a second, eliminating the time and energy taken by the “decelerate, stop, and reverse” motion of the shuttle-head.
When the hot Xerox Phaser ink droplets hit the rotating drum they cool from a molten liquid into a semi-solid, causing them to temporarily stay in place on the drum, and yet still be easily transferred to the surface of the paper where they cool back into a completely solid state. The print is water-fast and ready for immediate use upon exiting the printer.
Although this technology comes with a few minor inconveniences such as the twelve to fifteen minute warm up time when first turned on, the amount of power consumption when in sleep mode in order to keep the ink warm, and the prints’ incompatibility with later re-use in a laser printer due to heat transfer, the advantages of Xerox Phaser ink far outweigh the disadvantages:
Once warmed up, the Xerox Phaser color printer has one of the all time fastest first page out time of any printer.
Print quality is widely recognized to be some of the best that is commercially available because of the tendency of the Xerox Phaser ink to stick to the surface of the page and add a glossy, vivid touch.
Xerox Phaser ink printers are friendlier to human health and the environment than laser printers because, unlike laser printers, they do not emit potentially harmful ozone gases.
Ink replacement is done with solid ink sticks, loaded directly into the printer. This eliminates the waste of empty toner cartridges and all the associated packaging material.

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