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    « The Power of Blogs: $4 Billion Lost in Six Minutes | Main | Repro 2.0 »

    May 23, 2007

    Beginning of the End for Xerographic Technology

    About a year ago my curiosity was sparked about the possibility of inkjet technology making xerographic technology obsolete.  Many in the industry could name several reasons why inkjet technology can not match xerographic technology.  These reasons all made sense but didn't set well with me.  Inkjet technology had already decimated the low end xerographic devices.  There are more inkjet projects hitting the market than xerographic devices.  Inkjet research and development is being applied to more than just conventional printing.  It is being used for 3D printing and even health care.  It is used in genetic research and it is being considered for printing organs.  With all the research and development going into this technology wouldn't you think they would be able to eventually overcome the issues that make xerographic technology better?

    I had a conversation at a dinner party over the weekend with a research and development employee of a global printer manufacturer.  I asked him questions about inkjet versus xerographic technology.  He told me that there is virtually no research and development going into xerographic equipment.  It is all going into inkjet.  I asked him about the Memjet technology.  He was skeptical of it because memjet is a R&D company versus a manufacturing company.  His claimed they had one good technology, but there were many other components required to make a complete solution.  He thought that HP's Edgeline technology was a more compelling technology primarily because he was more confident in HP's ability to execute and bring a complete product to market.

    There is a lot of excitement about the KIP Color 80, and I believe this product has a place in the market.  Primarily because the wide format market certainly moves at a slower speed than the small format market.  It may take longer to implement the inkjet innovations in wide format devices.  It is clear to me that in the long term inkjet will be the technology that makes xerographic technology obsolete.  The $1M question: When?  Who knows, but based on the rate of change seen in the market I believe it will be sooner than later.


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    Pro's for inkjet:
    - cheap
    - widely available
    - low machine price

    Con's for inkjet:
    - lightfastness when using dye-based
    - water resistance when using dye-based
    - environment and health considerations when using solvent
    - special media required
    - physical speed limit when using thermo-electric (workaround: larger and more complex printheads)
    - physical stress when using thermo-electric
    - printhead is a consumable when using thermo-electric (price, waste)
    - high price per copy
    - low printing speed (quality mode)

    Pro's for laser/LED:
    - high printing speed (across all qualities)
    - lightfastness equal/better than pigmented inks
    - water resistance
    - cheap (LED)
    - high quality (laser)
    - wide available (small format color, wide format mono)
    - no special media required
    - low price per copy

    Con's for laser/LED:
    - limited range of media
    - health considerations with toner
    - high machine price

    Greg Walters

    Interesting...almost a year later...

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