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Xerox Launches New Matte Dry Ink for iGen4 EXP

Last week,

By Cary Sherburne
Published: April 11, 2011

Last week, Xerox announced a new matte dry ink for its latest generation of iGen color digital production presses, the iGen4 EXP. The new dry ink is immediately available for new installs of iGen4 EXP presses and will be available to current iGen4 customers in Q3 2011.

I was able to see some sample output using the new matte dry ink, targeted specifically at the burgeoning photo market, and it is very impressive. It truly does have an offset look-and-feel with a lot less gloss than normal toner. I had a friend of mine (an artist, but not a printing professional) look at this output side by side with that of a competing vendor, asking her which she preferred and why.  Without hesitation, she chose the Xerox samples, saying they looked more photo realistic and much more like offset printing. I had to agree.

While the new matte ink is targeted at photo-rich applications such as books, greeting cards and calendars, a growing opportunity that research firm InfoTrends projects will be a $2.2 billion market by 2014, it will also be attractive for other types of applications as well.  We are still looking into other details, such as pricing differential from normal toner, ability to switch from one toner type to the other, etc., and will bring those to you as we get them.

Cary Sherburne is a well-known author, journalist and marketing consultant whose practice is focused on marketing communications strategies for the printing and publishing industries.

Cary Sherburne is available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. To get more information contact us.

Please offer your feedback to Cary. She can be reached at cary@whattheythink.com.

 

Discussion

By Cary Sherburne on Apr 12, 2011

Clarification from Xerox relative to matte dry ink: There is no difference in price or yield between matte ink and regular dry ink. However, the operator cannot switch between ink types; it requires a 4-5 hour process by customer service engineers to make the switch, according to Xerox.

 

By Joe S on Apr 12, 2011

I wonder if this is similar to the toner on the 7002/8002. Since the market has dramatically shifted away from an imaging process requiring fuser oil, it seems like this is a play to minimize those objections on Xerox products that still utilize this imaging process.

I think many of the other OEMs, and the market itself, has forced Xerox's hand in this. The HPs, Canons, KMs, and Ricohs (starting to), have all been able to achieve 'more offset like' prints with an ability to better match the reflectance of the imaged area with the reflectance of the substrate (gloss, matte, etc).

Saying that, I still remember talking to printers who preferred the 'high gloss' look of products produced utilizing a process with fuser oil, simply because their clients thought it was visually more impactful.

 

By Dana M. Cowe on Apr 12, 2011

If the images are as nice as the comments indicate, this is a great breakthrough with dry ink technology for Xerox. It will be a winner, at the same price & yield.
I recall early efforts with matte black dry ink, went poorly due to uneven densities and sheen on the heavy toner areas...likely caused by the heat & pressure-based fusing systems of the time. If Xerox has succeeded with matte dry ink on the iGen4 EXP...FANTASTIC!!
I'd love to see some samples.

 

By Joel Rowland on Apr 14, 2011

In a nutshell, an IGEN4 user must choose to go one way or the other? Since there is no difference in pricing and yield with the output so close to offset look, why use the original ink? IGEN 4 users should all switch to the new ink unless I am missing a point.

 

By Mike Domash on Apr 17, 2011

The one thing that no one has mentioned, including Xerox, is that it is going to cost the users of the regular toner about $20,000 to make the switch. This is according to a Xerox person. As usual with Xerox, existing users are the last to know.

 

By Cary Sherburne on Apr 20, 2011

This is likely correct. Xerox says 4-5 hours of downtime with a technician on site (let's call that a full day, since things always come up during these types of installations) I am sure there are parts required. Plus you have the cost of the downtime when you can't produce. It is not a trivial change. But if a printer wanted to go after the photo market, it could be a good investment. I agree, though, that Xerox should be more forthcoming about the cost and downtime as they discuss this new option, both publicly and with customers who may wish to make the change.

 

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