Xerox Scientists Discuss Groundbreaking Technologies to Make Great Color Prints
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
SALT LAKE CITY--Nov. 1, 2004-- Producing great color prints is all about ultra fine precision, and Xerox Corporation scientists are applying their expertise in precision imaging across a range of products, according to presentations being made at NIP20: The International Conference on Digital Printing Technologies, taking place here Oct. 31 to Nov. 5. In separate presentations, Rick Lux and Huoy-Jen Yuh from Xerox's Webster, N.Y., research and development complex, and James D. Padgett and Rodney Hill from Xerox's office products research and manufacturing facility in Wilsonville, Ore., are discussing engineering aimed at even higher image quality in the company's color digital presses and printers. Their papers are two of the 15 technical papers Xerox is presenting at the conference. In addition, its researchers are sharing their knowledge in six tutorials, and the company is a corporate sponsor of the event. The annual NIP meeting, jointly sponsored by the Society for Imaging Science and Technology and the Imaging Society of Japan, is the preeminent forum for discussions of advances and directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. This is its 20th year. Lux leads Xerox's Production Xerographic Competency Center, of which Yuh is a member. Their paper reveals how the company overcame key technical challenges in the development of Xerox's patented Image-on-Image marking technology. The company's first product employing IOI technology, the 100-page-per-minute Xerox iGen3 Digital Production Press, was so innovative that Xerox has received or applied for more than 425 patents associated with unique areas of the machine. In their presentation, Lux and Yuh provide a behind-the-scenes look at Xerox's new high-speed marking technology, which was developed to deliver exceptional color images and high-precision registration at reduced costs and on a wide range of media. The centerpiece of this third-generation digital color printing system is the Recharge, Expose, and Develop (REaD) IOI process, the first that can build a four-color image on the photoreceptor in a single pass, then transfer the image to paper in a single step. Single-step transfer eliminates opportunities for mis-registration, according to Lux and Yuh, and it results in image registration accuracy better than 40 microns, producing print quality close to - and in some cases better than - offset. (There are 25,400 microns in an inch, and the period at the end of this sentence is about 600 microns wide.) Single-step transfer also ensures consistent image quality job to job and machine to machine. In Wilsonville, Xerox scientists are working to increase performance of office products by developing inkjet printheads with higher jetting frequencies, configurations to pack more jets into a given space, and ways to decrease drop mass. One challenge: all colors are built up from just four colors of ink - yellow, cyan, magenta and black. To get green in a printed image, for example, a cyan drop must be deposited on top of a yellow drop. But as ink drops get smaller, they solidify faster, and the second drop tends to slide off to one side, increasing color-to-color dot position error. It's a problem called "dot position amplification." Padgett and Hill have found that while it seems counterintuitive, intentionally mis-registering the colors could solve the problem, according to a paper on the technique prepared for the NIP conference. Their technique has been used on the Phaser 8400 Color Printer, a 24-ppm solid ink printer that's priced at less than $1,000. Introduced in early 2004, the printer has received accolades for its outstanding print quality. Other Xerox papers at the conference cover topics ranging from GlossMark(TM) images, a technique for authenticating documents, to use of modern control theory to automate document production processes. Also included is research on characterization of surface properties of xerographic developers done in collaboration with the University of Montreal and research on half toning done with Purdue University.