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Is Waterless the Future of Printing (by Inkjet)?

Andy examines waterless inkjet printing by visiting the first US installation of the Xerox CiPress 500 at dmh Marketing Partners in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.


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About Andrew Tribute


By Pat Berger on Sep 19, 2011

What about paper recyleability. Are products printed with this inkjet destined for egg cartons and chipboard when recycled according to http://www.ingede.de/ingindxe/press/pr1001-ipex.pdf probably not but time will tell in real production deinking production. As of yet all waterbased direct to paper ink jetted papers are doomed to down cycling, landfill or construction paper.


By Andrew Tribute on Sep 19, 2011

The Xerox CiPress 500 brochure states, "Our output is INGEDE (International Association of Deinking Industry) Certified "Good De-Inkable." This is the highest possible rating based upon ERPC (European Recovered Paper Council) Deinkability Scores.

Xerox state that their system is the only high-speed inkjet device in the market that has received this certification and that it means that output from the Cipress can be recycled from white paper back into white office paper.


By Anonymous Coward on Sep 19, 2011

Interesting branding on Xerox's part with the term "Waterless". It somehow fails to describe the petroleum/wax nature of the ink. Once upon a time in the not so distant past the term "Phase Change" inks was used.

I suppose other inkjet manufacturers should respond by calling their devices "Oilless Inkjet".

In terms of image quality, the output I've seen so far suffers from the same problems as "Phase Change", pardon, "Waterless" inkjet has always suffered from: incomplete blending of colors, grainy appearance, excessive shine, varying finished drop sizes, and on and on. Not to mention tackiness ( high coefficient of friction), succeptability to heat/pressure and friction, cracking, psoriasis ( ok, that one is not true). Oh yeah, and the samples at graph rubbed off on other samples I carried in my hand, so it does make nice crayons.

It's ok though Andy, sometimes it takes awhile for the recently converted to understand the flaws of their new prophet.


By Pat Berger on Sep 19, 2011

Holden the samples I picked up at Graph Expo did the same thing.
I had good samples and some from the waste container and they both did exhibit the same properties you described.


By Andrew Tribute on Sep 19, 2011

In response to Anonymous Coward, my comments are as follows:

First of all I think to use the term waterless is excellent marketing by Xerox as they are pushing the benefits of their approach against the established aqueous solutions of other vendors where removing water in the drying process is the major problem for these devices.

I think you are misunderstanding what you are seeing and are confusing the new CiPress with Xerox's solid ink Phaser and ColorCube products. These products do as you say suffer from the problems you describe as they put too much ink onto the substrate because the way the ink is transferred is totally different using an intermediary step of transferring all the colors to a transfer medium that then transfers all the ink in one pass to the substrate. With the CiPress there is a much lower level of ink coverage as the ink is jetted one color at a time directly to the substrate and it is only 'fused' after all colors are printed onto the substrate.

As far as the other comments you make I prefer to listen to Randy Seberg of dmh. In putting the press into production he did not tell his customers that he was using a different technology instead of offset printing. The only comments he received were to ask why the images were now of higher quality. Also as far as tackiness, high coefficient of friction, succeptability to heat/pressure etc, dmh has tested all of these points and has not found any problems. In fact the technology is better than dry toner xerography in this area as toner cracking can occur and where heat and pressure will cause pages to stick together. If you don't believe that ask all the German car manufacturers why they will only accept offset or HP Indigo printing and not accept dry toner xerography for the production of automobile manuals. This is because the pages will stick together if a manual is left in a hot glove box.

I am not the only analyst who has this high opinion of the CiPress, and in fact many analysts were attempting to rub off the image from the printed sheets at dmh without success.

I also find your final comment insulting. I have tracked and worked with every form of digital printing including high-speed inkjet technology of all forms for a very long time. You will find I am highly critical of many things I see. Might I instead suggest it would be better for cynics like you, who may well be linked with other vendors, to open your eyes and speak to people like Randy Seberg who know what they are talking. Before I write articles like this one I speak with users to really find out what is happening.


By Anonymous Coward on Sep 19, 2011

Andy, I appologize if I came across as insulting.  My poor attempt at humor
clearly missed the mark.  

My goal was simply to offer some insight into issues with phase change inks
that have been consistent for the history of the technology.  Having had
considerable experience with this technology over the course of my career I
thought I might offer an alternative view.  

As I review the Xerox patent application regarding these inks (see link
below), it seems apparent that this particular ink is an evolutionary step
for phase change.  Primary changes appear to be increased hardness when
cured and reduced melting point (which enables better preservation of
colorants).  The fundamental chemistry and general composition do not seem
markedly different than other approaches.

In terms of the method of applying the ink to the media, I can't comment on
whether one approach is better than another.

Ultimately, the needs of customers will dictate which technology is
appropriate for them.  

At the very least it has me waxing nostalgic for a time when I was playing
with crayons and much less cynical.



By Andrew Tribute on Sep 19, 2011

I too must apologise for the tone of my reply. I assumed that you were from a competing vendor. Often comments to articles I write come from the competition hiding behind anonymous names and email addresses.

The patent document makes interesting reading, that was until my brain hurt with the detail. This shows I think that Xerox is constantly developing the technology to adapt it to various markets and that this new printer is very much one of the key printer technologies for Xerox's future.


By Gerard Rich on Sep 26, 2011

Waterless is a well established high quality offset printing method.
What is described here is solvent based ink jet.
The term is certainly and intentionally misleading.
Again and again, digital press manufacturers are positioning themselves against so called traditional printing instead of going their own way. A classical strategic mistake.
Gérard Rich



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