ANAHEIM, Calif.-Oct. 28, 2002-- Printed bar codes are useful for controlling how documents are mailed - but they aren't pretty. So Xerox Corporation has come up with a new way to hide them, using an invisible ink marking solution that gets rid of the eyesore of bar codes without sacrificing the automated controls they provide.
The solution is the only one available today that can print codes directly over text on any standard cut-sheet paper size.
Xerox is launching an Invisible Control Marks solution today at Xplor International, a leading electronic document systems conference and exhibit at the Anaheim Convention Center. Also at the conference Xerox is demonstrating the full power of its high-end printing and digital publishing line, including new enhancements to its DocuTech and DocuPrint families and related software for color and black-and-white printing.
The ICM solution comprises an inkjet-printing unit, which runs concurrently with Xerox DocuPrint production printers to apply the invisible bar code, a camera for validating bar code quality, and an illuminator that makes the ink fluoresce for reading by the camera. Unlike their visible counterparts, the new invisible bar codes can be placed almost anywhere on a page, even over text.
"Invisible control marks improve aesthetics and eliminate the need to redesign electronic forms every time the addition or change in text or graphics encroaches upon the white space required for the code," said Mark Waxenberg, vice president and general manager, Xerox Monochrome Business Unit. "They build upon a longtime Xerox heritage of providing effective ways to add electronic intelligence into paper and provide seamless ways to move between the paper and electronic worlds."
Xerox's ICM solution helps print shops and in-house production centers quickly and cleanly design or modify templates for transactional and personalized documents -- such as insurance policies or financial statements -- and optimize speed while reducing errors in finished output. ICM is the industry's most flexible invisible bar code solution and can print in varying size and placement without disrupting the entire layout of the page. The solution employs special UV/IR (ultraviolet/infrared) ink to create the invisible codes.
The Role of Bar Codes
Data centers have long used traditional bar codes to automatically communicate instructions to high-speed printers, such as the Xerox DocuPrint line. For example, the codes can automatically enable the machine to insert the correct documents into a corresponding envelope. This enables each mail piece to vary in length and content. However, visible bar codes must be positioned in a blank area on a page. If printed over text, or even too close to text, the bar code may become unreadable and the job must be purged and reprocessed. When forms are modified, this potential problem is exacerbated.
ICM generates bar codes similar to how visible bar codes are created; however, the ICM uses a separate inkjet-printing device that sits inside a DocuPrint system and has a large reservoir of invisible ink designed to run for at least eight hours. Once printed, the camera verifies the bar code. This step helps ensure the code is within specification and will be readable when the printed document is run through an intelligent inserter.
Pricing and Availability
The Invisible Control Marks solution will be available in December in North America through the Xerox direct sales force and agents. Starting list price is $50,000, in addition to the DocuPrint 180 or 155 EPS System. Availability in Europe is expected in the first half of 2003.
For more information about Xerox production and graphic arts systems and services, visit www.xerox.com or call 800-ASK-XEROX.
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