Xerox Redesigns Products For Lower Energy Use, Meeting Tough New Epa Energy Star Criteria
Press release from the issuing company
ROCHESTER, N.Y., April 12, 2007 – Over the past two years, Xerox Corporation scientists and engineers have trained their sights on developing products that use significantly less energy. The payoff: More than half of the company’s office and production product offerings meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rigorous new ENERGY STAR requirements that went into effect on April 1.
Previously the ENERGY STAR criteria for office copiers, printers and multifunction systems measured power consumed in standby and low-power modes. The new standard asks a different question: How much energy would the device use during a typical week? It measures the energy consumed if the system mimics the tempo of a normal office, running a sample job mix with downtime for lunch, overnight and on weekends. The result is a Typical Electricity Consumption (TEC) figure that must meet the EPA’s tough new requirements in order for a product to achieve ENERGY STAR status.
Patricia Calkins, Xerox vice president, Environment, Health and Safety, said, “The EPA’s new ENERGY STAR requirements raise the bar so significantly that only 25 percent of products in the marketplace were expected to meet the new criteria. At Xerox, we knew we could do better than the industry average, and we did with more than 50 percent of our current product line passing this tough test. Over time, the standards will get even tougher. We’ll remain focused on improving our entire product line to meet these evolving requirements. And, we expect to qualify more products over time.”
A commitment to the environment and energy conservation
As an ENERGY STAR Charter Partner since the early 1990s, Xerox has long applied its technical expertise to building energy savings into its products. About two years ago, it took a fresh look at all the subsystems in its laser-printing based products, hoping to bring the power usage down even further. As a result, engineers identified four opportunities to cut power consumption: the fuser, the toner, the electronic controls and the xerographic system.
In the xerographic process, a copy or print is made by digitally capturing the image to be printed; exposing the image on a photoreceptor; developing the image with pigmented powder, which is called toner; and then transferring the image created by the toner onto paper and heating it to fuse the image and make a print.
Kenneth J. Buck, a senior systems engineer who worked on the project, said, “One example of the company’s success is the WorkCentre 4150, which prints at 45 pages per minute. It’s a black-and-white, desktop multifunction system for small and medium-sized businesses, and it uses 11.9 kilowatt-hours per week of electricity. That’s roughly half the energy consumption of a comparable 45 ppm multifunction system of three years ago.”
Office products like printers, copiers, and multifunction systems are active about 10 percent of the time. The rest of the time, they are in a standby or “sleep” mode, where the fuser roll cools and uses less power. The dilemma: The “deeper” the sleep, the less power they use, but the longer it takes before they are ready to print again. Xerox developed fuser rolls with thinner walls that would heat up faster for some products; for others, it changed from a roller to a thin metal belt with a heater.
As a result of the technical changes to the product line, one new black-and-white product will use 75 percent less energy to emerge from the deep sleep than it did previously. Warm-up times for Xerox’s color laser printers have also been significantly reduced.
Improved toner and controls
Xerox is using toner made by its patented emulsion aggregation process in more products to reduce energy consumption. Not only does the EA manufacturing process require less energy, but the toner consumes less energy when used to make a print. That’s because its rich colors and regular particle size mean devices need less EA Toner than conventional toner to create an image, so there’s less thermal mass to heat.
Xerox scientists have also worked to develop toners with lower melting points, which consume less energy in the fuser. These have enabled Xerox to reduce fusing temperatures by about 10 percent in some products. In the xerographic system engineers have developed ways to charge and erase the photoreceptor more efficiently using less energy.
Other innovations include redesign of the control electronics in the devices to take advantage of next-generation processors and save energy.
Energy efficiency developments are part of Xerox's ongoing investments in sustainable innovation -- or "green products" -- that deliver measurable benefits to the environment and help Xerox customers work in more environmentally friendly offices. These include solid ink printing technology, which generates 90 percent less waste than comparable laser printers, document-management services and software that improve workers’ productivity while reducing dependency on paper, and other paper-saving innovations.
In addition, Xerox is contributing $1 million to The Nature Conservancy to develop science-based tools and systems that will help the paper industry better manage ecologically important forest land. The funding focuses on the Canadian Boreal Forest as well as the forests of the southern United States, Indonesia and Brazil's Atlantic Forest.
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