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Xerox addresses waste issue with colour printing

The vendor says its ColorQube 9200 Series printers make colour printing more affordable and sustainable

If you ask any printer manufacturer what the biggest barrier to the general worldwide adoption of colour in the workplace is, the answer would be cost.

Currently, 80 per cent of office documents are printed in black-and-white and 90 per cent of documents created on a computer are in colour, and Xerox Canada believes users are downgrading by eliminating colour.

“This is something we want to change,” said David Bates, vice-president of product marketing, Xerox Office Group.

Xerox with the release of its ColorQube 9200 Series of solid ink printers is trying to address this issue by lowering the cost per page to generate colour prints, while offering an environmental sustainability plan as well.

By using solid ink instead of toner, users can top up print cartridges as needed instead of waiting until they’re empty. This reduces the IT department’s interaction with the printer or service calls from channel partners. Also, the solid ink cartridge isn’t a plastic cartridge so it doesn’t need to be recycled.

“People tend to be afraid of these types of products and we’re trying to change that with this box,” said Bates.

Bates said the solid ink is in the shape of a print cartridge, but it will not smear in your hands.

The ColorQube uses far fewer moving parts because of the solid ink technology.Xerox wants to position the ColorQube as the main printer in the workplace and not as a special or secondary printer.

Xerox’s environmental sustainability message centres on the fact that solid ink requires less energy to melt leading to improved power consumption. Also, Xerox has manufactured the ColorQube to be totally recyclable. And each stick of solid ink, which is primarily made up from soy, can produce 10,000 prints.

The ColorQube’s print head is for the life of the printer, and doesn’t need to be replaced each year. “Throw-away heads are expensive. The long term economics of this printer makes it less expensive,” Bates said.

Intelligent ready printing technology, built into the machine, switches off the printer after work hours and can get the printer ready for what Bates’ calls “first day printing”.As for the cost per page model of the ColorQube, the machine features three meters that calculate mono usage, everyday colour usage and expressive colour usage for charts, flyers and presentations.

“Customers don’t like paying 10 cents for the first meter, which is on letterhead or for an email with a blue URL on it. About 75 per cent of the colour savings fall in meter one and two. Every print is different so there is no standard set of pixels,” Bates said.He added that there is no situation with the ColorQube where it doesn’t save users a lot of money.

Alan Varney, vice president of marketing and strategy for Xerox Canada, said there will be no downside as it relates to cost for the ColorQube.

“In these tough economic times, companies are telling employees not to print in colour anymore. But our research shows that when you get down to one or two times the price of (black and white) then they do want to print in colour. They can see the value in that,” Varney said.

The ColorQube will be available through IT resellers who can source the product via Xerox authorized agents. Varney said that Xerox Canada has spent considerable amount of time educating its channel on selling solid ink and pushing them to learn the new value proposition of this technology.

According to Xerox Canada, it has sold approximately 13,000 solid ink units in the last three years. Margins for solid ink supplies are on par with laser so resellers have an opportunity to make good margins no matter what Xerox products they sell, Varney added

“Xerox wants to change the rules and the perception in the market place, Bates said.