Solid ink was first introduced in 1991 and is similar to a crayon or wax. Solid ink technology utilizes solid ink sticks instead of ink and toner cartridges usually used in printers. Solid ink is non-toxic so the sticks are safe to handle and there is no mess or risk of spillage.
Solid Ink technology was developed by Xerox so it’s only available for Xerox printers. Solid ink is cost-effective, produces incredible print quality, easy to use and it’s good for the environment.
How does Solid Ink Printer work?
Preparing to Print
As the printing process begins, the maintenance roller quickly applies a microscopic layer of oil to the heated drum unit. This is to make the ink release more reliable.
This is a simple, reliable printing mechanism which can last up to 30,000 prints. As the mechanism is so simple there is no need to use any other consumables such as drums or transfer belts that would normally be needed for a Laser Printer.
Single Pass Imaging
All solid ink printers come with a full-width print head that applies all the colours to the rotating drum at the same time. Utilising a full-width print head gives the printer a high speed image transfer.
A sheet of paper is then rapidly fed between the drum and a roller, transferring the ink to the paper. This is less complicated than a laser printer which makes your printing process quicker and more reliable. Unlike laser printers there is no Fuser Unit which can use a lot of energy to heat up.
As the ink on the drum transfers to the paper, it penetrates the paper’s fibres; it does this without the spreading of liquid ink-jets or the scattering of toner. The ink cools and solidifies immediately, forming a strong, permanent bond to the paper. The total time for the print process can be as little as 5 seconds.
Solid ink doesn’t smear and gives a more consistent colour quality on a wider range of media (paper) than liquid ink-jet or toner.
Reloading the Solid Ink
With Solid Ink you can reload or remove the ink sticks with out taking the printer offline. A benefit in using Ink Sticks is less waste packaging and less waste ink by-products. As the ink sticks are small and compact, they do not come in big packaging nor have plastic containers.
So now you know what a Solid Ink is and how a solid ink printer works.