LEXMARK CELEBRATES IT'S 15th YEAR IN THE INKJET INDUSTRY
LEXMARK CELEBRATES IT'S 15th YEAR IN THE INKJET INDUSTRY
2009-08-11 at 12:45:12 pm #22525http://www.kentucky.com/964/story/890211.html
Lexmark celebrates 15 years in the inkjet industry
looks to its past, future as it marks anniversary, prepares to launch
new productPreparing for a major launch of new inkjet printers next
month, Lexington-based Lexmark International recently took a look back
before looking ahead.Later this week marks the 15th anniversary of the
company’s first Lexmark inkjet printer, the Lexmark ExecJet 4076 IIc.It
arrived in a dot-matrix and laser printer world but would herald a
rapidly evolving industry.It’s more clear to us how far we have come,”
said Paul Rooke, head of the company’s inkjet division, citing the many
functions that are now standard in Lexmark printers.
years earlier, Lexmark had been spun off from IBM. Its product base
included a line of typewriters and monochrome laser and dot-matrix
printers. (A bit of trivia: Lexmark still manufactures dot-matrix
printers since some companies continue to use multi-part forms.)”Back
at the time, the world was a lot of dot matrix: noisy and slow,” Rooke
recalled.It was mainly black and white printing, though customers could
add color ribbons “if you wanted to struggle with them,” he said.”And
then all of a sudden this thing called inkjet came to be,” he said. “We
could do color with this small, low-cost platform.”
It was the
company’s first experiment with ink, having been familiar with just
toner and ribbons.”You were dealing with a whole new set of materials,”
Rooke said. “In contrast to technologies in the day, this offered so
much promise. We invested heavily in it, and the rest is history.”One
of the people responsible for that history is Vic Hair, who was product
program manager at the time. Today, he’s Lexmark’s vice president of
research and development strategy for the inkjet division.
said there were fewer than 100 people who helped develop the Lexmark
ExecJet 4076 IIc.Lexmark had some experience in inkjet. It had released
an inkjet printer under the IBM brand the previous year, but this was
the first truly Lexmark brand.”There was a lot of debate back then on
inkjet,” Hair said. “There were a lot of doubters.”The group found its
share of problems. One day, it saw that the belt that drove the
printhead back and forth was disintegrating.The same belts were used on
the monolaser printers, so the group deduced it must be related to the
new ink.Sure enough. The ink was interacting with the rubber compound
in the belt, and the belt was rusting.”You wouldn’t think a rubber belt
would rust, but that’s one of the things you run into,” Hair said.
end result was a printer that held one color cartridge that made black
ink using the three colors inside. Users could buy a separate
black-only cartridge but would have to switch it out, said Mike Smith,
who was in technical support at the time and now is in inkjet
development.The printer had four buttons to control things like fonts
or printing landscape versus portrait, though users could lift the
panel and have access to four more functions, Smith said.And while it
might seem like a relic from the past, it’s really not. Lexmark built
nine printer models that used those ink cartridges, and it continues to
receive orders for those cartridges today, even more than a decade
since they were introduced.
And as the company looks back at its
past, it also looks forward, continuing to innovate.”Even 15 years
later now, inkjet’s not a mature technology,” Rooke said. “There’s
still a lot of advancement going on. When we look at a printer 15 years
from now, it could be a horse race even as stark. … Some of the
features you’re beginning to see emerge right now like being
Web-connected will continue to evolve.”
Printing a history: Lexmark and inkjets
October 25: Lexmark introduces an IBM ExecJet printer, the first to use its internally developed inkjet engine.
15: Lexmark unveils the ExecJet 4076 IIc, the first inkjet printer
marketed under the Lexmark brand. The printer is part of a major push
into retail markets by the company, a shift from its past strategy of
offering printers primarily through dealers, resellers and Lexmark
April 24: Lexmark announces
the Medley, its first inkjet all-in-one printer offering the capability
to print, copy, fax and scan documents.
Lexmark introduces the Lexmark 1000, its first sub-$100 inkjet printer.
6: Lexmark releases the Photo Jetprinter 5770, which allows users to
print digital photos without uploading the images to a PC.
1: Lexmark introduces the Z52 Color Jetprinter, an inkjet printer that
is the world’s first to deliver 2,400 x 1,200 dpi in both black and
color on all paper types. The printer retails for less than $200.
18: Lexmark announces five new inkjet printers, including the Z65 that
offers an industry-first resolution of 4,800 x 1,200 dpi.
29: Lexmark unveils an updated line of inkjet and all-in-one printers
that includes the PrinTrio X1150, the company’s first all-in-one priced
below $100, and the P700, the first sub-$100 photo printer with camera
The company introduced the Lexmark P450
4×6-inch inkjet photo printer, featuring the industry’s first-ever
built-in CD photo burner.
April 17: Lexmark
announces that eight of 12 new inkjet printers introduced in the year
will offer wireless capability, part of a strategy by the company to
become a leader in wireless printing.
Jan. 7: Lexmark introduces its Professional Series of inkjet all-in-one printers aimed at small office and home office users.
28: Lexmark changes the name of its inkjet division from Consumer
Products to Imaging Solutions to reflect a change in its strategy and
product offerings to aim more at small and medium businesses.
ExecJet 4076 llc released 1994Platinum to be released September 2009
Print quality600 x 300 dpiPrint quality4800 x 1200 dpi
Speed3 BW pages per minute, 2 colorSpeed33 BW pages per minute, 30 colorTheGhostPony wrote on 08/10/2009
Printer performance: then and now
are some rather notable events missing from ye olde timeline above,
such as the year Lexmark starting sending our printer assembly jobs
overseas. Or when they began tearing down those old manufacturing
facilities (out of sight, out of mind they say) or when they finally
pulled out all the stops and began shipping software development jobs
to India and Cebu. I know some folks who recent received their layoff
notices and before they’d gone, saw their positions listed as open,
overseas in Asia of course.