XEROX BET's TONER FUTURE ON IT'S NEW EA-TONER TECHNOLOGY

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XEROX BET's TONER FUTURE ON IT'S NEW EA-TONER TECHNOLOGY

 user 2009-10-20 at 10:45:39 am Views: 72
  • #22793

    http://rocnow.com/article/business/2009910130310
    XEROX BET’s IT’S TONER FUTURE ON IT’S NEW EA TONER TECHNOLOGY
    Two years after Xerox Corp. flipped the switch on the biggest investment in its Webster campus in a generation, the company’s EA toner plant is churning out product for office copiers and digital printing presses worldwide.The printing and imaging company increasingly is offering products that use the radically new line of emulsion aggregation toner.“It’s a very important product for us in the future,” said Mary Fromm, manager of worldwide toner manufacturing for Xerox. “Conventional toner, we’ve pretty much matured (the technology) to where improvements are incremental. EA, the horizons are wider.”

    Traditionally, toner has been made by mixing various ingredients into pellets that then are ground into a dust-like compound that gets melted onto sheets of paper.Emulsion aggregation, or EA, toner uses chemical processes to “grow” toner from its ingredients into tiny individual toner particles. It takes 50 of them to form a period at the end of a sentence.

    Several Xerox competitors, including Canon Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., have their own chemical toner products.The Webster toner plant, which employs about 50, produces two-thirds of the company’s global output of EA toner, the rest coming from a plant in Canada.Fuji Xerox Co., which is a joint venture with FujiFilm Holdings Corp., also produces EA toner in Japan for the Pacific Rim market.

    Since the 110,000-square-foot, $60 million Webster plant began operating in September 2007, Xerox has made sizable changes. In the past nine months, the plant increased its production capacity 30 percent through efficiencies such as getting more material into production tanks, which allows more toner to be produced in the same amount of time, said plant manager Michael Duggan.

    The plant also has cut down on set-up time needed when switching from production of one color toner to another, he said.The company late last year installed six 25,000-gallon tanks for product of Ultra Low-Melt EA toner, which melts and fuses onto paper at lower temperatures than Xerox’s standard EA toner, resulting in devices using as much as 30 percent less power.

    Xerox declined to say what the plant’s output is. But it has released a number of products that use EA toner, including WorkCentre office color multifunction machines and black-and-white production presses.Chief Executive Ursula Burns said earlier this year that when Xerox does reach a point when it needs an additional EA plant, it likely wouldn’t be in the Rochester area.Instead, the company would probably locate the plant on another continent, closer to other markets.

    Xerox has traditional toner plants scattered across the globe from Webster to Brazil, India and the Netherlands.The company currently isn’t planning to phase out its production of conventional toner, Fromm said.While making EA toner uses less electricity than the manufacture of traditional toner, it is a heavy consumer of water. Xerox currently is trying out a modification of its EA toner manufacturing process that could cut water use by 10 percent, Duggan said.