Following its recent U.S. launch, Printware has visited Xerox for training on the new Xerox Announces First High Speed Solid Ink Multifunction Printer, the ColorQube uses state of the art technology to produce print speeds of up to 85 pages per minute and can save up to 62% on colour printing costs. It also brings Xerox's proven solid ink technology into the realm of the high-spec A3 office printer.
The ColorQube 9200 series includes a range of powerful features designed to enhance performance, save costs and increase usability. Technophobes wary of using the new machine will particularly welcome the embedded help videos, which give troubleshooting assistance at the front panel, and the illuminated paper path, which will make clearing those occasional jams less daunting. Replacing consumables is also straightforward, with the solid ink sticks dropping directly into uniquely shaped slots and just one long-life customer replaceable cleaning unit.
The lack of a print cartridge doesn't just make it easier to replace the inks; Xerox estimates that a ColorQube will produce 90% less packaging waste over its lifetime than an equivalent laser printer (based on 22,000 prints per month over 4 years). The ColorQube is 2009 ENERGY STAR compliant and will switch to low power mode when it is less likely to be used, based on the workgroup's usage patterns. The solid ink packaging can be recycled 100% locally and the cleaning unit can be recycled through the Xerox Green World Alliance Program.
So, what about performance and specification? Advanced scanning and faxing techniques make it easy to organise, archive and share documents. Scan to network, e-mail and mailbox are all available and faxes can be sent from the desktop, over the internet or via an existing fax server. Scanned files are compressed using optimized file compression for faster delivery and reduced network load. It is also possible to create text-searchable PDFs from scanned documents. Xerox Extensible Interface Platform makes it possible to tailor server based applications that can be accessed from the touch screen and a range of third party software packages provide advanced print management, cost recovery, faxing and scanning features.
Xerox Color Correction technology enables the user to enhance print output, adjust colour quality and save print settings for future use. Pantone colour matching allows realistic and accurate colour matching, while true Adobe Postscript 3 and PCL 5c and 6 mean than complex graphics can be printed accurately. Users can also specify print speed and quality with four different output settings: Photo, Enhanced, Standard and Fast.
Print speeds range from 38 pages per minute to 85ppm, with duty cycles from 150,000 per month for the ColorQube 9201 to 300,000 for the ColorQube 9203. All three models come with 2GB RAM an 80GB hard drive and a 1GHz processor, plus 100 sheet duplex automatic document feeder and will print a range of media up to 220gsm. A range of finishing options are available, from a standard office finisher to a high volume finisher with booklet maker.
The ColorQube is designed with minimal down time in mind and will print up to 55,000 pages on a single set of inks, which can be changed while it is still printing. Xerox CentreWare software allows IT administrators to install, configure and manage a number of printers across the network and the ColorQube 9200 series can be accessed remotely via an embedded web server to provide quick access top job and device status, accounting information and online support.
Security is always an issue for large workgroups and the ColorQube conforms to the latest industry standards with IPSec, SNMPv3 and 802.1x protocols to securely encrypt, transmit and authenticate documents sent over the network. The ColorQube also features Secure Access Unified ID, which allows users to log on with a swipe of their security badge, and Image Overwrite to ensure that scanned documents are completely erased to prevent unauthorized printing of sensitive material.
Xerox's price plans are based on the amount of colour used per page and, Xerox claim, will significantly reduce the cost of most colour pages. Pages with useful amounts of colour (e.g. e-mails, most letters) will be charged at the same rate as black and white, which makes the 9200 series more cost effective than comparable colour laser multifunction printers.
So, what's the verdict so far? "Big" and "expensive" are two words that have sprung to mind. The entry level ColorQube is currently selling for just over $21,000 in the U.S. and is expected to be around £14,000 when it launches in the U.K., depending on the exchange rate at the time. The much-hyped print speed of 85 pages per minute in colour is for the top of the range 9203 in fast mode; maximum speeds in normal print modes are 50ppm for the 9203 and 38ppm for the 9201. Xerox are extolling the virtues of the ColorQube as compared with laser printers but may find itself competing with the impressive Edgeline series from HP. Xerox may have their work cut out persuading businesses to buy a ColorQube over its more established, and cheaper, rival.
by Anthony Morgan