Xerox developments reduce energy consumption
Xerox Corporation has been investing much time and effort into developing products that use significantly less energy.
It has long applied its technical expertise to building energy savings into its products. About two years ago, it took a fresh look at all the subsystems in its laser-printing-based products, aiming to reduce its power usage still further.
As a result, engineers identified four opportunities to cut power consumption: the fuser, the toner, the electronic controls and the xerographic system.
In the xerographic process, a copy or print is made by digitally capturing the image to be printed; exposing the image on a photoreceptor; developing the image with pigmented powder, which is called toner; then transferring the image created by the toner onto paper and heating it, to fuse the image and make a print.
One example of the company's success is the WorkCentre 4150, which prints at 45 pages per minute. It is a black-and-white, desktop MFP for SMEs and it uses 11.9 kilowatt-hours per week of electricity. That is roughly half the energy consumption of a comparable 45 pages per minute multifunction system of three years ago.
Another method, developed by Xerox to save on electricity, involves lowering the energy it takes to power up. Office products such as printers, copiers and MFPs are active about 10% of the time. The rest of the time, they are in a standby or 'sleep' mode, where the fuser roll cools and uses less power. The dilemma is that the 'deeper' the sleep, the less power they use, but the longer it takes before they are ready to print again.
Xerox developed fuser rolls with thinner walls that would heat up faster for some products; for others, it changed from a roller to a thin metal belt with a heater. As a result of the technical changes to the product line, one new black-and-white product will use 75% less energy to emerge from the deep sleep than it did previously. Warm-up times for Xerox's colour laser printers have also been significantly reduced.
Xerox scientists have also worked to develop toners with lower melting points, which consume less energy in the fuser. These have enabled Xerox to reduce fusing temperatures by 10% in some products.
Other innovations include redesign of the control electronics in the devices, to take advantage of next-generation processors and save energy.
Energy efficiency developments are part of Xerox's ongoing investments in sustainable innovation, or 'green products', that deliver measurable benefits to the environment and help Xerox customers work in more environmentally friendly offices. These include solid ink printing technology, which generates 90% less waste than comparable laser printers, document-management services and software, that improve workers' productivity while reducing dependency on paper, and other paper-saving innovations.