New Xerox Direct-to-object Printer
September 6, 2016 By PrintAction Staff
The Xerox Direct to Object Printer, which is a customized solution built to order, allows for printing photos, images and text directly onto 3D Objects in just a few minutes. The technology, which can be aimed at on-demand personalization, relies on Xerox print head nozzles that are half the width of a human hair.
The print head nozzles, explains Xerox, can accurately spray ink on objects as small as bottle caps and as large as football helmets. The printer can print on plastic, metals, ceramics and glass, eliminating the need for costly labels.
“This innovation opens up a path for creating customized products instantly at a time when the consumer’s appetite is all about personalization,” said Brendan Casey, VP of Xerox Engineering Services. “Imagine a sports fan coming home from a game with a helmet or ball that was personalized right at the stadium, or a retailer offering on-demand personalization on hundreds of different store items.”
Xerox explains it uses enhanced image-quality algorithms to direct the microscopic nozzles half the width of a human hair. By accurately spraying ink at distances of one-quarter inch, the printer is able to print on smooth, rough, slightly curved or stepped surfaces at print resolutions ranging from 300 to 1,200 dpi. The printer can handle up to 30 objects per hour, with the ability to scale for production.
“The real innovation here is that we can now print on items, such as steel water bottles with multiple curves, without the setup time and costs that analog printing such as flexography or screen printing require,” said Wayne Buchar, Chief Engineer, Xerox Engineering Services.
Xerox explains the ink jets are compatible with virtually any type of ink chemistry including solvent, aqueous and UV inks and can be operated at temperatures as high as 140°C, enabling jetting of specialized inks that meet demanding requirements. As well, the architecture of the Direct To Object printer features a flexible design for holders so that objects can be changed out easily.
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