UXBRIDGE -- Scientists at Xerox have solved a problem that brings new meaning to highlight colour. Since the introduction of the first highlight colour printer in 1991, scientists have explored ways to expand the colour palette available in the "highlight" part of the printers.
Everyone knows that when you mix red and green you get brown. In fact, when you mix the primary colours, the palette is almost endless. This has not been possible for highlight colour printers due to the composition of the coloured mixing ingredients. Recently however, Xerox scientists have found a way to expand the palette so they can blend a rainbow of custom colours. These colours are available on the Xerox DocuTech 128, 155 and 180 Highlight Color Systems.
The image in a xerographic print is made from toner - a plastic resin with colorants and other ingredients - that has precisely controlled properties such as electrical charge and melting characteristics. Toner, with particles so small that it takes about 50 to make the full-stop at the end of this sentence, is available in primary colours like red, green, blue, black, cyan, magenta and yellow.
To make a xerographic print or copy, an electrostatic charge "paints" an image, toner is attracted to it, and then the image is transferred to paper and fused onto it. Each particle of a pure primary colour like red has the same properties, so the toner spreads evenly on the image. However, the properties of different primary colours could vary slightly. That's what has made it complicated to blend colours.
For instance, copper is used to make green pigment that makes toner green. Its physical, chemical and electrical properties are different from those of barium, which is the basis for the red pigment in red toner, according to John Lanni, supplies product delivery manager for the highlight colour programme. In the past, these differences have made it difficult to mix the two uniformly to make brown, and image quality defects associated with separation of toners could result.
Now Xerox scientists have discovered a way to "pacify" the properties in different pigments in order to mix them. While the technology is being applied first with conventional toner in the DocuTech Highlight Color Systems, Lanni said, it is planned for other toner technology in additional Xerox products.
The custom-blended colours are being rolled out in phases on the DocuTech Highlight Color Systems. When the final phase is reached later this year, eight colours - red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow, black and clear - will be available for mixing.
With them, Xerox will be able to match more than 1,000 individual colours - 88 percent of all the standard colours commonly specified to print providers. The variety will allow Xerox to match colours in corporate logos and in other situations where colours are rigidly specified and controlled.
Xerox scientists and engineers conduct work in colour science, computing, digital imaging, work practices, electromechanical systems, novel materials and other disciplines connected to Xerox's expertise in printing and document management. The company was named the Product Development & Management Association's Outstanding Corporate Innovator in 2006, and it received the 2003 IEEE Corporate Innovation Recognition award for the DocuTech product line. For more information, visit www.xerox.com/innovation.
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