Memjet – Really really really fast printer

At the design office where I work you can almost guarantee that during the course of the day, two or three people at a time will be waiting for the printer to slowly churn out their print job. Sure it is a way to socialize, catch up on gossip and unite us all against the common enemy in the printer.

Silverbrook Research, based in Sydney Australia, may have developed THE print technology to end the print bottle neck, and get our designers back where they belong, the coffee machine. The Memjet printer technology (when released) will be 10 times faster than other technologies at the same price point.

The Memjet technology, which has been in development for more than 10 years, is backed by more than 1,400 U.S. patents; about 2,000 more are pending. The new technology prints full color images at 60 pages per minute (ppm), many times the inkjet industry standard. The technology, which will be a fraction of the price of high-speed color laser devices, will soon be available for OEMs targeting the home/office, photo-kiosk and label markets. A business-class, 60 ppm Memjet-based printer is expected to retail for under $300. The ink pricing is expected to lead the market and help eliminate the price penalty for printing color.

The Memjet technology is comprised of three highly integrated components: page-wide printheads, driver chips and ink.

The printhead consists of a continuous row of 1mm x 20mm silicon print chips connected end-to-end. Each chip contains 6,400 nozzles, equaling 32,000 nozzles in total for a 100mm  printhead and 70,400 nozzles for a typical lettersize/A4 printhead. The nozzle density is 17 times higher than the nozzle density the market leaders offer in their leading printhead designs, which contributes to the cost effectiveness of the new technology.

The ultra-compact, continuous color printhead stretches from one edge of the page to the other. Unlike traditional scanning inkjet printheads, the Memjet printhead does not move, reducing vibration, noise and mechanical complexity, while dramatically increasing performance.

The technology can print full-color, photo-quality images (4×6 or A6) at 30 ppm, full-color and black-and-white business communication (8.5×11 or A4) at 60 ppm, and draft mode at 90 ppm. In the label, tag and ticket market, this translates into 6 inches per second for full 1600×1600 color printing and 12 inches per second for 1600×800 color printing. This compares to industry standards of about 1 to 2 ppm for 4×6 photos, 10 to 15 ppm for cost-effective ìbusinessî color, and 30 ppm for draft mode. The technology also replaces similar-speed, 200 dpi label-printing technologies with a high-resolution color alternative.

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I’m still wondering if we’re looking at a future 3D printer ( something I asked a while back – – and still think may be possible in the foreseeable future).

How does this new technology compare in terms of energy conservation and the environmental impact from manufacturing, versus traditional printing technologies? I like to think fewer moving parts bodes well for efficiency . . .


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