Xerox Researchers Create Parallel Printer Architecture
Xerox says it will demonstrate at Graph Expo a new dual-engine printer platform that will pave the way for future printer designs at Xerox. The new parallel printer architecture, developed at the company's research center in Webster, N.Y., and at its Palo Alto Research Center, delivers the power of two printers with the simplicity of one. Similar to the way parallel architectures for data storage and processors have revolutionized the IT industry, this new parallel printer design will deliver unsurpassed productivity and reliability to the digital printing industry.
Parallel printer architecture is the software and hardware that enable two print engines to work together seamlessly as one printer device. This architecture also makes the printer smart enough, depending upon the circumstances, to allow each individual engine to work independently. This flexibility allows commercial printing and graphic arts customers to take full advantage of the dual-engine system.
The TIPP technology encompasses several Xerox innovations in smart "self-aware" and self-regulating systems including:
- "Pass Through Programming" technology provides system intelligence that keeps the system running even if one of the engines needs service. The result is maximum productivity and uptime for commercial print operations and in-house printing facilities. In the pass through mode, all pages are imaged by one print engine and simply pass through the idle print engine.
- Synchronization capabilities that enable the dual engines to be "in tune" with each other and allow them to essentially act as one. Just as the coordination of the pistons in an automobile engine, the relative motion of images in each engine must be precisely controlled – but in this case without any mechanical connection between them. So, in order to keep the paper moving through the tandem engines at exactly matched speeds, a smart "self-aware" technology is used to measure each engine's speed over 1.000 times per second and to control the difference. The result: Both engines work as one, providing the customer with the productivity and speed of a dual-engine printer
- Image quality is consistently monitored by an "invisible eye" within each machine. This measures the image density, or "blackness", up to twice per second. It automatically adjusts the power of the laser on each of the two printing engines, ensuring the pages printed on each engine match perfectly. This innovation makes every image consistent, regardless of which engine is doing the printing.
The intellectual property in this innovation complements Xerox's rich portfolio of patents that cover "smarter document management systems" – printers and systems that are "self-aware", self-diagnosing and self-correcting. These intelligent systems are the heart of the parallel printing architecture and are being developed by a team of researchers from the Xerox Innovation Group in Webster, N.Y., and the Palo Alto Research Center. The first high-end production printing system featuring this technology will be launched in the second quarter of 2007 in North America and Europe as part of the Xerox Nuvera Digital Production System line. It will be the fastest cut-sheet printer operating at 288 duplex impressions per minute with image quality equal to offset printing standards.
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