Archive for the 'Product News' Category

Is too much Toner Ink Exposure Dangerous?

Most users of laser toner printers and photocopiers are unaware of the dangers mishandling toner can have to their health. The toner powder used inside each cartridge contains compounds that can be potentially harmful to humans when not handled correctly. The key to properly handling toner is being aware of the risks and how to prevent them from occurring.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified toner powder as a type 2B carcinogen with the primary ingredient in most laser toner cartridges being Carbon Black. Carbon dust, which toner is mainly composed of, is known to emit carcinogens which can be dangerous to humans and result in a form a cancer when inhaled. Normal operation of photocopiers and laser printers will not expose users to these possible risks; however a broken cartridge that explodes toner powder in the office can be a different story.

To avoid overexposure to toner by inhaling or touching the chemical, gloves and a paper breathing mask should be worn to clean the mess. If any of the toner compounds get onto your skin, you should wash the toner off under cold water. Hot water or even warm water can melt the powder into your skin which can ultimately attack or transform bacteria resulting in some undesirable side effects such as irritation and itchiness. Inhaling the carbon-dominate dust may cause headaches, eye irritation, chronic itchiness, and even small growths on the tongue.

When laser toner cartridges inside of some photocopy machines overheat, the toner can conceivably become even more dangerous. First of all, the cartridge itself can severely burn the skin when handling the toner ink cartridge immediately after printing.  So do not attempt to replace toner cartridges that have recently been used to print with. Give the cartridges a few minutes to cool off inside the machine before changing the toner.

Secondly, photocopiers that use toner ink may emit carbon monoxide into the atmosphere when overheated. Inhaling a cloud Carbon Monoxide can cause an increased heart rate, severe headaches, and drowsiness. To prevent exposure to overheated toner cartridges emitting carbon dioxide, these machines should be used in well ventilated rooms. Opening windows and doors can also be useful to help dilute the air containing the carbon dioxide pollutants.  The most common occurrence of this happening is in offices that are consistently printing throughout the day. So be sure your frequently used laser printers and copies are in a well ventilated room before operating them.

Furthermore, some photocopiers are likely to radiate high levels of ozone during electrical discharges that occur each time toner is ejected from the cartridge. And regular exposure to high levels of ozone can cause some unwanted effects, similar to the effects of overexposure to carbon dioxide, including headaches, irritation, nausea, and even dermatitis in extreme cases. By ensuring your machine is operating in a well ventilated area will prevent this from becoming a potential problem.

Once again, the normal operation will not have harmful effects to users. And to eliminate the potential threats mentioned, be sure to use laser toner printers and photocopiers in areas with good air flow or ventilation, wash toner off with cold water, do not breathe unnaturally close to the machine when operating, and do not attempt to replace or change recently used cartridges. By following these fairly simple guidelines, laser toner printers and photocopiers using toner ink are relatively harmless and are necessary office components in today’s workplace.

Printers Are Going Digital

In the fifteenth century Johannes Gutenberg developed and used the first form of mechanical movable type that would later pioneer a printing revolution and set the course for the modern printer. It all started with a wooden block, individual cast iron characters (letters and punctuation marks), ink, and some parchment (or paper). This process was painstakingly long, having to load and ink each character by hand, pull the impression, hang the sheets to dry, and assemble the type. The process took about half a day to complete one page, as compared to today where each page takes only seconds to produce.

Now printers come in a variety of forms and sizes with differentiating functions, features, and software to specifically target individual consumer needs. Printers can create photographs, scan and save originals in a file format, copy originals, send and receive fax transmissions, and even access and browse the internet. In order to accommodate these newer aspects consumers are looking for, printing has changed from the traditional offset printing methods established by Gutenberg, to a digital-based image processing device.

Any printing device that takes an image directly from a computer to print can be considered a digital printer. In essence, we are taking a digitally created image (or an image created by or on a computer) and using a matrix grid to map out and reproduce the image onto a substrate, thus completing a digital process. During the process, lasers inside the machine will polarize and write the image while electricity will affix the toner or inkjets onto the substrate to produce a printout.

With the advancements and evolution of digital capabilities, printers have become more feature rich and often contain a way to connect to the internet for unmatched data communication. Applications can even be downloaded to mobile devices, allowing users to print wirelessly from tablets, smart phones, and other internet connected devices. Each manufacturing company has their own versions of downloadable mobile printing applications, including HP’s ePrint, Canon’s Easy PhotoPrint, Brother’s iPrint and Scan, Google’s Cloud Printing, Apple’s AirPrint, and many more.

Printers without internet connection options can also be set up to receive printing tasks from mobile devices by connecting the printer directly to a computer or device that has internet capabilities. When the computer with internet is plugged into a printer with no independent internet ability, the computer can be used to receive and forward tasks to the printer. The downloadable mobile printing apps will then work the same as intended with internet connected printers.

The latest trend in printing technology, other than mobile printing, is color LCD Touchscreen Displays that can control printer settings, formatting options, and even preview projects before printing them out. Perhaps the most convenient aspect of Touchscreen displays is the fully customizable application placement. These intuitive new control panels will actually compute the most frequently used applications with specific printing tasks and will prioritize the frequently used applications to display first.

Inkless Printers are also being developed that will revolutionize the printing industry. Over the past decade more and more research efforts have been going into Additive Manufacturing or 3D Printing. Instead of using a dye or pigment based substance in liquid form, these 3D printers utilize solid materials such as metals, plastics, starches, proteins, and more to create 3-dimensional, fully-functional items, layer by layer. Therefore eliminating the need for media (paper), while creating a need for 3-dimensional digital Cartesian grids made on computers.

Computers and Printers have been shaping the way we do business, communicate, and handle documentation for years without us ever realizing it. Anytime we want a computer to manufacture or structure an item, we are using a digital process that can replicate lines and curves better and faster than a human can by hand. So keep your printer up to date with the latest printing capabilities such as cloud printing and stay up to date with the communication and manufacturing of the future.

The New Uvijet KA Ink for Fujifilm Acuity Printers

Fujifilm has announced their latest plans to release a new series of high performing UV inkjet inks specifically designed for their Acuity Series Printers. These new UV inks, known as Uvijet KA, were developed in response to the increased performance demands of current wide format printers. The Uvijet KA series inks are set to offer improved adhesion performance and exceptional post-printing finishing properties on a variety of media types and textures.

Being designed for the large format hybrid Acuity printers, the main challenge for the R and D team was to create a formula that can adhere to almost any surface while keeping the rich tonality and wide color gamut expected from the UV series inkjets. The team ended with a UV ink formula that meets these requirements and also provides superior scratch resistance and enhanced tolerance to unwanted markings caused by fingerprints, protective films, and other paper handling actions. These features are a result of extensive Research and Development, to also keep the bright, “vivid” color output and excellent image quality the other Uvijet inks are known for while being able to handle the increased printing speeds and reduced droplet sizes the new wide format printers are requiring.

The Uvijet KA inks have been successfully tested across a wide range of rigid plastic substrates and other commonly used media materials making these inks and the compatible Acuity Series Wide Format Printers ideal for customers whose prerogative is adhesion. The adhesion range of the Uvijet KA inks is much wider than other inks currently on the market, allowing users to utilize and manage multiple substrates within a single ink to simplify the already complicated wide format printing process.

With this kind of ink versatility, Fujifilm has become dedicated to being a leading pioneer of Inkjet Technology. John Kaiser, product marketing manager, Inkjet Inks, FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division, also adds that their “rigorous and thorough testing exhibited excellent adhesion to acrylic, aluminum composite materials, fluted polypropylene (Correx), foam core, PETG, and styrene (vinyl).” The Uvijet KA Series is the third generation of UV Inks created, to handle rigid and flexible media types.

The previously created Uvijet OZ Inkjets were designed to give projects a higher degree of flexibility, enabling users to cut, fold, crease, drive, and route printed material. The Uvijet QN Inkjets showcase an eight color ink system for improved image quality on super-wide printouts intended for indoor exhibitions and as display graphics. Fujifilm has also been developing their Uvijet LL series inkjet system which includes high opacity white and clear inks for optimum performance with proprietary LED curing systems onboard certain wide format LED printers.

The Uvijet KA ink system is an alternative four color CMYK ink technology for the Acuity printers that was designed to exhibit unmatched adhesive properties and superior resistances to external environmental markings. This ink also performs on a variety of rigid and flexible media substrates. And being the third generation of an advanced UV inkjet ink system, the Uvijet KA inks have had time to be refined and built into a reliable and legitimate inkjet cartridge for hybrid wide format printers from Fujifilm.

Ink or Toner?

Ink and toner share many similar aspects, both being able to administer color and black pigment onto media forming specified characters and integrated images that make up a printout. Each is comprised of three main elements, a vehicle, a pigment, and a holding cell. Both laser printers and inkjet printers also come in a variety types from All-In-One devices, being able to print, scan, copy, and fax, to monochrome machines that were designed to handle black and white or grayscale only printouts. These machines can be used for the same purposes, having the ability to complete nearly any type of printout, although toner and ink have distinct advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of printing you are performing. To help better understand which type of printer will be more beneficial, we have to first understand to main properties of ink and toner.

Printing ink is a liquid or paste based solution used to create shapes and patterns onto the substrate. The liquid solution is housed in a reservoir within the cartridge until being forced to the release chamber(s). Once inside the release chambers an impulse will trigger a reactive element embedded to the chamber to forcibly jet out or drop the pigment through a nozzle and out onto the media. The reaction will also force new droplets into the chamber for rapid reproduction.

Toner is a type of concentrated pigment or dye-based powder used in laser printers to complete the electrophotographic process. The powder is stored within the cartridge compartment known as the hopper. The powder in the hopper is a carbon-based polymer that will attract and repel from particular static electrical charges which is the key to applying the powder to the substrate. A transfer roller will pick up the oppositely charged toner particles from the hopper and roll the particles against an imaging drum unit that has an even greater opposite electrical charge. The laser printer will create a light impression on the drum successfully creating a magnetic impression for the toner to attract to. Once the toner is placed onto the media, a pair of fusing rollers will actually melt the powder into the page to create the desired images.

There are three main properties to consider when choosing whether to print with toner or ink, including how they dry, the structural design, and the optical output. With a laser toner printer, the fusing rollers will burn the toner that has been layered on the substrate to adhere the particles to the page. Inkjets will apply an ink solution that rapidly dries being exposed to the room temperature air. The speed at which the ink will dry varies, depending on the added drying or thermal agent inside the ink mixture.

The cartridges are also made in completely different sizes and shapes, with toners generally being much bigger in size due to the amount of components (or pieces) needed to apply the pigmented polymers. And having an entire roller covered in particles that spans the size of the accepted media and a drum unit that holds an image, allows the laser toner to swiftly reproduce that same image, which is ideal for printing out multiple copies of one page. Inkjet printers will slowly render and apply ink as the cartridges pass over the media to help capture fine details, making them better for single page printing.

Toners are made and formed with very specific particle solutions and processes that pertain to the particular printer model. For example, some toner particles can be shaped by a vortex procedure giving each grain a rounded shape, whereas the more typical chemically created particles contain jagged edges and can damage rollers that are made to transport rounded particles. Therefore, most toner cartridges will only work with a specific printer or series of printers. The inkjet cartridges, on the other hand, are often interchangeable with several printer series and even manufacturers. When the ink formulations are changed, the viscosity is usually balanced between inkjets allowing almost any printer to apply the contained ink as long as the cartridges have the same size and shape.

In general Inkjets will be able to produce higher quality images and photographs, whereas the toner particles are able to create higher quality text documents. The laser toners will also be able to produce more printouts due to the sheer amount of pigment able to be held by the toner cartridges as opposed to the ink cartridges. Ink cartridges are typically more expensive when comparing the cost to print per page although they can provide a wider color gamut to work with and added definition. So depending on what types of printing you are performing more of, will determine the type of printer and cartridges that will be more beneficial. For the photograph enthusiast, inkjets are recommended for added detail. To create multiple copies of a single page or text documents, a laser toner printer and toner cartridges will be better for your overall printing needs.

3D Printer in Space

The American Space Agency, NASA, will be sending a 3D printer into space during the Fall of 2014 to provide astronauts and scientists with a way to craft specific tools and spare parts in zero gravity. The mission will also focus on creating small test satellites from this 3D printer that are capable of transmitting data back to Earth (if the experiment is successful). With these advancements, NASA can significantly lower the transportation costs by reducing the amount of items that need to be pre-fabricated and sent up to the astronauts. The machine is only about the size of the MakerBot Replicator home models or about the size of a standard toaster oven. Despite the size, having the adaptability to design and manufacture on the fly can be an essential lifesaving benefit.

Earlier in this month, Rachel Kraft from the Marshall Space Flight Center in Washington reported that the largest 3D printed rocket engine component, blazed to life on August 22 of 2013, generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. The component tested, was a 3D manufactured injector which is responsible for delivering propellants in the rocket that power an engine and provide the thrust necessary to propel an object. The testing engineers injected liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen into the combustion chamber to measure the force of thrust produced. The results concluded that this rocket created 10 times more thrust than any other 3D manufactured rocket from preceding tests.

The force produced was enough to let the team start fabricating design layouts or templates for these mini test satellites that can now be rocketed out from the Space Station. The success of this test also provided a crucial step in bringing NASA closer to proving this innovative technology can be used to reduce the cost of flight hardware as well as the tools needed in emergency scenarios.

As a side, safety and practicality test, the Marshall engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center have been running through mock Apollo 13 simulations, in which the crew had to quickly fabricate a lifesaving carbon dioxide filter holder using a plastic bag, a manual cover, and gaffer tape. In these simulations, the crew was able to use the 3D printer to manufacture the exact parts they needed in minutes, giving the crew more time to land safely on the moon’s surface. Although these are just test situations, having the right components can mean life or death which brings us to the next stage of pre-launch testing.

NASA has already been able to fine tune some of this technology, being able to print with laser-melted titanium and nickel-chromium powders that give projects significant strength improvements. Being able to print in zero gravity however, presents a whole new set of challenges. Typically the 3D printer will layer thin sheets of the desired material on a build platform until an object is complete. With zero gravity, there is no additional force (like gravity) that can assist the printer in laying down liquid hot layers of plastic or metal onto a lower platform. Once the melted material jets through the nozzle it will have infinite directions to travel in. With metal material, polarization could be the key to keeping the structure together in such environments, although materials like propylene (or plastic) prove to be more difficult.

Propylene is an interesting material, mostly known for its use with Tupperware and other clear plastic containers. With the latest exploratory satellite named Cassini, atmospheric researchers at NASA have discovered a plethora of Propylene on one of Saturn’s moons known as Titan. In 1980 the Voyager (a previously made, exploratory satellite) discovered Hydrocarbons in the air around Titan, which were derived from methane, once the methane had been broken apart by sunlight. This continuous process that still occurs on Titan forms long chains of molecules that make up propane, propylene, and propyne. Voyager was only able to discern the largest and smallest chains at the time being Propane and Propyne. With Cassini, researchers were able to compare new readings to Voyager’s in order to quickly isolate and identify elements that Voyager left behind.

The first molecule to be discovered using this CIRS system (Composite Infrared Spectrometer which identifies heat coming from the atmosphere), is Propylene, perhaps the most common plastic manufactured on Earth. This plastic is most commonly used to create clear plastic holding containers, such as water bottles. Any item with an identifying mark that contains a number five encased by a segmented triangle with the initials PP underneath is made of Polypropylene. Polypropylene is simply a series of Propylene molecules connected together in a longer chain to form a clear plastic sheet or wire.

We touch and use the same types of elements found on Saturn every day, without even knowing it. And who knows, maybe one day we can stop by Titan to refill a ship’s stock of PLS plastics.

The Adobe Creative Cloud by Fuji Xerox

Fuji Xerox has announced partnering with Adobe to create their own cloud computing software that lets users print and design projects from virtually any location. The move is set to help designers and other creative professionals meet their tight deadlines with the help of inclusive resources and tools provided within the program.

According to Fuji Xerox executives, creative professionals are severely limited by the lack of resources and tools that are offered with current cloud printing software. In an attempt to appease this large grouping of overlooked users, subscribers to the new Adobe Creative Cloud printing software may use the entire collection of graphic design tools and services at a low cost.

Not only does this program have graphic design elements, this technology can build and publish websites, mobile sites, mobile applications, and other content for various devices. And being cloud computing software, users can still enjoy the original cloud features such as sharing files, capturing feedback, and keeping track of all projects on a single platform.

Adobe is known for offering easy and simple management tools which are going to be updated and upgraded accordingly. The tools provided by the software are made accessible on all devices to eliminate pestering restrictions due to the device being operated on. This gives users the power to build and format projects or presentations from any handheld device with seamless integration.

Fuji Xerox utilizes their popular printing features such as the advanced color management systems to increase product quality and development efficiency. A valued solution, XMPie has also been added to the mix, offering variable-data publishing (or VDP) solutions for a variety of personalized applications that enable cross-media campaigns and deliver a wide range of solutions with different application requirements. This allows the Adobe Creative Cloud to adapt in intuitive ways tailoring to customers’ file handling needs.

Voice Activated 3D Printing

Yahoo Japan has developed the first 3 Dimensional Search Engine to combine with 3D printers allowing users to print nearly any object with a verbal command. The engine works by rapidly searching the internet for existing blueprints to deliver a palm sized object in a few minutes. This means that nearly anyone can print 3D objects without any sort of training. Simply by initiating a voice command, users will be able to print tools, toys, fixtures, or any other object as diverse as the blueprints on the internet.

Many sites have already been opened with extensive amounts of blueprints for those getting started or for those that want to purchase more complex designs. And with 3D printing becoming increasingly more commonplace, blueprints for aesthetics such as Holiday decorations and coffee table art are available. No doubt, printing household items and commodities will be popular, although 3D printing can span and benefit nearly all aspects of life.

The medical and dental fields have been employing 3D printing technology for years, but imagine if ER doctors and Surgeons had a voice activated organ printer that can printout artificial implants during the operation. No more waiting for an organ donor that may or may not have a compatible component. This also eliminates the need to preserve organs for future incidents.

This voice activated 3D printer, which is part owned by Japanese mobile carrier Softbank and US Internet giant Yahoo!, has been introduced to a school for blind and visually impaired students in Tokyo on a temporary basis. Yahoo Japan has commented that this printer will be free to use for the school until mid-October, giving them about a month to explore the vast possibilities that can aide cognitive development and learning.

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