Xerox's New MFP Colors Your World For 62 Percent Less

Xerox took the wraps off its new line of solid-ink multifunction printers Thursday, the ColorQube 9200 MFP series (9201/9202/9203), which the company promises will lower the cost of printing color pages by as much as 62 percent, and at the same time, reduce supply waste by 90 percent.

"This is the most exciting news in MFPs in years," said Jim Rise, vice president and general manager, Xerox's Solid Ink Products Business. "We wanted to make color printing as easy as black and white printing and the ColorQube 9200 MFPs are easier to use than our own B&W printers. Basically, we want to make B&W printing obsolete."

The MFPs are part of Xerox's new three-tiered Hybrid Color pricing plan, in which customers pay only for the amount of color they use on a given page. The plan eliminates traditional "one-size-fits-all" pricing, where the cost of a page with full color, such as printing a photo image, is the same as the cost of a page with just a little bit of color, such as a company logo on letterhead.

The pricing plan categories are: Useful Color -- approximately 1.2 percent of color coverage for 1 cent, which costs about the same as a B&W page on laser devices; Everyday Color -- between 1.2 percent to 8 percent color coverage for 3 cents; and Expressive Color -- more than 8 percent color coverage for 8 cents.

To figure out which plan fits best with your business, Xerox also has a new color cost calculator on the ColorQube Web site. The calculator takes users through a series of questions regarding such things as average monthly print volume and price currently paid for color and B&W pages.

Each ColorQube printer has four print heads that can jet more than 150 million drops of ink per second, providing speeds from 38 pages per minute (ppm) up to 85 ppm. The printers use Xerox's proprietary solid ink sticks. Users just have to drop the sticks into the ColorQube's shape-coded slots and they're set. In addition, the sticks mean that ink levels can be topped off while the ColorQube is running. The long-term print capacity ink sticks hold enough solid ink to print up to 58,000 pages before they need to be replaced.

The list price for the ColorQube 9200 series starts at $23,500, with orders being taken immediately in North America. All systems are offered through Xerox direct sales, agents and Global Imaging Systems. The printers will be available in Europe in September and in other markets next year.

The ColorQube series uses 9 percent less life-cycle energy and produces 10 percent fewer greenhouse gases than a comparable laser device, according to Xerox research that was reviewed by The Rochester Institute of Technology.

And because the printers don't use print cartridges, there is 90 percent less supply waste. When printers run out of ink, there is nothing to throw away. Xerox also points out that because the ink sticks are so small, there's also less packaging to recycle. The only other replaceable part is a maintenance roller that lasts for tens of thousands of pages, meaning that it only needs to be replaced a few times in the life of the printer.

IDC Research issued a report favorably evaluating the ColorQube.

"Given that until now, Xerox's solid ink business is based on much lower-priced A4 devices, Xerox has the potential to significantly increase its solid ink business and its share of its total color business. This is enabled with the much higher speed/higher priced A3 ColorQube. If ColorQube did no better than HP's Edgeline, which has had somewhat limited market success, and if Xerox's color laser business continued the trajectory it's been on, Xerox would double its solid ink business and increase solid ink's share of its color business. Beyond the hardware revenue boost, ColorQube's cost per page plan will also increase the share of its pages that are color, boosting Xerox's solid ink post-sale revenue and profits."