Talk:Solid ink

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Regarding who brought solid color ink-jet to market first, there is some evidence that the first solid ink color printer, the Pixelmaster, was brought to market in 1986 by Howtek Inc. So, Tektronix might not actually have been the first to market with a color solid ink printer. Of course, Tektronix eventually competed with Howtek, dominating the market and securing their share for non-sublimation, phase-change solid ink printing. However, rather than the easily-damaged wax carrier used by Tektronix, Howtek used a durable, optically clear plastic phase change carrier, along with four primary subtractive color dyes (CMYK), soluble in the plastic base material. Howtek also employed an interesting shape-coded method to refill their printer reservoirs with the correct colors. Howtek began applying for patents in 1985, and several patents issued between 1987 and 1989 covering their method of getting this material onto a wide range of surfaces, head cleaning, etc. Tektronix eventually won the ensuing battle for market share based on output speed (when Howtek began selling the product, it was limited to printing a full color page every two minutes). The PixelMaster is described in more detail in several InfoWorld [1] [2] and PC Magazine [3] articles appearing between 1986 and 1989, and in the solid color printing patents granted to Howtek from 1987 onward [4].--Jharcourt (talk) 00:30, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

I removed the POV tag since the article now contains both positive and negative aspects of the technology. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:55, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Removed product images and links. The rest is informational and similar to existing articles on other technologies.

Edited the page to include numerous disadvantages to the technology; hopefully the article is more neutral as a result, as it previously only cited benefits (some of which are valid.) I welcome help in putting down specifics and citations; everything I've added is a based on personal experience supporting 2-3 Xerox printers in a several-hundred-person company. I also think that the advantages should be separated out into a section as I've done with the disadvantages; I have a few I can add in myself (for example, the ink is a dream to handle compared to toner...) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:41, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

I kind of disagree with the bit about anti-competitiveness. Without any kind of proof I'd give xerox the benefit of the doubt. There may be variations in the ink to help either reduce the heat, or raise it tailoring the ink to the type of machine.

I would also like to point out that this article looks extremely negative from an outside perspective listing only disadvantages like that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:36, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

I represent Xerox and wanted to share some third-party reviews of solid ink technology for your consideration: • Small Business Computing: • IT World: • Government Computer News: • Computer Shopper: Solid ink technology does have several benefits some of which are cited in these reviews.Lorraine67 21:51, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

This article seems to be more of an advertisement - particular uses of words such as 'vibrant, lively color', 'intelligent architecture' and so forth. It also talks of Xerox's continued heavy investment into the product, which is not the supposed main object of this article. Nox13last 13:53, 29 October 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nox13last (talkcontribs)

I disagree, except for "intelligent architecture", that's what Frank Llyod Wright does (did), right? I was just reading the advantages section and the "vibrant, lively color" simply does not go far enough to explain to reader to stunningly great output. This printer, and the ALPS printer produce the very best prints I have ever seen. Other printers are quite good, but the 8400-8500 and the ALPS are far and away the superlative best for small format color prints. And then I read your comment. I think we need to do more to help someone who has not used one to appreciate this printer as THE gold standard by which all others should be judged. I have no financial or personal interest in Xerox or ALPS. Ace Frahm (talk) 13:35, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

In reading the reference to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, the reference states, "Finally, the Act does not apply to warranties on products sold for resale or for commercial purposes. ". Most buyers or these solid ink printers are companies not individual consumers so, the reference to this act maybe misleading. Either the reference should be removed or a corresponding legislation regarding businesses warranties should be added. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Harryfordford (talkcontribs) 23:37, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Citation requested for the "catching fire" statement in the list of disadvantages[edit]

I'll begin by fully disclosing that I'm a Xerox engineer, formerly Tektronix, and for 20 years I have been directly involved in the design and development of solid ink printers. For that reason, I will not make any edits to this article directly, to avoid the appearance of bias.

With that information clearly stated, I'd like to request that the statement that solid ink printers "catch fire" in recent years be given a direct citation, or that the statement be removed. It is not factually accurate to my knowledge, and sounds like the FUD that we have heard our competitors telling potential customers. The operating temperature of the printhead is just above the boiling point of water, and is below the ignition point of paper, wood, and plastic and most common flammable chemicals, and is actually significantly cooler than the operating temperature of the fuser in a laser printer. Beyond the active temperature control systems in the printhead, there are also thermal fuses in the printhead heater, that would de-energize the head heaters in any temperature excursion incident.

It is possible that an electronic short or internal electronic component failure could cause a circuit board or other electrically powered assembly to overheat and produce smoke or a smell, but this is the same risk of any electronic equipment that has a large enough power source, and such failures are very uncommon in modern electronics and do not pose a fire hazard.

The statement regarding printers catching fire makes the implication the solid ink printhead poses a unique fire hazard, and is factually incorrect.

I would be appreciative if an impartial editor could investigate this matter and either add a citation, or remove the statement. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kevindraz (talkcontribs) 07:49, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

I am a Computer Engieer working for a company called HyperLight Research based in Canada. Our firm owns two solid in printers and have been quite impressed with them - we are up to almost 100,000 pages at this point. Needless to say, we "mod" them incessantly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hyperlight (talkcontribs) 02:34, February 21, 2009

Packaging Volume Comparison Suggestion[edit]

The section that describes the packaging waste compares the volume of the ink sticks to the volume of the uncrushed packaging material, and comes up with a ridiculous ratio approacing 1:4. Wouldn't it be more fair to considere a ratio that more closely approximates fluid displacement? The ink blocks are irreducible solids - we should compare the packaging after it is made irreducible, too, n'est-ce pas?

-Maverick Solutions (talk) 18:41, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Correction Made[edit]

No arguments heard. Correction made.

-Maverick Solutions (talk) 15:39, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Solid ink block and maintenance roller compatibility[edit]


i just want to know if the Stix are not compatibile, because they've an other shape or also got a different pigment / dye particle size? Maybe that should be added to the Article.

I personally have used generic toner and generic rollers with my Xerox model solid ink printer and can say the quality is the same. The shape is different and the ink is a bit off color in solid form but it works. However, do not go back to using non generic ink. The change in chemistry causes an oil film to develop on the imaging drum which in turn causes the xerox brand ink to stick and smear print job to print job. I have seen this issue happen twice in the 1 year span of time on one model of printer I am using.

I have noticed the generic solid ink tends to leave more drippings in the waste tray and uses up your maintenance roller faster than the xerox brand. I imagine a serious cost analysis would prove buying Name brand is cheaper in the long run. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:24, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

I personally have used generic toner with my Xerox model solid ink printer and can say the quality is NOWHERE NEAR the same. The shape is slightly different and the ink is a bit off color in solid form but it works, more or less. The printout colour balance is not identical and blocked printhead jets are much more common. Also I have switched back to Xerox ink for a brief period of time and saw no problems whatsoever. I very much doubt the correctness of the statement "the change in chemistry causes an oil film to develop on the imaging drum which in turn causes the xerox brand ink to stick and smear print job to print job". Without a citation I think it is worthless. In fact the purpose of the roller in the maintenance kit is to put an oil film on the imaging drum. The oil does not come from the ink. (talk) 00:38, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Cleaning page image removal[edit]

In the interest of disclosure I'm also a Xerox employee who works with Solid Ink, therefore I will not make any edits to the article page. I think the inclusion of a messed up print in the article about Solid Ink is of questionable value to the topic. It doesn't seem to represent the NPOV of this site. I looked at the toner article and I didn't see any horror prints posted there. Could this image by removed or at least have a description which makes it relevant to the topic?--Bobarino (talk) 16:26, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree. The rest of this article has been kept very neutral, with overly-positive text removed. It's only fair that something so blatantly negative receive the same treatment. I've used and maintained solid ink printers for years, starting with a Tektronix model well over a decade ago, and I've seen my share of poor prints, but never seen anything remotely close to the image in question. The caption of the image, however, makes it seem like this kind of thing is a more normal occurrence. It is also impossible to verify that this image is not manipulated, or that the output was solely the work of a malfunctioning solid-ink printer, without alteration. Unless we're going to include examples of worst case scenarios from broken machines in every print technology's article, then there's shouldn't be one here, as solid ink machines are not particularly prone to demonstrate this kind of behavior. I, not being an employee of Xerox, have removed the image. Macserv (talk) 19:09, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Moving of printers ... and earthquakes?[edit]

So if you have to go through special procedures to move a printer that has been operating, how do these handle an earthquake?

It would appear that a quake with enough force to cause significant shaking could cause head-to-drum slap in an operating printer that seriously damages the hardware. DMahalko (talk) 05:56, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Moving the printer is like moving a 7/10's full cup of water. You can move from the kitchen to your couch with said cup of water without issue. What xerox is warning is if you shake or tilt the printer to much, your going to spill the liquid wax toner. This in turn would damage the print head and other nearby components. The special procedure is nothing more than turning off the printer and waiting 10 minutes for it to cool. I work in I.T. The company I work for uses a solid ink printer for color print jobs. My 40+ users have had it for over 1 year with no jams, zero ink spills, and less cost than our plastic toner based laser printers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:13, 9 December 2009 (UTC)


Since the ink is like melted crayon on the page material it much more susceptible to being scraped off. The ink does not melt into paper as that would cause bleed and color issues. If printing on a non porous material such as sticker then this affect is even more pronounced.

Not sure if I put this in here correctly. This should be added as a disadvantage. Most people are not aware of this unless they have a printer and use it. We have a separate toner based printer for doing stickers or anything that will take abuse. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:55, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

Some possible additions[edit]

I haven't edited the article directly because this information is based on personal experience using a Phaser III in business the 1980s and I have no idea where to find corroboratory material. Anyone?


When overhead transparencies were the commonest method of giving presentations solid-ink printers were a good solution for printing high-quality foils quickly and cheaply.

  • Versus ink-jet technologies: no need to wait for the ink to dry, no need for special media, and no risk of smearing if the media suffered water spills
  • Versus color laser printers: cheaper and better colours on projection
  • Versus thermal printers: colour and quality


It was almost impossible to photocopy multiple pages automatically, apparently because the ink warmed up and became slightly sticky, preventing the automatic document feed of the photocopier from ejecting the paper.

Advantage (for the manufacturer)[edit]

(I was told this by a service engineer) In order to make it more difficult for third-part suppliers to undercut the pricing of the ink blocks, the printer manufacturer copyrighted their specific shapes.

Machiajelly (talk) 12:27, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Sorensen, Karen (24 November 1986). "Howtrek Ships Scanners With Color Capabilities". InfoWorld. 
  2. ^ Sorenson, Karen (12 May 1986). "Pixelmaster Seen as Boost To Color Use". InfoWorld. 
  3. ^ Poor, Alfred (14 November 1989). "Howtek Pixelmaster". PC Magazine. 
  4. ^ Howtek Inc., Assignee. "Patents by Assignee Howtek, Inc.". Justia Patents.