New Xerox printer slaps images directly on objects

On Aug. 31, 2016, Norwalk, Conn.-based Xerox formally unveiled its Direct to Object Inkjet Printer that prints on objects as small as bottle caps and as large as football helmets. Xerox demonstrated the system earlier this year at the Drupa print industry trade show in Germany. Photo: Xerox
  • On Aug. 31, 2016, Norwalk, Conn.-based Xerox formally unveiled its Direct to Object Inkjet Printer that prints on objects as small as bottle caps and as large as football helmets. Xerox demonstrated the system earlier this year at the Drupa print industry trade show in Germany.

Photo: Xerox

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On Aug. 31, 2016, Norwalk, Conn.-based Xerox formally unveiled its Direct to Object Inkjet Printer that prints on objects as small as bottle caps and as large as football helmets. Xerox demonstrated the system earlier this year at the Drupa print industry trade show in Germany. less
On Aug. 31, 2016, Norwalk, Conn.-based Xerox formally unveiled its Direct to Object Inkjet Printer that prints on objects as small as bottle caps and as large as football helmets. Xerox demonstrated the system … more
Photo: Xerox

New Xerox printer slaps images directly on objects

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Xerox formally unveiled its new “direct to object” printer that allows for objects to be personalized with individual images, after showcasing the expensive system earlier this year at the Drupa trade show in Germany.

Xerox (NYSE: XRX) is based in Norwalk and has its main printing development center in Webster, N.Y. The company is in the process of splitting off its business-process outsourcing operations as a publicly traded corporation called Conduent, while maintaining the Xerox name for its print and copier business.

With 3D printing having captured the public imagination the past few years with newfangled machines that can produce physical objects from digital files, Xerox is taking back the term “printing” in relation to 3D with an eye on producing imagery on physical items, whether they be water bottles, sports helmets or even objects as small as bottle caps. Other companies producing devices for similar purposes include Mimaki and Roland DG, both based in Japan, and Resolute DTG in the United Kingdom.

As described by Xerox, the Direct to Object Inkjet Printer directs microscopic nozzles — half the width of a human hair — to accurately spray ink at distances of a quarter of an inch, allowing images to be printed on surfaces both smooth and uneven of varying materials from cloth to ceramics, at print resolutions as high as 1,200 dots per inch.

For the time being, the printer will not be lining in the typical home office alongside the paper-based inkjet or laser printer — pricing starts at $145,000, with a United Kingdom-based printer purchasing the company’s prototype machine demonstrated at Drupa. Xerox is marketing the system not just to commercial printers but also retailers, entertainment venues and manufacturers that might have a ready market for personalized objects.

“This innovation opens up a path for creating customized products instantly at a time when the consumer’s appetite is all about personalization,” said Brendan Casey, vice president of Xerox Engineering Services, in a written statement. “Imagine a sports fan coming home from a game with a helmet or ball that was personalized right at the stadium, or a retailer offering on-demand personalization on hundreds of different store items.”

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-964-2236; www.twitter.com/casoulman

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