Memjet printer details

This article has pictures and video of Memjet prototypes.

Something that will be interesting to watch is a potential shakeup of the $100+ billion printer (photo printer) and copying markets. This is a new physical manufacturing (of printed pages) process with large disruptive potential. It will be instructive as a small preview of what the impact of molecular manufacturing and a nanofactory might look like. Memjet could also be the basis for disruptions in 3D printing and rapid manufacturing and rapid prototyping.

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See a lot more video at the companies website

They plan to release products in the first half of 2008.

What Memjet does is hard to believe:

It prints letter-size output at 60 ppm—that’s one page per second—with a 1,600- by 1,600-dot-per-inch (dpi) printer that Silverbrook says will be available in 2008 for maybe $200 to $300. Not only that, but the projected cost per page is less than 2 cents for a monochrome page and less than 6 cents for a color page

The printheads are a major piece of Memjet technology, spanning the printer’s page width so they can print across the entire width at once.

They consist of an array of individual microchip segments, with 6,400 nozzles in each 20mm-long chip, and as many chips as needed for the width of the particular printer. That means there are fewer chips in a dedicated photo printer, for example, than in a letter-size printer.

The second piece is a driver chip that, in the case of the letter-size model, drives 70,400 nozzles and calculates the firing of 900 million drops per second, according to Silverbrook. The remaining two pieces of the puzzle are ink that’s designed to work with the printer and software that makes it easy to create drivers for the particular printer model.

If you’re familiar with HP’s Edgeline technology, you’ll notice a similarity in concept, with a printhead that spans the width of the page, and also a similarity in some of the key numbers. HP’s approach, however, is very different in detail, and far more expensive. The HP CM8060 Color MFP, introduced in early April, for example, claims a peak speed of 70 to 71 ppm, and an average speed of 60 ppm for monochrome and 50 ppm for color, with a base configuration price—if you were to buy it outright—of well over $23,530

More information at Texyt on why this is not a hoax

PC magazine discusses the Memjet technology roadmap

Memjet technologies plans to increase its output sixfold in two to three years, to a theoretical output of 360 pages per minute from an ordinary printer. Memjet also has set its sights on the commercial printer market, hoping to change newspaper and magazine printing. Future plans include a commercial printer capable of an unheard-of 64,000 pages per minute.

Silverbrook (research company for which Memjet Technologies sells) was founded by Kia Silverbrook, who has spent a decade perfecting the technology. The U.S. Patent Office has approved 1,452 patents with Silverbrook’s name on them, more than Thomas Edison. The third most recent? A patent for placing a printer in a cellular phone – which Silverbrook has demonstrated a working model of as well, said Bill McGlynn, the chief executive of Memjet’s home and office business.

The Memjet technology depends on something else: the rate at which the ink can be squirted through the micronozzles.

And Memjet executives said they’re already thinking about the future. “This is not a one-trick pony,” McGlynn said.

The Memjet heads cycle at 20 KHz, enough to produce the 60 pages per minute on the A4 printer. “But that’s not that fast,” McGlynn said.

Other inkjets cycle at 24 KHz. Memjet’s plan is to develop a 120-KHz cycle head in two to three years, increasing the print speed sixfold to 180 pages per minute at photo quality, 360 pages per minute at normal color quality, and 720 pages per minute in draft mode.

Another thing the company could do is add more rows of nozzles. Already, the company uses 10: two each for the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) inks, plus an additional back-ink nozzle. There’s no reason why a customer couldn’t “stack” the nozzles in four or five series of rows, placing more rows of inks on the paper and speeding up the process even further. One of Memjet’s customers are talking about placing heads on the front and back, doubling the Memjet effective output by printing in duplex mode, Beswick said. Another is considering a black-and white office printer, she added.

6 thoughts on “Memjet printer details”

  1. I think the big developing nations. China, India, Brazil will have the economic incentive to adopt the best new tech to develop cleanly. They do not want to live in polluted cities either. China has polluted cities now by taking shortcuts. They have rolled out aggressive plans to clean it up. I think they will have made some dent on the messiest bits by the 2008 Olympics.
    India is working on hybrid cars.

    as is Cherry automobile and others in China

  2. In any energy plan, conservation should be the first piroirty, as the cleanest and safest energy is that which you don’t use. I guess that goes into the “reduce emissions” statements.

    As a long-time engineer in the electric power industry, one thing I’ve noticed is that neither pundits nor the public have much good information on how electricity is generated in bulk. It’s hard to do. My own area of expertise is nuclear power, which is much different than what either its opponents or fans portray. Atomic power is a weird mix of technolgy, politics and sociology. To provide a rare (and entertaining) inside look at nuclear energy, I’ve written a novel on the topic. It is available to readers free at http://RadDecision.blogspot.com – and they seem to like it, judging from their comments at the homepage. It’s also been endorsed by Stewart Brand, the noted futurist, internet pioneer and founder of The Whole Earth Catalog.

  3. Sounds like we have some plans to reduce emissions. That’s great. What worries me is all of the developing nations who won’t have the infrastructure or the economic incentive to push to environmentally friendly emission standards. You can stay healthy by not smoking, but if your surrounded by smokers all day, you can die from cancer nonetheless.

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