Xerox trumpets colour savings

Xerox trumpets colour savings

Vendor claims breakthrough will cut printing costs

Xerox has claimed it has developed a way to print colour for the same price as black and white, following five years of research and development (R&D).

Based on Xerox’s solid ink technology, the vendor has developed new crayon-like ink sticks that will last longer than the original ones. By increasing the total number of colour pages the ink sticks produce, Xerox said it has drastically reduced the price of colour printing.

Darren Cassidy, director and general manager of Xerox UK’s office group, said: “Our customers told us that they need high-quality colour printing to support their business, but price was a barrier.

“By focusing our research on solid ink, price is no longer a barrier as Xerox colour printing is now as inexpensive as black and white, and at a much lower total cost than comparable printers from other firms.”

According to Cassidy, it will enable resellers to revisit customers that had originally said no to colour because of the cost.

The new solid ink blocks are currently only compatible with Xerox’s Phaser 8860 printer, but in time the vendor hopes to roll out the technology across more of its hardware.

Cassidy said that the new ink sticks were already being tested on “some of Xerox’s larger printers”.

“Other vendors are trying to push a message of low-cost colour, but no one has achieved the same price as black and white yet,” he said.

“It does very much challenge the idea of a separate black and white market and a separate colour market so it will force both us and our channel partners to look at the blurring of boundaries between colour and black and white customers.”

Graham Lowes, strategic planning and product marketing director, at rival vendor Oki Printing Solutions, said: “While the Xerox announcement is eye catching, the concept of offering higher equipment pricing based on a lower running cost is not new and Oki Printing Solutions has already launched a similar product strategy with its Executive Series product range of printer and multifunctional products targeted at business colour users.”

Chas Maloney, Ricoh UK’s marketing director, said: “Prices in colour have been dropping consistently year on year for some time, but the quality of the service and support that goes with the hardware is equally important. It will be interesting to see how the Xerox cost model works in comparison with the fixed cost per page/consumables model.”

James Kight, managing director of VAR Printerland, said it would open up a lot of new avenues for resellers.

Asked if it might mean lower margin for VARs, Kight said: “It should not mean less revenue for us because it should enable us to encourage more people to print colour documents in-house rather than outsourcing to agencies.”

Jason Harcourt, research analyst at Context, agreed.

“If resellers can demonstrate significant cost savings on printing colour items in-house, then customers should sit up and take notice of that,” he said.

“Xerox’s solid ink technology has been around for at least 15 years, but the merits and capabilities of it have never been fully utilised. This new cost angle should help grow the technology.”