DIGITAL digest 9-01
FutureColor employs an imaging process that has a single transfer point for all four toners, which are accumulated on a belt before being applied to the paper. This design, combined with a proprietary fusing process, is said to decrease the amount of toner used, thereby reducing costs and improving quality. The device's cost per page is expected to be in the 5¢ range. As for the press itself, Xerox says it should sell for $500,000 or less.
The base press configuration of the modular FutureColor system will include two feeders and two stackers, but those numbers can be increased to six and nine, respectively. Each feeder has two drawers that can hold coated or uncoated stocks in weights from 60 to 270 gsm.
Two front ends will be offered to drive the press. One option will be the CSX RIP (CreoScitex Spire), which is currently offered with the DocuColor 2000 Series. As an alternative, the DocuSP (Document Services Platform) controller that was developed to drive Xerox's monochrome systems is being upgraded to handle process color. The enhancements to DocuSP reflect the company's broader emphasis on integrating the capabilities of its black-and-white and color product lines.
Since FutureColor has yet to enter beta testing, Xerox instead showcased its production concept and current equipment in action through a visit to Mercury Print Productions in Rochester.
Along with its success and mix of services, the company is notable for having been founded by a woman, Valerie Mannix, in the late 1960s. Today, Mannix is CEO of a company with $23 million in sales.
Mercury operates a full array of Xerox equipment, including two DocuColor 2060s, two DocuTech 135s, and one each of the DocuColor 100 and 12. It also has a variety of six-, five- and two-color sheetfed offset presses. President John Place says he anticipates trading in one of the DocuColor 2060s for a FutureColor press in the near future.