Office printing is divided into two main technologies: laser, in which we include LED, and inkjet. There is a third system, though, known as solid ink printing, which should perhaps be added to the inkjet category as a variant. Solid ink is a bit of a misnomer, as the ink is melted before being squirted onto the paper; it’s more like 'hot inkjet'.
The technology was pioneered by Tektronix, but the company was bought be Xerox 10 or more years ago. Xerox has continued to develop solid ink and markets a range of printers using the technology, in parallel with its laser printers. The ColorQube 8570ADN is at the lower end of the range, but is still intended as a high-speed workgroup printer, with plenty of expansion potential.
This is a big machine, all decked out in white with a deep blue control panel as a highlight. It has an unusual shape, with its top surface forming two small ‘waves’. Paper feeds out from the rear of the front wave and comes to rest on top of the one behind.
The control panel has a layout similar to those on Xerox’s laser printers, so there’ll be minimal relearning required, if you already have the company’s page printers in the office. It has a five-line, bitmapped and backlit LCD display, with six buttons for menu navigation and job control.
At the front, the main paper tray can take up to 525 sheets of paper. A pull-down, multi-purpose tray offers a further 100 sheets and you can add up to three more 500-sheet trays as options. Fully expanded, this machine can feed up to 2,125 sheets.
At the back are sockets for USB and gigabit Ethernet networking and these sit behind a pull-off cover, which also hides the mains power socket and smart switch, which doesn’t allow a switch off without a proper shutdown cycle.
The printer uses solid blocks of ink, one for each of the four primary colours, and you drop these into slides, beneath a hinged top cover. Each block is shaped to fit only the hole at the top of the correct slider, like those baby toys for posting blocks into a tub.
The block at the front of each line is heated inside the printer, melting the ink at around 100°C. Xerox recommends leaving the printer on overnight, but if it’s turned off, it’ll take a few minutes to warm up at the beginning of each day, before you start printing.
Drivers are provided for Windows and OSX and offer genuine Adobe PostScript L3 and PCL5 in emulation.