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KYOCERA Sets New World Record for Durability in A4 Printing Equipment's Photoreceptor Drum

New KYOCERA Mega Surface Series a-Si drum uses proprietary thin-film technology; Projected lifespan of one million prints more than triples prior A4 record

September 14, 2011

Kyocera Corporation (President: Tetsuo Kuba) today announced the availability of its KYOCERA Mega Surface Series amorphous silicon (a-Si) photoreceptor drum, which offers record durability as a core component in electrophotographic printing equipment — including laser printers and multifunctional products (MFPs). The A4-sized a-Si drum is now available for shipment to equipment manufacturers worldwide.

The new product represents an industry first*1 in successfully employing a hard amorphous carbon (a-C) thin-film to form the drum's surface-protecting outer layer. In Kyocera's own testing, this development makes it possible for a single A4 drum to print approximately one million sheets — more than triple the life of Kyocera's conventional A4 a-Si photoreceptor drum, which was already the industry's most durable, with a lifespan estimated by Kyocera to be approximately 300,000 A4-sized sheets*2.

Additionally, Kyocera's rigorous internal testing is designed to yield conservative durability estimates. Third-party testing of Kyocera's A3-sized imaging equipment has demonstrated 2.5-million-page durability with no drum replacement*3. The new series represents the first a-Si drum in the A4 class to demonstrate million-print durability using Kyocera's own extreme test parameters.


Photo: KYOCERA Mega Surface Series ultra-high durability a-Si photoreceptor drum
KYOCERA Mega Surface Series ultra-high durability a-Si photoreceptor drum


Product name

KYOCERA Mega Surface Series ultra-high durability a-Si photoreceptor drum

Size

Diameter: 30mm; length: 250mm (A4); other sizes available in the future

Production facility

Shiga Yohkaichi Plant (Japan)

Launch date

September 5, 2011



Electrophotographic printing involves transferring toner (powdered ink) from a photoreceptor drum onto paper. Over time, friction created by the paper eventually wears away the drum's photoconductive surface, necessitating periodic replacement of this component. Since drum wear increases in proportion to printing speed and volume, a more durable, longer-lasting drum can offer compelling benefits.

With the new series, by evenly forming a hard amorphous carbon (a-C) thin-film on the surface of the drum using Kyocera's proprietary thin-film formation technology, the company has succeeded in increasing drum hardness five-fold compared to its conventional products*4. The improved wear resistance has enabled Kyocera to more than triple the current industry record for A4 print drum durability, from approximately 300,000 to one million sheets of A4-sized paper. This enhanced durability can significantly reduce the frequency of drum replacement, thereby minimizing waste, environmental impact and the user's “total cost of ownership.”

Kyocera will continually improve the performance of its a-Si photoreceptor technology to meet customer demand for higher-resolution printers that are smaller, faster, more durable and more power-efficient. The thin-film technology in the KYOCERA Mega Surface Series may be applied to the company's entire line of photoreceptor drums in the future, including negatively charged drums and large-dimension units with greater length and/or diameter. Further, the company plans to expand this technology from office document equipment to commercial printing applications that require high-speed, high-resolution printing.

Development Background

The photoreceptor drum is sometimes regarded as a consumable component within electrophotographic printing equipment. However, since the debut of Kyocera's first a-Si-coated components in its own printers in 1984, the company has used its proprietary technology to continuously develop the photoreceptor drum into a durable device with a lifespan equivalent to the mechanical life of the printer itself.

As expectations for printing equipment continue to rise, demand has grown for electrophotographic printers that offer higher print speeds, higher-resolution printing, lower power consumption and more eco-friendly design. Meeting these demands will require photoreceptor drums that offer longer life and higher performance. Kyocera has developed the KYOCERA Mega Surface Series to be faster, stronger, more eco-friendly and more compact than conventional photoreceptor drums, while nonetheless offering sharper, more beautiful printing.

The amorphous carbon (a-C) thin-film employed as a surface-protecting layer in the new series provides hardness and durability that were impossible to achieve previously due to the difficulty of forming thin-film coatings evenly on the surface of a drum. Kyocera has become the first in the industry to achieve an even formation of a-C thin-film on the drum's surface using its proprietary DC discharge technology.

Features

1. Unprecedented durability: Longest life of any commercial A4 photoreceptor drum
By employing hard and durable a-C thin-film for the surface-protecting layer, Kyocera has more than tripled the industry's longest estimated A4 drum life of 300,000 sheets — a standard previously achieved by Kyocera's conventional a-Si product — to achieve a lifespan of approximately 1 million sheets.

2. Lower power consumption: No heater required
Humidity reduces print quality in many types of imaging equipment. To prevent this, a drum heater is often installed to warm the unit's photoreceptor drum. However, Kyocera's a-Si photoreceptor drum provides high-quality printing even in humid conditions by optimizing the thin-film composition of the drum's surface-protecting layer — eliminating the need for a heater, and reducing power consumption.

*1 Industry's first commercial application of amorphous carbon (a-C) thin-film (as of August 9, 2011; based on Kyocera's research).
*2 When the longitudinal feed of A4-sized paper is used for the heaterless a-Si photoreceptor drum with diameter of 30mm in electrophotographic printing (as of August 9, 2011; based on Kyocera's research). Variables affecting durability include paper characteristics, printing environment and print patterns.
*3 Buyers Laboratory Inc. certification, September 2007 (based on A3-sized paper test; drum diameter: 84mm)
*4 When compared to Kyocera's heaterless a-Si photoreceptor drum.