Minimizing Printer Vibrations & Manufacturing Costs

Xerox’s ColorQube 9200 Series is a new range of highly innovative, multifunction printers capable of cutting printing costs and reducing waste thanks to its use of solid ink technology. While the latest model was under development, Xerox wanted to understand how normal daily disturbances such as printer door slamming, general jostling and even the printer’s operation could throw off alignment and cause print defects. With so many components working at once, the choreography must be precisely aligned and tuned, with vibrations minimized to the micron level.

Xerox collaborated with Altair ProductDesign to better understand the printer’s structural architecture and contributors to unwanted vibration. Firstly, Xerox conducted a series of physical tests on a prototype printer’s sub-systems using accelerometers at critical locations where vibrations were likely to be most severe. To drive the design process and enable rapid exploration of numerous design variables, Altair ProductDesign then used the test data to develop a high-fidelity analytical model of the printer, which included over 100 individual components.

The virtual simulation models were created with Altair’s own HyperWorks simulation suite and used to generate, optimize and test a total of 12 different design variations, each focused on reducing vibrations throughout the printer’s operation. The excitation curves at the critical points of the virtual model of ColorQube 9200 corresponding to shipping and everyday use, matched well with the test data providing a reliable analytical model.

Altair ProductDesign’s simulation results were instrumental in enabling Xerox to reduce cost from the product. The original design incorporated bushings to dampen vibrations but the analysis found that these had very little effect and were not needed. The simulation driven approach avoided the need for multiple physical tests and took months off the program, bringing forward the time-to-market while quickly identifying a final design which minimized overall vibrations and impact to print quality.

“Throughout the simulation testing, the most important success factor was collaboration. Altair’s work was crisply executed and data driven, and it never lost sight of the objective.”
John Wright - Senior Systems Analyst, Xerox

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