Electrophotography, or EP, is the oldest of the non-impact printing technologies, having been invented in the mid 1930’s by Chester Carlson. EP is also often referred to as Xerography (meaning dry writing) and/or laser printing. Technically the term “laser” refers to the specific light exposure technology used in the process, but more often than not, the term laser printer is generically used to describe any electrophotographic printing system (such as an LED printer), regardless of its exposure technology.

Electrophotography is not only the oldest, but also the most complex digital printing technology, consisting of two critical materials (the toner and the photoconductor/photoreceptor) and seven process steps (charge, expose, development, transfer, fuse, clean and erase).

The principal advantages of Electrophotography, or EP, over other non-impact printing or digital printing technologies are:

  • Excellent print quality for text, graphics, and pictorials
  • Large speed range – products from 4 PPM to 1,000 PPM

The technologies and technical disciplines utilized in the development of an EP system include: Mechanical Engineering (Mechanism Design, Machine Design, Paper Handling Design, Fusing System Design, Heat Transfer), Electrical Engineering (Digital Hardware Design, Analog Design), Firmware Development, Software Engineering, Physics (Electrostatics), Material Science, and Paper Handling.

The process of creating the toner image on the surface of the photoreceptor is referred to as the toner development process. While each of the seven steps of the EP process is critical to the proper function of the system as a whole, the most critical area is  toner development. Proper development of the latent electrostatic image on the surface of the photoconductor requires the careful integration of materials, electrostatics, mechanics, and electronics.

View an extended description of the EP process and how it works.

XACTIV is the leading independent technical authority in electrophotographic printing technology and the development of electrophotographic printing system products and sub-systems. Moreover, XACTIV has successfully extended the technologies associated with Electrophotography to other industries requiring controlled precision material deposition of dry powders and liquids enabling exciting new product functionality in our client’s products.