Xerox® Emulsion Aggregation (EA) Toner White Paper

Background Information

Technology advances sometimes come in unexpected places. To most of us, the black powder we have been adding to copiers and printers for the last sixty years doesn’t seem to have changed very much. It certainly looks the same. But looks can be deceiving. As a result of sixty years of research and thousands of patents, today’s toners flow better, store better, fuse better, and develop more efficiently, resulting in cleaner, better looking prints. But under the surface, other technological advances in toner design have also enabled better, less expensive, and safer photoreceptor and fuser materials not to mention faster and cleaner operating machines. The newest advancement in toner technology is EA Toner.

What is EA Toner?

EA Toner is chemical toner prepared by Emulsion Aggregation, or a chemical process used to “grow” very small, uniform particle sizes from even smaller (sub-micron) size toner components. The EA process can deliver the desired size and narrow particle size distribution required for excellent color image quality. This small size and the relative uniformity of all the particles in a particular “batch” of EA Toner is more predictable than the conventional mechanical process of pulverizing extruded plastic for toner. It is also less energy intensive. Emulsion refers to the synthetic chemical process to form latex toner resin and aggregation means to bring the toner ingredient’s particles together to form the desired particle size and spherical shape.

How is it different from other toners?

The conventional toner manufacturing process, consists of starting with just the right plastic, melt mixing in pigment and special ingredients, and pulverizing the resulting block of composite plastic to a fine powder. Finally, the powder still has to be processed to remove oversized chunks and ultra fine particles. This multistep process results in non-uniform angular particles with a somewhat wide size and shape distribution. As amazing as the resulting toners were, to step up to the challenges that each new generation of xerography required, the manufacturing process still limited engineers in creating toner with all the capabilities they wanted.

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