The TDSIT Blog

3D Printing – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 @ 01:02 PM

3d printing 

3D printing has become a popular topic recently in the news and online and many business owners may not be aware of the exciting possibilities of this technology. The truth is, 3D printing technology has been around since 1984 but it was not made commercially available until early 2010. Today, 3D technology’s price point has dropped to the point that it is now within reach of many small to medium sized businesses.

What is 3D Printing?

Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is a process that allows a special printer controlled by a computer to create any three-dimensional object from a digital rendering. This is done using a process where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes.

3D printer output is varied. Generally foam or plastics are used, but paper and even sheet metal can be used and the results can be pretty impressive. Typically, the process is used for prototyping and distributed manufacturing. Some of the more popular applications are found in the architecture, automotive, aerospace, military and engineering industries. 3D printing has also found a home in the medical and biotech industries as a means of developing and prototyping medical devices.

As further proof that 3D printing has arrived, 3D Systems Corp. a leader in the space agreed last year to acquire a portion of Xerox’s R&D division in Wilsonville Oregon. 3D Systems paid Xerox $32.5 million dollars in cash and the deal allows them to work directly out of the Xerox Hub.

The Dark Side of 3D Printing

While many people can see the benefits to society, some claim there is a dark side to 3D printing. The machines use heat or lasers to melt the plastic used when rendering and can use 50 to 100 times more electricity than the injection molding process. If the medium is metal, the energy used is hundreds of times greater than traditional casting.  Along with increased energy use, there are potential health, legal and even ethical problems that need to be addressed before the industry can grow and mature.

As with any new technology, it’s easy to get swept up in the positive side of 3D printing. It opens a new world of possibilities for all industries but the potential societal, political, economic and environmental impacts need to be studied and addressed. 

To find out how much your business spends on print, click here for your free print assessment: 

Print Assessment

Tags: xerox, 2014 trends, 3D Printing

Top 5 Insider Tips for Acquiring Office Equipment

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 @ 08:51 AM

Top 5 Insider Tips for Acquiring Office Equipment

Today's challenging new economy is pushing us to make smarter decisions, to think longer-term, be more efficient—and to be more frugal. This goes doubly so when purchasing office equipment; buyers need to duck, dive and be creative—while not falling into money traps set by vendors that ensnare you into more expensive contracts with upfront discounts, special offers and bundles. And buyers have to do all this while ensuring they get the best tools and technology to empower their users. 

Industry insiders and procurement veterans know that office equipment purchasing comes in cycles of 5 to 7 years. Over the course of that time span the technology advances and past decisions are reviewed for effectiveness. The most important changes and advances to the office equipment purchasing cycle are:

Hardware and Technological Advances: Office equipment hasn't escaped the technological growth curve. Like other technologies it has advanced in features and functionalities, grown in processing power and added a plethora of new services.

Changes in Contracts: Nothing hurts vendors likes a bad economy, so to remain competitive vendors/service providers are forced to offer customer-attracting deep discounts. Problem is these losses need to be recouped somewhere in order for the companies to stay out of the red, and the most common place to recoup the loss is in contracts. By changing their terms and conditions vendors are able to rework their service contracts and agreements to make up for losses from upfront discounts and special offers. what?

Most companies understand the above, but how do you sort through the vendor mumbo jumbo and get a good deal on equipment that will keep your company on the cutting edge? We were wondering too—so we asked the experts (those industry insiders and procurement veterans). Our talks with the pros each yielded the same result, that you need to ask the right questions. And before you ask us “and what are the right questions” they are:

1. Will you use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or aftermarket parts--for the life of the contract--to service the equipment?

    This question's motive is self-evident—will the service provider use genuine parts, which can be 30-40% more expensive than aftermarket parts. Using aftermarket parts however can negatively impact warranties/guarantees though, which can cost you more in the long run.

    2. Who determines when equipment is replaced? Who determines when equipment is replaced?

      You can imagine what a monumental difference it is who decides when to replacement a faulty piece of equipment. So ask. Additionally, ask if the warranty/product guarantee is included in the actual Terms and Conditions of the contract.

      3. What security safeguards are offered?

        Security is a hot button these days, and not even your office equipment is safe from security concerns. Ask questions that will help you determine whether this potential new office equipment purchase will conflict with your company's current network security protocols. Also, inquire as to whether single-component or full-system security is offered and analyze what your system's security portfolio will be when complete.

        4. How will your company's sensitive data be handled?

          New office equipment rollouts and on-going security aren't the only concerns when switching over to new office equipment, you also need to concern yourself with how hard drives are swapped in and out, how those hard drives are disposed of and who has access to this information in the interim. Will you, the supplier or a third party handle the removal/swapping/destruction of your company's sensitive data?

          5. Are there any hidden fees?

            While that exact phrasing won't get you anywhere, asking important hidden-fee related questions is the only way to get a good deal and to safeguard yourself against evil fees and/or surcharges. Discussing any and all fees within a contract and keeping your eyes open for all potential cost bombs is important. Pay special attention to these costs, most of which go unnoticed:

            • Charges for two 8.5” x 11” impressions for a single 11” x 17” copy or print.
            • Incurred shipping charges for the delivery of toner to your office.
            • If Property Tax applies who pays?

            The above expert-derived tips should be taken into consideration before each and every new office equipment purchase. For a more thorough equipment-buying experience, download our 2012 Office Equipment Buyer Checklist, or watch our exclusive Buyer Tip video series. Do both if you're serious about getting the best deal and the most cutting-edge technology. 

            Buyers Checklist Download2

            Tags: Fayetville AR, Arkansas, purchasing office equipment, how to buy office equipment, tips for buying office equipment, security, xerox, hidden fees, TDSIT

            Take the TDS Challenge: Demo the Latest Digital Press Technology

            Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, Jun 13, 2012 @ 11:17 AM

            Take the TDS CLEAR Challenge Today

            We are so confident that we can print better than our competitors that we're offering you a $25.00 Best Buy gift card if we can't out print you. For the month of June we've decided to put our money where our mouth is and are offering all our potential clients out there the TDS CLEAR Challenge.

            To participate simply bring us your digital files and we'll print them for you on our Xerox 1000 Digital Color Press; then you can compare the quality of our printing to your own or your current vendor's. If the TDS print quality is not CLEARly better than yours—we'll give you a $25.00 Best Buy gift card for your trouble.

            The Confidence-Inspiring Technology
            Why so confident you ask? Well, for the month of June 2012 TDS is showcasing the print quality of our favorite new toy, our new Xerox 1000 Digital Color Press. Why? Because we love our new toy—oh, and it's awesome. The Xerox 1000 can do things...

            • It Can Print in Clear Ink
              This isn't some kind of Houdini printing, BUT, it can print with a clear coat finish. Ta da. That makes it the first toner based digital print press to do so, making it the first press in its league to produce commercial-quality finished documents. The Xerox 1000 is even programmable, so clear coating can be exuded onto the desired pages only, for example on the front and back covers.

            • It Can Be Cool
              With the press' on-board cooling station it comes equipped to process thicker paper stocks while maintaining high color quality. With the cooling station the Xerox 1000 can even print high-quality solids and add clear toner to the job. 

            • Print with a Full-Width Array – Automated Color Quality Suite (ACQS) Our new toy is an intelligent multitasker; it has the ability to constantly monitor itself during print jobs—checking for calibration, registration and color matching. The reduced waste from its color matching and the high-quality output from its calibration and registration are so good Xerox is staking their name on it.

            • It Can do Short-Run Print Jobs WITH Personalization
              With the Xerox 1000 Digital Press you can reduce waste by programming it to run just the amount you need—no matter how short the run. The ability to do short-run print jobs with personalization makes running one-to-one marketing print jobs a more viable option than on traditional printing presses where customization can be costly and wasteful. Consider the waste and expenses: many SMB companies and individuals do high-volume runs just to get the quality they want at the price point they need, then end up storing the extra inventory until it is needed again. But, how often does materials/deals/information change, requiring you to replace your marketing materials? By going digital you get the flexibility of printing shorter-run jobs, without sacrificing quality, as less setup is required AND less waste is generated.

            Register and Win!

            Are your ready to rise to the challenge? Then sign-up by registering at, and choose a time to compare our print output to yours. Registrants are even given a shot at winning an iPad.

            After you book your challenge, if the print quality is not CLEARly better we will give you a $25.00 Best Buy gift card, just for coming out. What have you got to lose, sign-up and take the TDS CLEAR Challenge today!

            Sign-up today as time is limited: the TDS CLEAR Challenge expires at 5:00pm (CST) on Friday June 29th, 2012.

            Tags: xerox 1000, TDS clear challenge, digital press, digital color press, commercial printers, clear emulsion toner, xerox

            Demo the Latest Digital Press Technology: TDS Clear Toner Challenge

            Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, May 21, 2012 @ 08:58 AM

            TDS BlogHeaderSince 2010 Xerox has been making the corporate space jealous of commercial printers with their Xerox Color 800 and 1000 Digital Presses. Now Xerox has once again upped the ante. The incredible speed, of up to 100 A4 pages a minute, coupled with the color enhancements from the company's patented Automated Color Quality Suite, make the 800 and 1000 Digital Presses fierce contenders. The clear coating they offer make them untouchable.

            “I'm VERY impressed. They have what I consider to be the most significant capability which is the clear coating they put down on the sheet,” says Frank Romano, professor emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology. “That coating capability and all the other specs combined make those machines amazing products for the printing industry”. 

            Regular commercial users are undoubtedly jealous of the presses ability to churn out professional-quality jobs quickly, as the presses' technology is unfortunately reserved for commercial printers mass producing flyers, newsletters, brochures and variable data documents. Jealousy would also likely stem from the machines' incredibly accurate color and image quality. Their color quality is thanks to the machines' Automated Color Quality Suite (ACQS)--a set of color management software tools for the inline spectrophotometer that automate tasks that were previously manual—and time consuming-- making large color jobs easier AND faster.

            The machines can even produce full-color books and photobooks thanks to the inline perfect binder. “I think the 800 and 1000 could become the defacto standard for photobooks because of the quality of what it is outputting and the ability to have clear coating,” endorses Romano. 

There are five specific new technologies added to the 800 and 1000 presses that have given them unsurpassed image quality, faster speeds and higher reliability that Xerox's commercial presses have become known for:

            1. Clear Emulsion Aggregation Toner: a new formula of transparent dry ink made of Xerox's ultra low melt formula. The clear EA toner was designed by Xerox's Canadian research center to pop-off the page visually, to add emphasis to headlines, photos, watermarks, logos and images.

            2. Long-Life Photoreceptor: the new protective coating Xerox has used on the photoreceptor lasts twice as long, improving the shelf life of the light-sensitive photoreceptors.

            3. Seamless Intermediate Belt Transfer (IBT) System: this new belt system allows for a fifth clear toner station and makes jobs simpler for operators to setup, even with varied sized media.

            4. Belt Roller Fuser (BRF): like the long-life receptor the new fuser is engineered to last twice as long. It also transfers heat more efficiently and deliver more-stable image quality.

            5. Inline Belt Cooling: Xerox researchers solved the cooling issues created from high-speed presses with their new inline belt cooling system that lowers paper temperature for faster printing with better image quality output.  

            The new functions of the 800/1000 Digital Presses were true feats of engineering, solving many of the endemic commercial printing press problems. “With paper moving at these speeds, there are countless engineering challenges along the way,” says David Mueller, Engineering Manager for the new presses. “The technologies we developed, especially the new fuser and clear toner, really push the envelope in terms of how these presses perform.”

            The Xerox 800 and 1000 Digital Presses are still relatively new to the game but could become  a sort of industry standard for the commercial printing industry. As Romano said, “I would recommend this product to any commercial printer”.

            If you are a commercial printer, quick print shop, in plant print shop or a marketing agency, the Xerox 1000 digital press is definately worth investigating.

            Take the TDS Clear Challenge today!: Book your demo and run one of your print jobs on us!

            Register Now:

            Tags: clear toner, xerox 1000, TDS clear challenge, commercial printers, digital presses, clear emulsion toner, xerox, Total Document Solutions, TDS