Updated: Apr 8, 2019
Printer Fuser Technology Past, Present and Future
Essentially the printer fuser bonds the toner to the paper. The fuser uses heat and pressure to melt and secure the toner to the media. Manufactures utilize different technologies to achieve this goal, each with a wide array of strengths and weakness.
How long do printer fusers last?
How long often fuser lasts depends on several factors:
PPM Pages Per Minute
Most printers will alert the user or service personnel as to fuser or replacement interval.
It recommended to check with the printer service or owners manual for preventative service and maintenance schedules.
Types of Printer Fuser Technology
The most common method of fusing was using a hot roller technology. The fuser would use a large heavy aluminum roller with a Teflon type coating. The heat would be generated using a high voltage light bulb inserted into the aluminum roller and heated to 300-400 degrees F.
Hot roller technology used a massive amount of electricity to heat the fuser. it also took a fair amount of time to heat the printer fuser up to its operation temperature The warm up period made the user wait around for the copier / printer to heat up if it was sitting idle.
Fixing Film Assemblies FFA
The (FFA) or Fixing Film Assemblies emerged 20 years ago and was introduced most notable by HP. This promising technology made the fuser more efficient by reducing the electricity needed to print. The "Instant on Technology" branded by HP allowed the printer to go in and out of low power mode faster.
The FFA used a ceramic heating element similar to electric stove top, with a polymer film wrapped around the heating element. The heat would turn on and transfer faster thru the polymer film then a large heavy roller.
Instant-on Technology allowed users to print faster when coming out of low-power mode which means less wait-time between print jobs. Instant-on Technology saved users time, increased efficiency, and conserved energy.
Over the years most of the printer manufactures have adopted the FFA technology into the fusers.
The FFA's main limitation has been tied to the page per minute print speed. At or around 50 PPM the film is pushed to its performance limits. This has resulted in a number of printer models suffering from film delamination prior to the expected life cycle or scheduled maintenance.
Delamination is a mode of failure for composite materials used in the fuser film. The film suffers from repeated cyclic stresses, causing layers to separate and or tearing. New generations of printer fuser films have new metallurgical composites that have helped reduce delamination and improved print speeds.
Other Helpful Resources
Future More demanding print speeds will drive material. Without some major breakthroughs in material composites we're going to be hovering around existing PPM page per minute speeds. Engineers are testing hea