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The Trends of XEROX: Parts Distributors and Techs Take Note

22 Oct, 2007 By: Britt Horvat imageSource

The Trends of XEROX: Parts Distributors and Techs Take Note

Xerox, like other companies, has escaped some narrow financial straits in
recent years.  Not enough of a crash to compare them to the legendary tales of
the Phoenix, but they certainly seemed to land for a bit and get grounded before
taking off again.  Kudos to Xerox!  The new equipment coming out, particularly
in the full color machines, are living up to the Xerox name. 

Now let's have a look… where are the opportunities and the problems facing
independent service organizations and technicians who continue to take on Xerox
equipment as part of their repertoire?  It is a changing landscape without
argument, but as most change comes with challenges, these changes also create
new niches and new places to thrive. 


Shifting resources to higher technologies…  Xerox has really come alive with
the full color machines.  It started with the relatively high-end Docucolor 12. 
They quickly followed up with the office class C32 style (C32/40, Pro32/40,
DC1632/2240/3535).  This series continues to proliferate and impress folks all
over the place… newer additions to the family being the C2128, C2636, & C3545. 
Xerox also continues to do good things with the solid ink-stick technology which
they acquired when they purchased Tektronics.  

The other end of the high technology works against the aftermarket repair
folks by introducing technology which prevents a technician from repairing the
machine without the use of a laptop computer with licensed software on it.  The
C32 style is a good example of this.  Some of the machines come with published
diagnostic procedures available from the UI (User Interface or control console);
with others you would need a laptop or PWS (Portable Work Station).  The
licensed software which is needed is proving to be very difficult for an
independent technician to obtain from Xerox. The Docucolor 1632 / 2240 / 3535
are all ok to approach.  The M24, C32/40, Pro32/40 models on the other hand
require the laptop to do stuff like testing components or resetting the IBT Belt
counter. Fortunately, most Xerox machines do not require a laptop to work on

More modular than ever…  I think it may have been Canon who first made the
photoreceptors into a Cartridge in the 1980s with the PC25 etc.  Xerox soon
latched onto that concept and continues to increase that reality.  What that
means to the aftermarket repair industry is that if you're not rebuilding your
fuser modules, drum cartridges and toner cartridges, you're missing out on a big
part of the repair business which was once centralized in the machine.  The
first challenge facing folks who want to rebuild fusers and drum cartridges is
that many are equipped with connector CRUMs (Customer Replaceable Unit Monitors
or chips).  Aftermarket chips are usually available after a time but you have to
be careful to use the correct version for the machine and for the market the
machine is set for.  Otherwise, the machine will reject your module when you go
to install it.   Perhaps a bigger challenge is that many of the fuser parts are
not spared by Xerox.  This means finding aftermarket parts, doing business with
roller recoating facilities, and gathering used fusers to scavenge parts from
when you need them.  

The positive part of all of this is that you get to do a large part of your
work right in the comfort of your own workbench.  Go to the call with a rebuilt
fuser, install it in a few minutes, do a little cleaning and preventative
maintenance, and take the old fuser with you when you leave.  You get to charge
for the fuser (most of which is for your labor to repair it) and for the labor
of installing it.  The quick call and quick response helps you to provide good
service.  Now for those of you who are so busy that you'd prefer to buy a fuser
which has already been rebuilt for you, there are rebuilding facilities out
there (either aftermarket or OEM).  These facilities are in a growth market even
as independent field technicians seem to be seeing a decline in business.

Model Confusion…  Whether by coincidence or design, it seems that the naming
of the machines has become a source of increasing confusion.  Reusing older
model numbers is nothing new (take the old 1020 and the XC1020 which came out
quite some time ago) but now numbers are repeated with different combinations of
names, often within only a couple of years of each other.  A good example is the
reuse of the number 265 in two very different models.  The DocumentCentre 265
(DC265) came first… a large heavy 65ppm machine in the Lakes family.  A more
recent  model which just came out is the WorkCentre 265 which belongs to
the C35 style.  Perhaps the worst potential pitfall lies in the fact that the
toner cartridges look extremely similar to one another.  If you grab a DC265
toner cartridge and stick it in a Workcentre 265 machine you have a disaster on
your hands.  They don't fit perfectly but can be forced into place (the C35
style Service Manual acknowledges this potential problem).  If the wrong toner
gets into the developer unit, the developer is ruined.

The C35 Service Manual (WorkCentre 265 is likely to follow suit) does not
have replacement developer material spared… you'd be forced to replace the
entire developer unit.  Another example from the C35 style is the DocumentCentre
535/545 (DC535, DC545) which, aside from the Xerox name plate, has nothing in
common with the WorkCentre Pro 535/545 machines (small fax machines). One more
example:  DC240.  This one is kind of scary.  DC240 can mean two possible
machines: DocumentCentre 240, or DocuColor 240 which is a new full color
machine.  Yikes.           

Xerox is not as likely to fall into its own web of words because they use the
product code on the serial number plate to ID the machine accurately.  The
solution for independents is to take down full names of the machines you work
on.  Get out of the habit of using acronyms or abbreviations for your Xerox
models.  This way there is less chance of ordering parts or supplies for the
wrong machine.   

As you can see, all of these challenges and changes lead to one basic
reality.  Knowledge is the key to opportunity here.  Keep good notes on the
models you learn.  Get to know the full color machines, including your
limitations on a model by model basis.  Be prepared to rebuild modules whenever
possible.  Remain aware of the potential for model confusion.  With those pieces
in place, have fun fixing Xerox machines!

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