When people hear the name Xerox, they may not immediately think of chemical process engineering. But chemical engineers play a critical role in the development of the advanced materials embedded within Xerox technologies.
To take a new material, such as an engineered particle [powder] used for 3D printing or a metal conductive ink found in printed sensors and smart packaging, from concept to product is a long journey across the technology readiness spectrum. For more than 40 years, we have relied on the Xerox Research Centre of Canada (XRCC), our global materials research centre, to get us through that journey successfully.
The process to create a few grams of material at lab-scale is not the same process used to deliver that same product in kilograms or hundreds of kilograms. A key step in elevating the technology readiness of a new material is the design and piloting of new chemical processes. As the need arises for larger quantities of a material, the XRCC chemical engineering team de‑risks the production process by identifying and ranking potential issues and then tackling them. Through engineering and hazard assessments, the team identifies the most cost-effective and safest raw materials, and the most effective and efficient unit operations and process steps to maximize production speed.
Whether they are working with the engineered particles or electronic materials that support current Xerox offerings, or translating that knowledge to develop new materials with applications in future Xerox products, XRCC engineers conduct a rigorous process of assessment, testing and optimization to determine the best way to engineer, scale-up and manufacture new materials. The discipline they apply to their work results in robust and scalable manufacturing processes that ensure the efficient delivery of quality products to Xerox customers and partners around the world.
But what truly sets our engineers apart is their passion for their craft and their commitment to continuous improvement.
“For a chemical engineer, working at Xerox is like working in a wonderland where you get to practice everything you’ve learned and continue to learn along the way,” says Tom Enright, Manager of Scale-up Engineering at XRCC. “The scale-up process is a highly multidisciplinary activity which means I get to collaborate with incredibly talented scientists and engineers who open my eyes to new approaches and techniques every day.”
Working behind the scenes alongside fellow innovators in chemistry, synthesis and formulation and materials integration, our engineers help to expand our technology options. They bring us a step further into not just thinking about the future, but making it.