Years ago, I remember printing on a laser printer for the first time in the day took a long time because the fuser had to heat up, but I got a new laser printer recently and it can print in a few seconds first thing in the morning. How is it able to print so fast?

up vote 90 down vote accepted

The latest generation of laser printers warm up quickly because they use a new fuser technology, sometimes called "instant warm up". Instead of using a traditional metal roller, which takes a long time to heat, a thin membrane is used in conjunction with a heat lamp and a highly conductive metal heat transfer column. The difference is illustrated below:

instant warm up fuser technology

On the left, the traditional method is shown. On the right is the new, flexible membrane approach. The thin membrane heats up almost immediately and special column transfers heat directly to the "nip".

A side benefit of the new approach is that the nip is wider, so the quality of the fusing is higher, as well.

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    and some just keep the roller warm all the time... – Solar Mike Feb 12 at 15:26
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    @SolarMike That's not possible due to Energy Star and other government energy regulations. The regulations take into account both standby power and overall weekly power consumption (so you can't force people to not standby). – user71659 Feb 12 at 18:14
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    This technology has been around for quite some time; I had to take the fuser apart on my ten-year-old LaserJet after the toner cartridge exploded in the middle of a print job, and its internal structure was more-or-less as shown on the right. – zwol Feb 12 at 19:26
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    Go even further back, and the cylinder was solid, heated from the outside. A hollow cylinder heated from within was itself a major improvement. – Joel Coehoorn Feb 12 at 20:54
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    Our lights dim when you first turn our laserjet on; 1995 HP 5/5M color laserjet. 150lb, 10 amp nameplate. We love it. The paper is the highest cost of printing even after all the consumables. Never added in power to the equation though :) – Damon Feb 13 at 2:39

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