Monday, December 17, 2007

How to Detect and Fix Problems with Laser Monochrome Printing.

Greetings again!

I'm writing to let you know I just published final part of a big article titled "How to Detect and Fix Problems with Laser Monochrome Printing." If you ever asked 'What the heck?' seeing a printed page coming out all in stripes or just dirty? In the article you can find the solution to this and other problems with toner cartridges.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Toner Cartridge Depot blog updated

Well, two more post on official TCD blog. The first tells about how inkjet printing technology is adopted into creating more efficient microchips and large-size displays. The other is about how a TV can be used to enhance the capabilities of the inkjet printer -- a new device from Epson and Philips.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Study Finds Consumers Overpay For Printer Ink Tremendously

If you've been following our blog, or if you simply own an inkjet printer, you should be aware of how costly ink cartridges are. You can find how much we overpay for printer ink the answer in the new article on TCD blog. Regretfully, inks are still more expensive than toner in terms of pages printed per cartridge.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

History of Inkjet Printers

On the TCD official blog I posted the first part of a big article on history of inkjet printers:

In the early 1980s, introduction of the laser printer met that need. By eliminating the need for physical impact against a ribbon, laser printers achieved much higher speeds and were able to work in almost silence. As personal computers grew popular during the 1980s, laser printers became the only acceptable choice for “letter-quality” printing, regardless the cost of several thousand dollars.

However, the laser printer’s reign was eventually overtaken by a technology developed at the Hewlett-Packard. HP, along with Epson and Canon, can claim a substantial share of credit for the development of the modern inkjet, and we will consider the history of inkjets from the HP’s point of view.

Funny thing is, HP’s invention was not originally intended for personal computers, since when the project began in the late 1970s, there were no such things. Instead, HP was looking for a new printing mechanism for portable, battery-powered calculators, its most profitable consumer product.
As a responsible author, I did a research on the topic, from which a learned a lot of interesting facts about how inkjet technology as we know it came to existence.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Toner Cartridge Depot blog updated

Toner Cartridge Depot blog updated with several new posts.

One is telling about new Epson printer producing trillions of colors:
The Photo R1900 implements a “groundbreaking” technology that allows for “smoother images and color control” coupled with UltraChrome™ Hi-Gloss2 Ink. The UltraChrome™ Hi-Gloss2, apart from common cyan, magenta and yellow inks, also features matte black, photo black, red, orange (replacement for blue) and gloss optimiser.

All in all, Epson Stylus Photo R1900 is said to produce 18,446,774 trillion colors. Such a tremendous amount of colors offers “a wider color gamut, natural skin tones and consistent color with a smooth gloss finish.”
In another article you will find out about the history of laser printers:
...originally it all began from an experiment on image transition. On October 22, 1938, when American inventor Chester Carlson together with German immigrant Otto Kornei first transferred an image from a glass microscope slide to a sheet of wax paper using method later called electrophotography.
Next post reveals what hazards laser printers may cause:
Canadian Broadcasting Company sponsored its own study on that issue. The research was conducted in three different locations in Winnipeg by placing particle monitors above printers in the offices. Basically, the results of this new study support those of the Australian study: laser printers do emit in large volumes ultra-fine particles that apparently originate from the use of toner.
Read these and other posts at Toner Cartridge Depot blog.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

10 Reasons Not To Shop with Toner Cartridge Depot

Toner Cartridge Depot official blog was updated with a new acticle by sincerely yours. In the article I reveal 10 reasons why shopping with Toner Cartridge Depot printing supplies store may be not for you. Here is one of them:
3. Toner Cartridges Depot offers an expanding assortment of printing

Having to make a selection from a wide range of cartridges and toner is often stressful too. You may spend a lot of time studying and comparing each item before making a decision, you may even lose your sleep! Why would any man of sense need such problems?
Make sure you are informed of all the reason!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Toner Cartridge Depot Starts Blog


I got a terrific news to tell: Toner Cartridge Depot launches its official blog covering printing industry news, articles and announces. Since I'm going to take part in creating content for the official blog, my own blog will update now as often as it used to.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Toshiba Recycles Your Toner Right on the Spot

If you own a laser printer and ever did an online shopping for printer toner cartridges, you, probably, noticed here and there a waste bottles being sold along with consumables. These very bottles are where unused tone is utilized when not applied to form image. That happens because of mechanism of laser printing is not perfect and yet to be optimized.

Toshiba intends to eliminate this embarrassing flaw. The company is implementing its recyclable toner technology into more MFP machines. The technology allows collecting waste toner that is not applied to the page and feeding it back into printer cartridge, so it can be used over again.

The technology is supposed to solve environmental problems caused by disposing of waste toner. On the other hand, it would increase cost-effectiveness of toner cartridge, since more pages per cartridge could be printed.

For now, the system works only with mono printers, however “it will take a bit longer to introduce it to colour machines as it needs a different mechanical approach, but ultimately we aim to introduce it there too,” says Jamie Mackenzie, Product Manager at Toshiba.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Are Printer Companies Chasing the Wrong Target?

Lets us add a bit of financial analysis to our blog. It kind of stand of from what I usually port, but since it’s about printers and I studied economics at college, found it interesting. I promise I’ll try to keep it simple :)

When it comes to printer makers, it’s a well-known fact that most of them use ‘blade-razor’ marketing strategy to generate profit. That means they sell printer unit at the cheapest, even in the red, but make up the money by selling expensive consumables, i.e. ink and toner. So, at first look it may seem like the more printers you sell, the more profit you gain. Amount of printer sold defines the market share of a company.

However, Ed Crowley, a stock market analyst for SeekingAlpha, makes a point in his article that situation is a bit different. Actually, it’s completely different.

Each printer sold generates different income. Imagine a home printer making 50-100 pages a month, and a high-volume workgroup printer that can print up to 200,000 pages per month. The latter can be as much as hundred times more profitable than the former. Since every printer has a user, so there are more profitable users and less profitable ones.

For example, HP having the largest market share (selling more printers then any one else) of 45%, receives only 28% of income. At the same time, Ricoh with its 1% of market share generate 10% of income. Yes, if you see the absolute figure, HP get more, but Ricoh is more effective in terms of dollars per user.

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Monday, June 4, 2007

QualityLogic's Tests Prove Reliability And Higher Yield of HP Inks

Hewlett Packard is reported to announce results of a research study to compare how original HP ink cartridges rate against 13 most common ink cartridges refillers. The results of the test showed that

“original HP inkjet cartridges printed 57.5 percent more pages, on average, than the refill brands tested.”
Besides, HP cartridges proved to be more reliable:
“None of the Original HP inkjet cartridges failed during the test, whereas an average of one in five refilled brands was either dead-on-arrival or failed prematurely.”
All in all, HP cartridges 'won' refilled cartridges in every test.

The study was conducted by QualityLogic, one of the world largest and respected independent quality organizations. The funny thing is, HP recently argued results of a test conducted by that very independent quality organization, when QualityLogic tested Kodak inks. Can't wait for Kodak to strike back and question the results of HP ink cartridges study :)

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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Another 1,000 Pages In 1 Minute

Recently, we have seen two similar technologies revolutionizing the speed of inkjet printing — HP’s Steamline and Silverbrook Memjet. The innovation factor was in creating a fixed printhead spanning the whole width of the page.

Two Israeli researchers The College of Judea and Samaria — Moshe and Nissim Einat — have developed a revolutionary printing technique called Jetrix. This technique take printing speeds even higher – up to 1,000 pages per minute — since it enables simultaneous high-speed printing of an entire page of text.

Jetrix is a mixture of Inkjet Technology and Liquid Crystal Technology. Inspired by LCDs that could instantly create an image with a screen-sized array of diodes, Moshe Einat started to wonder if the same idea could be applied to printing the whole page. Inspiration led to creation of a page-size matrix of printheads with multiple ink chambers.

These chambers are the key to the new technology. Each chamber is a tiny tank of ink connected to just a few nozzles and supplying only those nozzles. The chambers are not connected with one another, so the matrix of printheads can be created as large as the paper, without limit.

The built prototype can only print black and white, but Einat is sure the idea can be realized in full color too.

Yes, there are printer that can print as fast as 1,000 ppm, but they are room-sized. This new printing technology allows making printer more compact. We shall wait for the first full-working printer to appear.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

HP Argues The Results of Kodak's Ink Test

TechTalk blogger, Dean Takahashi, presents in his article an argument between HP and Kodak. The cause of the argument was the results of Quality Logic’s test proving that Kodak inks save customers 50% on everything they print. I wrote about this test not so long ago.

He lists a number of HP statements challenging the conditions and results of the test, as well as Kodak’s responses to those statements. I’ll quote one of them:

HP goes:

"QualityLogic’s test did not include all available HP supplies. For example, HP’s Photosmart C4180 offers a larger black supply (HP 95) than what was included in the test, which would have resulted in lower black cost-per-page for HP. What’s more, HP offers many different value pack options that further reduce HP’s cost-of-printing."
For that Kodak replies:
"Kodak chose to test the cartridges that ship with each printer because these are the cartridges that consumers are most likely to purchase. Therefore, the testing was based on individually purchased cartridges. It is also the most practical way to provide an apples-to-apples comparison.

Like HP, Kodak offers a discounted combo cartridge pack, delivering an even lower cost-of-ink and lower cost-per-page to consumers. While this would have provided even better cost-per-page results for Kodak, it would not have supported apples-to-apples comparative testing."
Seems like Kodak does have a weapon to conquer the ink cartridges market, however HP won’t to give up its market share easily.

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Xerox Invisible Fluorescent Printing

Group of Xerox scientists devised a new method for printing hidden fluorescent text using standard printers. The fluorescent text is only visible in ultraviolet light, at the same time it does not require fluorescent toner to print it.

This new method is side product of Xerox’s larger studies to put more security into digitally printed documents by making any element on the page-—such as lines, text, and images-—unique to the recipient. The scientists were playing with differential gloss in a toner to print a hologram-like image, when one of them, Reiner Eschbach, started to wonder if there was any chance to make fluorescent marks using regular toner.

Eschbach's group tried different toner combinations to achieve paper's fluorescence shining when exposed to ultraviolet light. They come to this after they realized most paper already contains fluorescent brightening agents added by manufacturers to make the paper look whiter.

According to the company, the new method of fluorescent printing allows adding more security to commonly printed materials such as checks, tickets, coupons, and other high-value documents.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Interview with HP Vice President Vyomesh Joshi

PC Magazine published an interesting interview titled ‘We Could Ink Jet Anything’ with Vyomesh Joshi titled, executive vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group. Simply put, he is the one in charge of HP printer business.

He opens the conversation with a brief overview of how printer business in HP has changed.

“We are focusing on pages. From a page point of view, 48 trillion are printed a year. Now we measure our market share in pages, and we are less than 2 percent. When you start thinking about pages, we have a tremendous opportunity.”
Then he moves to the issue of printing less in the modern online world:
“In 1984 we were promised the paperless office. And in 2006 we are using ten times more paper.”
Also, Vyomesh Joshi tells about new imaging devices coming up, gives his prospect of view on the new implementations of inkjet technology, such as DNA sequencing, 3-D printing and competitors achievements.

As a person who is into printing, I had a great time reading the interview.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Print Greener, Print Cost-Effective, Print Smart

In modern world of electronic communications people still have to do a lot with paper. Course projects, year reports, club flyers, advertisement brochures – all that required paper. In a known fact that paper is made of processed trees. Thus, the more pages is printed, the more trees are cut.

In effort to make printing more environment friendly, GreenPrint Technologies developed a software that would reduce amount paper waste in office printing. Recently launched in United Kingdom, GreenPrint Enterprise software highlights and removes unwanted pages before they are printed, creates PDF files as alternative for printing. Also, it gives a print overview, so users can easily decide what stays and what goes. Besides, the software has other options for ink and toner saving.

GreenPrint Enterprise incorporates a feature that reports how many trees were saved during the use of application. The company estimates that an organization employing 20,000 people could save GBP1.3 million annually, which equals 35.2 million pages or 3,911 trees.

GreenPrint Enterprise software is optionally accompanied with GreenPrint EverGreen Font. This font was specially “designed to allow more words to fit on each printed page without compromising readability. Compared with common fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman and Helvetica, EverGreen reduces paper use by 15-20%.”

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Siemens T100 Teleprinter: Ancestor of Today's Network Printers

Once upon a time, there were neither inkjet nor laser printers. Networked printers, as we know them now, didn’t come to exist either. However, there was technology that allowed a printing task (actually only a text), to be performed by a device in a remote place.

The technology was telegraphy and the device was telex.

Developed in the middle of 19 century, by 1940’s telegraphy had become the most common type of connection between cities, countries, and even continents, so messages could be sent across the globe.

Telegraphic messages were received and printed out by the telex, a special kind of printer that produced a hard copy of a message. One of the most popular telexes was Siemens T100, a page printer that dates way back to the 1960’s. All of the UK military services and on the commercial telex system used Siemens T100 widely.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wireless Mountable Printer

A printer that need no cables and occupies no room on you desktop. Think it's impossible? Absolutely not. Designers at Ransmeier & Floyd developed a wireless printer that can be mounted on the wall. The printer has a frame that printed pictures fall into, which make it a decorative piece of interior design, not only a functional device. The only thing not clear is how this printer is powered. Nothing is said about this and picture shows no power cord. Some say the printer might be battery-powered.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why Do We Pay More For Ink?

Late in April, 2007, an authoritative review website posted the results of one interesting test. They compared inks and paper made by third party manufacturers against those made by printer makers. The goal of the test was to determine if third-party inks and paper provide same level of quality as original manufacturers’.

The printers tested were multifunctional inkjet printers of major brands most common models used by home and small office users, namely Canon PIXMA MP600, Epson Stylus Photo RX640, HP OfficeJet 6310 and Lexmark X5470. The jury comprised of typical printer users rated printouts made of combinations of third-party and original inks and paper on the scale of 1 to 10, where 9 or 10 would be “a print you'd be happy to have as a record of a wedding or important birthday”, and scores below 5 for “prints you would be unlikely to keep because of their quality.”

The testing revealed several amazing facts, but the most important one is this:

The jury scored prints produced with third-party inks higher than those produced with manufacturer’s own products.
That means compatible cartridges of known can generally provide same quality, and in some cases, even better quality then OEM cartridges. I’m not talking about defective unknown brand cartridges or over-refilled cartridges with long-expired duty cycle. Just like everywhere, trust the brand that provide high quality of its products, in our case Cartridge World or InkTecShop.

But the judges are just simple printer users with no technical background, you may argue. Yes, that is true. However, they are exactly who buy ink cartridges, and hence, who pay money. So it’s up to simple users to decide what’s good for them, and them will finally choose what is more savvy

As you know, compatible cartridges cost 25% to 75% less than original cartridges. But I believe it’s vice verse - original cartridges are up to 75% more expensive. Think about this. It makes sense to assume that third-party producers also have research laboratories to devise ink formulation, just like printer brands. Both third-party and original makers have plants to produce cartridges somewhere in third-world country to make them cost-effective. So, where is the catch? Why such price difference?

There’s a good article by Marshall Brain, where he discusses the price of things. In particular, he compares an inkjet cartridge and a microwave oven and finds their prices somewhat equal (as of 2004). He goes on:
“So think about this: The microwave oven contains a microprocessor, the software for the microprocessor, a keypad/display for the microprocessor and a separate power supply for it. The microwave oven also contains a 700 watt Klystron to generate the microwaves, the waveguides for Klystron and the high-voltage power supply it needs. Then there is the door, the hinges, the latch, the safety interlocks on the latch, the light, all the internal fusing, the metal case, the interior, etc. There's also the process of getting UL listed and so on. A microwave oven weighs 30 pounds and once cost thousands of dollars. Mass production has dropped the price on microwaves significantly in the last decade or two.

By comparison, an ink jet cartridge is a piece of plastic, a couple of dozen jets, a little wiring and some ink. The total cost to manufacture is probably less than a dollar. Yet they sell for $38.99.”
When first appeared on the market 20 years ago, a microwave oven cost $1,000 or so. Over years, the price gradually slid down to, well, not $28.44, but $70 for sure, that is 15 times less. On the other hand, over the same 20 years of market presence inkjet cartridges price hardly half-dropped.

No matter how complex, heavy-patented and expensive a product is, once it’s placed on the consumer market, it’s doomed to become cheaper – technology advances, materials improve, and production becomes more effective. It’s just as natural for prices on goods to go down as for humans to age over time.

That does not seem to be the case with printer cartridges.

What is it? A conspiracy of printer makers? An ‘anti-customer’ marketing strategy? We’ll never know. Bad thing is we’ve been dealing with it for too long. Good thing is there is always an alternative – the compatibles.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

3-D Printer Makes... Candies!

—Daddy, I want a candy!
—Go print it yourself, sweety!
That kind of dialog you might expect to take place soon.

You must remember crazy inventors from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. They develop the idea of making fancy-looking food with modern printing technologies.

Their new invention, CandyFab 4000, is evolution of a 3-D printer with a hot-air gun mounted as a printerhead. CandyFab 4000 was hand-made and only cost $500 in parts plus labor. Overall cost of 3-D printer production is somewhat $1000, way cheaper than $5000 for DesktopFactory three-dimensional printer.

It uses same stack-of-layers technology to create three-dimensional objects. This time, they chose granulated sugar instead of toner to create candies of fancy shapes: a coil, a wooden screw and a polygonal.

Amazing is the cost of the “printouts”. For example, the wooden screw is 20 inches long and weighs about 2.5 pounds, however the total cost of used sugar is $0.93!

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Kodak Inks Are Proved to Be Cost-Effective

In February, 2007 Kodak released a new type of inks. The inks were claimed to make printout more durable (up to 100 years) and cost-effective (up to 50%). Recently, Kodak unveiled unveiled ink yield test results and cost-per-page analysis.

The tests were conducted by a side company, QualityLogic Inc. They compared Kodak 5300 All-in-One printer inks yield against that of 12 printers of other leading brands. Testing included printing of both black-and-white and color documents and photos.

Based on results of inks yield test, Kodak made its own analysis of ink cost per page, comparing cost of ink for all modes tested. The results of this analysis proved that Kodak multifunction printers could print more pages per $5 of ink every time.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

A 1,350 Pages-Per-Minute Printer

When I saw this number first, I couldn't believe this could be. April 17, 2007, Oce, a company producing printers for professional high-volume applications, announced a high-speed printer. New member of Oce VarioStream 9000 family can print at speed of up to 1,350 pages per minute in black-and-white, which is 22.5 pages per second!

With Oce VarioStream 9240 printer speed-or-quality dilemma is no longer relevant for the new device feature both, they say.

Just like all ultra high-volume printing devices, the printer is huge:

I never dealt with such devices in real life, and the fastest I heard of were about 200 pages per minute. I couldn't find anything on the construction of this printer, so I wonder how such speed of 1.350 ppm achieved. Probably, it has several printing units combines into one or something.

I can't imagine how much toner it consumes a month.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

New Large-Format Color Printer by OKI

Okidata announced C8800 Series printer, a digital color large-format printer producing up to 11x17 in. printouts in compact design.

The new printer feature greater media control and flexibility, it allows printing banners 11x 47.25 in. which fits fine for architectural renderings and engineering design documents.

The printer is fast; it uses printer toner, produces 26 pages per minute in color and 32 pages per minute in black-and-white at 1200x600 dpi resolution.

OKI C8800 Series printer is built using digital LED Technology and Single Pass Color Technology. The latter allows make products requiring fewer moving parts.

The estimated retail price of the C8800 Series starts at $2399. The printer will be available in North America in June 2007 through Okidata authorized providers.

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Three Dimensions for Your Home

If you ever dreamt of a device that would produce real objects, then your dream is coming true. Three-dimension printers have always been something large, expensive and available only to chosen ones. Until now.

Desktop Factory made 3-D printer smaller, cheaper and more affordable. The company will start selling its first printer for $4,995 this year, and price is expected to fall to $1,000 in next four years. So in the nearest future 3-D printer would be available to home users.

How does the printer actually work, you may ask. The plastic powder, an analogue of toner in regular printers, is dropped on and sticks to a heated roller, where it is fused with a light beam to make an image. Then image is rolled onto metal plate to form a layer. The plate moves down as more layers are stacked to make an object. When the object is created, the plate moves up to squeeze the layers under heat and fuse them. (Pictures taken from

The printing method is yet to be improved, because the model makes objects with rather jagged edges and rather sandy finish that many do not find attractive, NY Times story tells. But there is demand that does not require high quality and cannot afford large printers.

The picture above shows what kind of object the new 3-D printer can create. They say more 3-D objects blueprints will be available later on the Internet for people to download and create.

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Thursday, May 3, 2007

"Gelly" Printers by Ricoh

Ricoh UK introduced a new range of desktop printers using gel-based color-system. The new Ricoh Aficio GX3000, GX3050N and GX5050N have a high speed of printing, up to 30 pages per minute in monochrome and color. The speed could be compared to the speed of laser printers, but the price is more like that of inkjets.

Ricoh proprietary GelSprinter Technology uses pigment-based liquid gel that sits on the media surface, but not diffuses into it as inks do. The company says the printouts are fast to dry and waterproof, which makes a double-side printing possible. Besides, the printers feature Electrostatic Belt Feeding System that is supposed to hold paper firmly in place and prevent paper jams.

New printers use special gel cartridges of standard (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) color. One color cartridge yields 1,150 pages, while a black cartridge is enough to print 1,450 papers, as stated on Ricoh site. Priced £28.45 and £22.45 (approximately $57 and $45) for color and black cartridge, respectfully, these cartridges are somewhat in the middle between ink and laser printer cartridges, when it comes to yield/cost effectiveness.

We shall see if this gel technology proves to be viable.

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How Would You Like Your Toast? – Printed!

Many areas of human life have enjoyed the printing technologies – medicine, electronics and so on. However, as time goes by, printing finds new, absolutely unexpected areas of application. This time it all started with fun, when guys from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories used a hot-air gun to make images on a slice of toast.

Not satisfied with results of hand drawing, they decided to mount the hot-air gun to the carriage of a 3D printer they built for their previous project. Since toast printing does not require third dimension, Z-axis of the printer was disabled. With hot-air gun used as a printhead, they achieved a resolution of 10 dots per inch (2.5 mm pixel size).

Also, the printer was could make photo images on a toast, which required some additional adjusting (air flow rate, temperature, etc.) of printer hardware, actually the hot-air gun.

Below is a video of how toast is printed using digital toast imaging technology.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

New Lexmark Multifucntions

New Lexmark multifunction printers are designed for small and home offices. Lexmark X782e, X940e and X945e are more suitable for workgroups, while Lexmark X500n and X502n are optimized for personal use.

Lexmark X782e, X940e and X945e multifunctions feature proprietary eTask Interface based on touch-screen. As stated, the interface enables simplest operation of the devices, shorter training time and automation of routine. Lexmark claims the main areas of the new devices’ use to be retailing, banking, healthcare, administrative and educational institutions.
All devices use laser printer cartridges but with different print speed. Lexmark X782e produces 35 pages per minute (ppm) in color and 40 ppm in monochrome. Lexmark X940e is a bit slower – 30 and 40 ppm monochrome and color, respectfully. However, the most powerful is Lexmark X945e, a multifunction printing as fast as 40 full-color pages per minute and 45 black-and-white pages per minute.

Lexmark declares its desktop models Lexmark X500n and X502n, that can print, copy and scan color documents, to be the most cost effective devices in their class. Maximum performance is 8 ppm, when printing in color, and 31 ppm of monochrome printing. The models feature 35-sheet Automatic Document Feeder, and Lexmark X502n also can sent and receive faxes.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

HP To Accept New Ink Cartridge System

From my previous post (or maybe from some other source) you already know that inkjet cartridges market is estimated $32 billion. 21% of that market belongs to third-party companies that produce compatible generic cartridges and refills, and the number is growing, judging by success stories of refilling businesses I hear.

Cartridge refilling and remanufacturing enterprises are so successful because they offer customers a cheap and quality alternative to buying costly OEM supplies. Current business model of most inkjet printers makers is to sell cheap hardware, but expensive ink supplies; this is what they make money on. However, this is what customers don’t seem to like.

In effort to win back a share of that 21%, HP try a new approach. Hewlett Packard is changing the way of delivery of its ink cartridges: a new three color-coded categories and a lowered, two-level pricing system. Within 2007 year, HP will introduce inkjet printers designed to be used with new cartridge system.

Labeled with blue, green, and red color coding, standard, value, and specialty cartridges will be introduced in various retail stores as well as online, reports Besides, the new cartridges will contain a greater volume of ink. All this is to offer customers “a simplified shopping experience, more choice, and greater value”, the company said.

Seems like, first, HP recognized the fact that every one has different printing needs, second, it feel threatened by third-party cartridges manufacturers, that sell HP-compatible ink cartridges for much less.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Lexmark Expands Its Return Program

Like any printer manufacturer of sound mind, Lexmark, on one hand, wants its customers to buy original cartridges for Lexmark inkjet printers. On the other hand, the company wants to keep away cartridge ink remanufacturers and refillers.

Along with new wireless printers announced last week, Lexmark expands its Return Program on original ink cartridges compatible with those printers, reports. Lexmark offers a $4 discount for every cartridge customers would mail back to and not refill elsewhere. If one tries to refill the Lexmark cartridge and then insert it again, a chip on the cartridge will disable it.

This is Lexmark’s attempt to fight remanufacturers and refillers in a battle for a share of printer ink market. According to the article, Lyra Research, a printer industry tracker, estimated inkjet cartridges market for $32 billion in 2006. Remanufacturers and refillers had about 21 percent of the market.

From A Comment To A Post

This post was initially meant to be a comment to this post I occasionally came across. The guy’s a designer and an inkjet owner facing the problem of expensive cartridges for his Epson. I found his blog occasionally and was already writing a reply to the post, when realized it’s more like a separate story, not just a comment.

I'm not a designer, though now I do print photos and color graphics sometimes. I also faced the need for color calibration to get better results when I bought my color inkjet printer. It was Canon Pixma i1500. Purchased mainly for printing text, it proved produce photos of decent quality. Being a person who delves into details, I wanted to get best out of my printer. So I tried to find the best way to produce fine quality photos at reasonable cost. ‘Reasonable cost’ didn’t only mean money, it was also amount of efforts I have to put in to get that best results.

I tried different color profiles and different photo papers. Eventually, super-duper photo quality (if you ever get this from a $60 inkjet - that's how much it cost year and a half ago) I was aiming for was compromised for simplicity – I settled for automatic presets. It seemed sensible to me that Canon digital camera and Canon printer should work well together without me jumping around and doing Woodoo magic, and it worked out. I used and still use Lomond Super Glossy Paper, by the way.

Before my Canon inkjet, I used to have an Epson one. The reason I switched to Canon was cheaper OEM cartridges, since firstly I didn’t plan to print a lot, paying extra $5 for brand name was not a problem. However, over time printing volumes increased, partly with the discovery of decent photo printing ability. And when my family began using the printer, too, the extra $5 started making difference to me.

I went to the nearest printer cartridge outlet. Along with original supplies, they sell compatible and refillable cartridges. The difference between the two, they told me, is that refillable cartridges can be refilled with ink many times. Well, actually other cartridges can be refilled too, but they are not very much designed for that, as far as I could get.

I bought black and color cartridges by Sky Horse, and they cost me only $4.5 and $5.5, respectively. At home, I only had color cartridge depleted, so I changed it and reset ink level counter. Then I printed a test color page (little graphics, mainly text), which was OK. However, to be 100% sure it’s OK, I printed a 4x6-inch photo of food and flowers which means lots of small details, variety of colors.

I have absolutely no illusions about this being a professional super-color-match-whatever test. But I was completely fine with what I got. So, I decided to stick with refillables, they provide the quality level I require and they don’t cost much.

Now that I found a cheap source of ink, later I plan on upgrading my printer, probably to an inkjet multifunctional. More and more often I need copying option and my printing volumes are not that large to buy a laser one.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Silver Filled Inkjet Printer Produces Electric Circuits

Guys from the University of Leeds found another way to use an inkjet printer – to create electric circuits.

During experiment, student Seyed Bidoki filled an HP inkjet printer with solution of silver salt and ascorbic acid, that is Vitamin C. This combination proved to be the most successful of all and included water.

"We wanted to be able to use a totally water-soluble base," said team member and chemist Matthew Clark. "That allows for much more environmentally friendly processes."

Then they printed different circuits on variety of media – paper, cotton, acetate, and even transparent film, and it worked out good. To improve conductivity, patterns are printer two or three times.

(taken from

The developers say this inkjet technology has long way to go to be accepted for industrial scale production, but it does make new kind of devices possible.

This April is rich in alternative inkjet printer use. Just the other inkjet technology was used in medicine, bio engineering, nano technology research and other fields of human activities

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Inkjet Printer Creates Body Organs

A news that coincides with one of my previous posts, where I reported use of inkjet printers for creating artificial bones. Scientists at Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine are using inkjet printers to create organs and tissues, that’s something that could change the very way of studying tissue engineering.

(picture from

Regular ink cartridges available almost everywhere are emptied, cleaned and filled with the cells needed to create the organ. Then, an inkjet printer prints these cells into a substance resembling human tissues. Printed layer by layer, cells form the required shape of muscle or organ.

Adopting inkjet printers for the need of tissue engineering resulted in more precise, accurate, fast and, most importantly, controlled creation of biomaterials.

It seems to me that inkjet technology for today’s science is like an invention of the wheel for our ancestors – it’s spread far over the area it was designed for.

New HP Deskjet Printers

HP has updated its line of Deskjet printers. HP Deskjet D2460, HP Deskjet D4260 and HP Deskjet F4180 All-in-One are designed for home and small and medium businesses and to allow (oh my God!) printing business documents. Apart from printing, the printers also include a bunch of other features.

The D2460 prints at speeds of up to 20 pages per minute in black and 14 pages per minute in color. It can amazingly produce 4x6 in. borderless photos at 4800 dpi resolution, and if you run out of ink, the printer will tell you so.

Deskjet D4260 is more sophisticated and kindly allows users to share, save and print photos simply by pressing HP Photosmart Essential button. The printer comes packed with HP Photosmart Real Life Technologies to help remove red-eyes effect, etc., and features HP Smart Web Printing for neat printing of web pages. D4260 is also faster — churn out 30 ppm in black and up to 23 ppm in color.

HP Deskjet F4180 All-in-One has the features of the two Deskjets, at the same time it allows copying, scanning at 1200 x 2400 dpi resolution and 48-bit color.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Inkjet Printing and Nano Technology

Inkjet printing started being used in nano technologies. Maren Roman, a scientist from Virginia Tech, has been taking a research on nanocrystals, and the discovery she made may lead to a new generation of vaccines and better computer printer ink.

Roman was using an inkjet printer to place the crystals. This way is more accurate, due to printer’s precision, and safe. Nanoncrystals are extremely hard to operate, because of their size, and are usually converted into powder for handling. Being a powder, nanocrystals may be very hazardous if inhaled. So, inkjet printer provides a safe way to operate them.

First thing to come up with me is that original ink manufacturers may very well use this innovation. First, to protect their ink formulas from being reproduced; second, to prevent use of compatible inks with printers. Am I being a paranoid already? :)

Do You Know HP?

Every one of us who have some knowledge of computer peripherals, know what HP stands for. Every time you think of a printer, you probably recall Hewlett Packard. Well, for some of us it’s Epson or Canon, but that’s not the point. The thing is, HP is well-known company.

One guy described his experience of searching for Hewlett Packard stand at London Book Fair. "Youlit Packet...?" a staff member asked when the guy was trying to find his way. Yes. They are still there, people who haven’t heard of HP or HP toner cartridges.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

5 New Inkjet Printers by Lexmark

Lexmark announced an upcoming release of five new inkjet printers, three of them feature wireless capabilities.

Lexmark X4550 is a wireless multifunction printer designed to home and office use. The printer is able to print at speeds up to 26 ppm in monochrome black and 18 ppm in color. X4550 allows printing borderless pictures directly from memory cards, flash drives and digital cameras supporting PictureBridge Technology. Also, it makes copies as fast as 17 ppm in black-and-white and 11 ppm in color.

Another wireless color printer announced is Lexmark Z1420 capable of printing borderless photos of up to 8.5x11 in., and speeding up to 24 ppm in black and 18 ppm in color.
The new Lexmark X3550 color multifunction combines inkjet printer, copier and scanner in one unit, and features wireless option. It prints 24 ppm in black and 17 ppm in color. The device comes packed with Imaging Studio software for editing and applying various photo effects.

Next are X2500 color All-In-One and the Z1300 single-function printer. Lexmark X2500 All-In-One printer allows printing, scanning and one-touch copying, as well as making borderless 4x6 in. and 5x7 in. photos. Device prints at speeds of up to 22 ppm and 16 ppm, in black and color, accordingly.
Lexmark Z1300 single-function printer is created for home users and prints at speeds of up to 22 and 16 ppm for monochrome and color, respectively. It also allows users to print 4x6 in. and 5x7 in. borderless photos.

Lexmark’s X4550, X3550, X2500, Z1420 are priced at $129.99, $79.99, $59.99 and $79.99. Lexmark Z1300 is priced under $25.

HP Goes Wide

After drawing much attention to CM8050 and CM8060 high-end multifunction printers, HP goes further with the Edgeline Technology.
The company introduced a wide-format printer DesignJet T1100, addressing the need of technical users such as architects, engineers and geologists. DesignJet T1100 uses same printheads as CM8060, but instead of having multiple printheads spanning the whole width, it prints a 1-inch band along the page.

The printer is capable of making line as thin as 0.04mm with an accuracy of 0.1%, compared to 0.2% of industry average. Also, DesignJet T1100 uses special matte black, which provide a better match with 4-color inks, and gray inks for smother gradients.

As usual, the print speed depends on printing task and paper quality. HP DesignJet T1100 produces a plain A1 page in 35 seconds in draft mode, 2.8 square meters per hour in best quality on glossy paper.

The printer features a fast controller that processes files independently from the computer.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Inkjet To the Bone

There is another implementation of inkjet technology, now it helps create artificial bones. With a modified inkjet printer, scientists can produce perfect ‘hard copies’ of damaged bones to be inserted into the body to help it revive.

“The “paper” in our printer is a thin bed of cement-like powder. The inkjets spray the cement with an acid which reacts with it and goes hard. That deals with one layer. Then new layers of fresh powder are sprayed on top, and the layers build up to the shape we need", says Professor Jake Barralet of McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

The printer itself is as big as three cabinets and can produce a typical bone in 10 minutes.

Now scientists are looking for a way to create artificial skin with use of inkjet technology.

Xerox Sets New Energy Saving Record

Energy saving has become important not only in development of PC, but also peripherals, including printers and multifunctions. So it comes as no surprise that Xerox claims more than half of its products to be compatible with new ENERGY STAR specifications, which became effective only on April, 1.

The new ENERGY STAR version has a distinctive feature from the previous. Before now, energy consumption specifications only applied to ‘sleeping’ and energy saving modes of copiers, printer and MFPs. This time, a new index – TEC (Typical Electricity Consumption) – is designed to indicate how much energy a device consumes during an average working week.

Meeting ENERGY STAR requirements for Xerox seems easier that for other manufacturers, because Xerox has been partner of the specification developers since the beginning of 90s. Two year ago, Xerox launched a makeover of its laser printing components in effort to reduce energy consumption. The company has succeeded to lower level of energy consumption to 25% compared to previous models.

In part, this achievement became available due to new toner formulation. First, the new toner requires lower temperature to melt and, second, is made of smaller toner particles. All that reduces total printer toner volume and, in turn, energy consumption.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Cat Against An Inkjet

Let's have a break from serious new and watch a funny video of how a cat battles an HP Deskjet printer.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Another Use of An Inkjet Printer

Epson is steadily expanding inkjet printing into different fields of application. One such field is textile industry. Epson already cooperates with Italian company Robustelli on production of large-size textile printers based on Epson’s Micro Piezo inkjet technology.

Next area where Epson plans to use inkjet printers is akin to textile printing – a production of wallpapers and tiles.

Another thing was truly amazing to me. I never thought an inkjet technology could be used in production of in the manufacturing of LCD panels. LCD panels rely on a grid of RGB color filters each of them make up a tiny tri-colored pixel in the entire panel.

Currently, production of these color filter panels involves a three-step process, where each step requires laying down a grid of one color, followed by laying down the next color and so on. To reduce the steps required, Epson worked together with Sharp Corporation to create the first inkjet-based color filter printer ever which prints all three colors simultaneously.

Next innovation to follow is a printable TV content. Epson has been working with TV makers and stations to develop such service. Imagine you’re watching a cooking show, pretty usual, huh? But! Soon you’ll be able to print out the recipes given! Of course, it’d require a printer connected to your TV-set, likely via USB.

Currently, Epson is promoting this innovation with Japanese TV stations.

Well, seems like we are entering an era of new types of multifunction – first, printer showing video, now TVs printing text. Can’t wait to see what’s coming up.

New HP Printers. Now With Video.

HP released two new high-end color multifunction printers - CM8060 and CM8050. Based on Scalable Printing Technology that cost HP $1.4 billion of investments, printers utilize HP Edgeline Technology to merely spit out pages. The printers are the fastest among HP top models: CM8060 can print 60 and 50 pages per minute in monochrome and color, respectively. The CM8050 can reach speeds of 50 ppm in back-and-white and 40 ppm in color.

But what really interesting in these printers is that they have an unusual user help system. HP added a bunch of self-help feature like step-by-step instruction on control panel and even live-action videos. All this designed to help end user fix occurring problems with printer on their own.

For example, if paper is jammed in CM8060 and CM8050, AutoNav self-help tool will play a video showing the location of jam and giving instruction on how to remove it. Those videos are said to be very specific and to address the exact problem, as opposed to giving general help.

HP did lots of marketing research on printer user interface and it turned out that some changes to make it easy to use are required. HP believes the printer to produce pages 30% more cost effective the average in industry. They also hope the new printers self-help features help reduce volume of call to technical support and minimize end-user training.

A really nice move by HP. First, they will help users indeed. Second, we are, probably, witnessing how a new entertainment market is born. How long has it been since nobody really believed watching video in mobile phone would come true? :) You can also search for HP toner cartridge you need, and buy it for your printer.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Smallest A3 Color Laser Printer

Another smallest color printer this time it’s A3, this time by it’s OKI. The new C8600n being actually large (485 x 556 x 345 mm.), it is relatively small compared to other printers of the same class.

OKI C8600n uses a single-pass digital LED technology; this allows for a smoother paper pass during printing and less paper jams.

The printer has a built-in LCD screen and six navigation buttons to access the printer's functions.

Equipped with an USB 2.0 port, the printer is network-ready as well and wields 128 MB of RAM.

OKI C8600n supports 1,200 x 600dpi resolution and prints with toner as fast as 32 ppm in monochrome and 26 ppm in color for A4-sized documents. A3-sized documents come out at speed of 17 and 15 in black and color respectively. It’s also capable of printing up to 1.2-meter long A3 banners.

Epson Leaves Customers with No Choice

The other day Epson won another trial against third-party manufacturers that produce compatible ink cartridges for Epson printers. Epson sued a list of defendants for patent infringement based on two patents: 7,008,053 and 7,011,397 (the first patent describes the cartridge, the other one deals with ink flow method). The judge ruled that 24 companies did violate Epson’s patents and banned they from importing and selling cartridges in US.

Filing the complaint with the US International Trade Commission in February of 2006, Epson accused side ink cartridge manufacturers of their products coming close to Epson’s design. Since then, many companies from Germany, Hong Kong, Korea and US decided to settle, not to fight, and stop importing aftermarket ink cartridges for Epson's printers.

Sure, the Epson reps claim they pursue unfair competition, and that they will take whatever actions necessary to protect Epson’s patents, blah-blah-blah, and Epson has been successful in its efforts to do so. Business model of inkjet printer manufacturers has long been selling cheap printers and making profit on original cartridges, it is make sense to keep the third party companies away from consumables market, since printer ink is a $32 billion market worldwide.

Given all that, no doubt Epson’s going to be persistent in taking away compatible ink cartridges manufacturers. So, soon we may have no choice but to use only costly original inks for Epson printers.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Network Printer Can Cost You Job or Business

Of course, not the printer itself, but what you might leave on its tray. According to recent research made by Lexmark, 64% of European office workers admit to having left or found a confidential document on the network printer at least once. When asked about personal consequences of such an event, people name damaged image or reputation or even being fired.

A document left on a printer tray may cause security risk amounted to €100,000 or more in companies employing 500 workers or more. Amazingly, in smaller companies hiring less than 50 people, every fifth employee estimates the risk to excess €100,000, which can destroy a small business.

In event of this, Lexmark has developed a number of solutions to help businesses protect confidential and sensitive documents. For instance, Lexmark’s Confidential Print feature requires employees to enter a PIN number to retrieve a document from the printer. This can significantly increase document security.

So, folks, always remember to take your printouts from printer’s tray, if you don’t want to have your business ruined or be fired :)

Web Friendly Printer by HP

If you ever tried printing a random web page, you probably know that what you get is far from original. There are stripes of white space, images chopped in two, text cut from one side, and so on. That’s annoying. On the other hand, with the development of Internet era people tend to print less, partially because of such web-hostile printer behavior.

Hewlett Packard is reported to address this problem. They have numbers showing that a good half of the materials printed at home is from Internet, while computer software generates only 20 percent of printing. Internet is infested with blogs and pictures galleries, which can spur the demand for printing, provide printers are web friendly.

In effort to stimulate home printing, HP resorted to help of a side company, Tabblo, a developer of Web-based software. The software creates templates that reorganize the photos and text blocks on a Web page to fit standard sizes of paper. HP wants to make this software a general standard, like Flash or Java. With such printing engine of the Web, HP will help all printer companies, but being the industry leader, it will surely benefit the most.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Xerox Introduces Three Printers and Two MFPs

Xerox introduced several new models of color laser printers and multifunctions. This is actually an update of the whole color print line for small and middle businesses. One of the new products is built on Solid Ink Technology. The very junior model, Phaser 6110MFP, combines printer, copier, scanner and fax. This model features rather compact dimensions (18.36x16.99x19.1 in.)

Phaser 6110MFP prints as fast as 16 pages per minute in monochrome and 4 pages per minute in color. It has an USB-port for direct print from flash-drives; besides the printer supports PictBridge Technology.

Next model Phaser 6115MFP demonstrates a faster speed of 20 ppm in black and white, and 5 ppm in color using printer toner. Phaser 6115MFP comes equipped with a duplex unit for two-side printing. Just like Phaser 6110MFP, this model has an Ethernet adapter hence can be used as network printer. Each of the two multifunctions has 128 MB of RAM onboard.

Among the new lasers, Phaser 6180 is the junior. It supports 600x600 dpi resolution and prints 20 ppm in color and 25 ppm in monochrome. The printer comes in two configurations: with a duplex unit and without one. Both configurations are built on 400 MHz processor, have 128 MB of RAM and a networking adapter.

One of the most efficient Xerox models, Phaser 6360, speeds up to 40 pages per minute in both color and black and white print. Maximum monthly duty cycle makes up 100,000 pages. A Risc Power PC 1 GHz processor takes only 9 and 6 seconds to produce a color and monochrome print, accordingly. The printer comes packed with specialty software that allows network administrators configure and copy settings.

The last one of the new models, Phaser 8560, implements Solid Ink Technology. Phaser 8560’s speed is 30 color pages per minute, a first-page-out time – 5 seconds. Supported resolution makes up 2400 dpi. Both Phaser 8560 and Phaser 6360 support a feature that allows printing in black even when color cartridges are depleted.

Monday, April 2, 2007

How Toner Is Used in Printers

Surfing the net today, I came cross a thread where they discussed whether a laser printer uses equal amount of toner regardless of each print density, or not. That probably happens in laser printer cartridges with magnetized toner pickup rod, but not likely. The truth is the printer uses toner according to actual print density. And the amount of pages that can be printed is calculated based on an average of 15% print density of an 8 x 11 inch paper. Also, it seems like laser printers and photocopiers using toner all have recovery mechanisms which transfers unused toner back into the reservoir.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Smallest Color MFP by Samsung

For CeBIT Exhibition that ended the other day, Samsung prepared quite a few new products. One of them is a Samsung CLX-2160 multifunction printer. The company claims this combination of printer, copier and scanner to be the smallest color laser device of a kind.
The device measures 43.1 х 35.3 х 33.3 cm and is capable of printing up to 16 pages per minute in monochrome and 4 pages per minute in color.
Samsung CLX-2160 supports resolution of 2400 x 600 dpi. The multifunction comes equipped with 128 MB RAM and USB 2.0 interface. If also features a direct print from USB Mass Storage Device and scanning with saving to such device.
Other features include 150-sheet input tray and 4 separate laser printer cartridges with estimated capacity of 1000 pages for a color toner cartridge and 2000 pages for a black one.