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.