Archive for March, 2010
Pitney Bowes has created a line of printers specifically designed for printing addresses on envelopes at a rapid speed with consistency and quality. These machines range in size, with the smaller models meant for offices with occasional addressing needs and the largest model equipped to handle thousands of pieces of mail per day. The series line is called AddressRight, and though these are not the first machines of this type, Pitney Bowes has certainly raised the bar.
Does your office print and send hundreds of invoices per day? The time and manpower it takes to process every single envelope is overwhelming, not to mention the inevitable human error. These address printers from Pitney Bowes remove these factors from the process. Accurate, clear and reliable, the AddressRight printers will provide unyielding consistency.
From the DA300 (pictured on left) that can print up to 4,400 addresses per hour to the DA95f (pictured on right), which will address as many as 30,000 mail pieces in an hour, the AddressRight model line will make an impact to any office that requires this service. The printers will pull addresses from an address list on the computer and print rapidly on the envelopes.
Here is a video of an address printer at work to give you a better idea of how efficient these machines are:
Pitney Bowes makes various pieces of equipment designed to make mail-related tasks easier to do and the process more efficient. As their slogan reads, “Engineering the flow of communication”. You will be able to find machines that print bar codes and postage, fold documents in various ways, even ones that sort, stuff and seal envelopes. Visit their website to explore the innovative mailing systems being developed that could benefit your office.
Many users are not aware that a printer needs to be used fairly often to stay in proper working order. Most printers are designed for fairly consistent use, and lack of use can cause problems. At the same time, overuse can also lead to problems, so it is important to choose a printer designed to handle the volume you plan to use it for.
Using a Printer Too Little
It may seem that using a printer too little would not be an issue, but some of the parts can begin to exhibit problems when unused. If your printer gets more use as a bed for your cat than printing off documents, you might be at risk. The most sensitive part of a printer is the cartridge. The cartridge is sensitive to moisture, heat, and dust from the time it is opened, so the longer a cartridge is in use, the more exposure it has to these three elements. After sitting unused for long periods of the time, the ink or toner can gum up or become clogged. This is particularly the case with a home inkjet printer, that doesn’t get a lot of use. Replacing a cartridge often alleviates this problem, but a printer that is not used frequently may not have its cartridge replaced often enough. Inkjet printers and inkjet cartridges can have the same problem.
Offices that use a printer very infrequently, especially those that generally have a very small print volume, can sometimes have a problem. For example, if a small office uses a printer whose printer toner cartridge is rated for 10,000 pages for only 1,000 pages a month, users will likely go 10 months between changing toner cartridges. In this amount of time, the moisture, heat and dust are likely to take a toll on the cartridge, and it may start to malfunction before all the toner has been used. It would be advisable that an office of this size find a smaller printer with a smaller cartridge. For example, the Dell 1320c printer has cartridges that last only 2,000 pages each. This would mean that the office would typically need to change the cartridges every 2 months.
Using a Printer Too Much
On the opposite end, it is certainly possible to use a printer too much. Manufacturers often provide two numbers that buyers should pay close attention to: a maximum monthly duty cycle and an average monthly duty cycle (sometimes called the recommended monthly volume). You can find these numbers on the manufacturer’s website, or in the manual for your machine.
For example, a printer may have a maximum monthly duty cycle of 30,000 pages and a recommended duty cycle of 10,000 pages. For the best results, it is recommended that users keep their monthly volume under the recommended duty cycle for most months of the year. Overuse can lead to problems like overheating, plastic pieces becoming brittle and breaking in the machine, frequent paper jams, and other issues which can degrade the life of the machine.
When shopping for a printer, you should take a close look at the recommended volume, and choose a model that fits your expected needs. By making sure you match a printer to your typical printing volumes, you can extend its life and save yourself money by not having to replace the it prematurely.
The average shelf life of a standard printer cartridge ranges between 18-24 months after manufacture. This is true for brand new ink and toner cartridges made by the original manufacturer of the printer as well as remanufactured or compatible cartridges made by third party vendors. The amount of time a cartridge can be sufficiently stored is contingent upon some other factors beyond when it was manufactured.
- If applicable, rotate the oldest cartridges to the front and the newest cartridges to the back to ensure no single cartridge stays on the shelf too long.
- Be sure to store the cartridge in a location that is cool and not overly exposed to air. If the temperature is too warm or too much air infiltrates the cartridge, the consistency of the ink or toner can be compromised, rendering it unusable.
- Ink cartridges: 40°F – 85°F.
- Toner cartridges: 32°F – 95°F (humidity no more than 85°F).
- On the same note, it is important that the storage location is dry and dark.
- Make sure each box is stored upright and avoid stacking them too high.
- Do not shake or bump the cartridges as it could loosen the shipping seal and cause a leak.
- Do not remove the cartridge from the packing it was shipped in until it is being installed. The protective bag and bubble wrap will eliminate the possibility of the cartridge being damaged while on the shelf as well as protecting it from the elements such as air and moisture.
- Though buying in bulk is recommended for optimal discounts, it is not advised to order excessively more than what the needs of the office calls for. Overbuying could force cartridges to be on the shelf for more than 2 years, which opens up the door for malfunction and most likely voids the warranty.
These are some simple steps that can be taken by the end user to ensure longevity of shelf life for toner and ink cartridges, new and refurbished. Of course, some of this responsibility lies within the manufacturer and how long the cartridges have been kept on their shelves. That is why it is important to read and understand the warranty that is offered with your cartridges.
Having issues with your printer cartridge?
There are different scenarios to look at when troubleshooting your printing issues, whether the printer never accepts the cartridge when it is installed or the cartridge works for a while but then malfunctions or start producing sub-par quality.
Regardless of whether you use OEM cartridges or remanufactured cartridges made by third party vendors, problems occur occasionally. It is always possible that your printer or cartridge is defective, but you should try a few troubleshooting tactics before calling the manufacturer.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself and a few steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem yourself:
Is the cartridge fully locked into place?
When you insert your new cartridge, you want to make sure it is fully locked into the designated slot. Listen for a clicking sound and pull on the cartridge lightly to make sure it is securely locked in.
Did you remove the shipping seal?
There is a shipping seal on every new cartridge, whether it is purchased from a third party vendor or the original manufacturer of the printer. This seal prevents the ink or toner from leaking out of the cartridge during shipping. Removing the seal is as simple as pulling the tab at one end of the cartridge and pulling out the long piece of material. In some cases, there may still be a part of the seal attached to the cartridge. Also, be sure to completely remove all other packing material.
Are the important components clean?
For laser printers, you must keep the imaging drum and fuser assembly as clean as possible. Almost any part can be wiped down with a towel, which will eliminate dust and toner particles that will scratch the surface and cause lines on prints. Inkjet printers use a nozzle technology, so it is important to keep the nozzles clean. Most printers have an internal cleaning system, but you want to make sure the nozzles are unclogged so the ink can be ejected at the right size and amount. You can often manually run a nozzle cleaning process from the driver software or the unit’s control panel.
How old is your cartridge?
Cartridges do have a lifespan of a couple years and can go bad if kept on the shelf for too long. The ink could dry up or the toner could get moist and clump. If you buy cartridges in bulk, make sure you are rotating the oldest ones to the front so you can avoid potential expiration.
Have you done a cold start?
Often, the printer memory is not reading the new cartridge chip because it is remembering the old one. To clear the memory, you must perform a cold start, which will allow your cartridge to be recognized if the memory is the issue.
The bottom line is that there are a number of reasons your replacement cartridge might not be working in your printer. It is good to review this checklist to eliminate some of the most common issues. If the problem persists, call the manufacturer’s support line for more detailed troubleshooting techniques.
When ink and toner cartridges are purchased, the manufacturer provides a “page yield”, which provides the consumer with an approximation of the number of pages each cartridge should produce before running out of ink or toner. This is called the Manufacturer Expected Page Yield. Here is an example of a standard and high-capacity cartridge for the same printer and the manufacturer “expected” page yield for each cartridge:
The Manufacturer Expected Page Yield metric can be misleading, because it is based on a 5% page coverage, which the industry has deemed “standard” based on average printing behavior. 5% page coverage means that the text and graphics produced by the ink or toner covers 5% of the printed page. Photos, pages that are graphics-intensive and pages that use “heavier” fonts will produce page coverages that are higher (sometimes significantly higher) than 5%. Here are some examples of different page coverages:
(Tip: Using standard size Calibri font gives the highest word count at 5% coverage and is the most cost-effective option)
The bottom line is this – the Manufacturer Expected Page Yield is only valid when you print at 5% page coverage. If the amount of ink or toner being used per page increases the page coverage, the cartridge should yield fewer pages. If the amount of ink or toner covering the page decreases, the cartridge should yield more pages.
How do you determine whether you are getting a “fair” expected page yield from your cartridge? Some printers will actually display to you the coverage that each cartridge is printing. In this example you can see that the Yellow toner cartridge is applying 3.9% coverage to each page, and in turn will supply you a higher page yield than what the manufacturer estimated.
If your printer does not display the page coverage for you there is a simple way to determine what coverage you are printing at, and help you understand why your toner cartridge may be giving a page yield different than the Manufacturer Expected Page Yield.
Please note that you must do these calculations before you remove the cartridge from your printer! Replacing the cartridge will cause all of the page counting statistics to be “reset” by the chip on your new cartridge.
- First, you will need to access cartridge statistics information from your printer (please see the example of the HP part Q7551X below this section). Typically you can access this information via your printer control panel, via the printer management software installed on your computer for your printer, or via the printer “properties” stored for your printer on your computer.
- Calculate the “Constant” by multiplying your Manufacturer Expected Page Yield x 5%. For our example below for the Q7551X the Manufacturer expected page yield is 13,000 pages. The Constant would be 13,000 x 5% = 650.
- Determine the “Adjusted” Page Yield by adding up the pages already printed with the expected pages remaining. For our example this would be 8771 + 1084 = 9855.
- Calculate the actual page coverage by taking the Constant and dividing it by the “Adjusted” page yield. For our example this would be 650 / 9855 = 6.5956% page coverage.
You can see in this example that the reason that this toner cartridge is only going to yield 9,855 pages instead of the estimated 13,000 pages is because the user is printing with a page coverage of 6.6% instead of the industry standard 5%.
If your printer gives you pages printed and pages remaining, with the manufacturer page yield you can use this calculator to estimate your average page coverage:
When looking to purchase replacements for your printer cartridge, you may notice up to three different options for cartridges, all priced differently but with the same printer compatibility and page yield specifications. Compatible, Remanufactured and OEM are the three types of cartridges – at Ink Technologies we frequently get questions from customers asking what the differences are between them.
OEM cartridges are made by the manufacturer of the printer, such as HP, Dell or Brother. Because of the premium brand name, the price of OEM toner and ink cartridges is considerably more than other types of cartridges, ranging from 2–5 times higher.
The warranty for OEM cartridges is typically a year or longer, depending on the specific manufacturer policy. However, since the warranty for a brand name cartridge is set by the manufacturer, you must process any warranty claims through the manufacturer. This process can sometimes be time consuming.
Unfortunately, nearly a gallon of oil goes into making a new toner cartridge and several ounces of oil to produce a brand new ink cartridge, as well as metal, plastic, foam, rubber, paper and ink/toner. Check out our cartridge recycling infographic on the benefits of recycling. If using name-brand products is essential, please recycle the empty cartridges to give others the opportunity to save money. Ink Technologies also offers a recycling programs that makes the recycling process free and simple.
The most appealing thing about remanufactured toner and ink cartridges is how it positively effects the environment. Made entirely of previously used and recycled parts, a remanufactured cartridge not only represents one less product in the landfill, but also provides the economic benefits of recycling. About 97% of the components that make up printer cartridges are recyclable- hard to believe over 300 million cartridges are thrown away every year in the United States.
Remanufacturing companies rebuild these cartridges by dismantling, cleaning and refilling them. During the process, moving parts that are worn or damaged are replaced with working components and then checked for quality assurance. Comparative testing has proven that remanufactured cartridges can and will provide the same quality and yield as an OEM cartridge but can cost 3-5 times less. Not all vendors are created equal, so be sure to do a little research and make sure that your provider has excellent customer satisfaction ratings for quality.
Compatible cartridges are made from new components but do not carry the name brand and are manufactured by third party factories. Some consumers are hesitant to buy previously used products but do not want to spend extra money for OEM, so the compatible option offers an alternative cartridge that is more affordable than OEM but is also constructed from new materials. Once again, the quality of the company making the compatible cartridges is important, so do your research!
Just like with OEM cartridges, compatible cartridges require significant resources in the manufacturing process, resulting in a high impact on the environment, but the price tag for compatible cartridges is generally about 3-5 times less than the OEM alternative. Like remanufactured cartridges, compatible cartridges are designed to be fully compatible the OEM version of the cartridge, including page yield, and have comparable quality.
The same warranty we offer for remanufactured cartridges applies to compatible cartridges. DO NOT let the original manufacturer of your printer tell you that third party ink and toner will void your machine’s warranty. This is simply not true. In fact, a law has been implemented to enforce a person’s make their own choice in their cartridge purchases without voiding the warranty.
In summary, for buyers who are more brand-oriented and don’t mind paying the price, OEM cartridges are a good option. For buyers who want “value”, both remanufactured and compatible cartridges provide a good alternative, and have comparable quality to OEM if you purchase from a reputable source. For buyers who want value and also want to help the environment, remanufactured cartridges are an excellent value-based choice.
At Ink Technologies, we carry only the highest quality compatible and remanufactured products meeting OEM specifications, and offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on the purchase of these products.
In the late 1980’s, the brilliant minds behind Xerox office equipment began developing a color printing technology that would be very simple for users and produce high-quality colors on standard paper without the need for a cartridge. The end result was a solid ink printer, which is still a technology unique to Xerox. What started as an attempt to simplify color printing has become a way for offices and homes to also reduce waste.
Laser and inkjet printers are the most commonly used machines in the world, generally because they are the most affordable upfront and replacement cartridges are inexpensive. Any company or individual that is concerned about the environment, however, should look into using a solid ink printer, to help reduce their carbon footprint.
How is Xerox Solid Ink Made?
Non-toxic liquid ink is hardened in a very specific shape, making a wax stick, similar to a crayon but far more complex in molecular nature. Each color for each model is shaped differently, thus making it difficult to install a solid ink stick into the wrong slot on a printer. When the printer is in use, the solid ink is actually melted back down to its liquid form and applied to the paper, where it once again hardens, but this time to make words and images on the page.
How does it reduce waste?
Beyond the boxes and shipping materials, inkjet and toner cartridges themselves create waste. When the ink or toner has been used and the cartridge is empty, it can be recycled and used again, though over 3 billion cartridges each year are just tossed in the trash. Ink sticks are considerably smaller than most toner cartridges and around the size of inkjet cartridges, thus minimizing the amount of packaging required to safely ship them to customers, and there is no cartridge to worry about.
For an inside look at solid ink printing technology, watch this video from Xerox:
A laser printer has many components that make up the technology system used to quickly generate documents that meet a professional standard. The rollers pull the paper through and the toner actually makes the images and lettering visible to the human eye, but it is the imaging drum that is the central piece in these highly advanced printers. Also referred to as a drum unit and a photoreceptor assembly, the imaging drum is ultimately responsible for the transfer of printer toner and image or text to the paper.
Initially, the drum receives a positive charge from the corona wire. The laser then writes on the drum, leaving a negative charge in the shape of the image or text that is being printed. The toner is attracted to this charge and clings to the imaging drum where the negative charge is. The rollers are then used to pull the paper through the machine, and the negative charge of the paper is stronger than that of the drum. As a result, the toner is pulled from the drum to the paper, creating a precise document in an efficient matter of time.
Most printers have separate slots for the drum and toner cartridge to be installed in to. Other units, like Brother printers require a drum and a Brother toner cartridge, but the two snap together and are installed into the printer as one assembly. Some printers have toner cartridges that the drum is built into the cartridge and are replaced as one consumable. Be sure to understand which system your machine uses so you can be sure to purchase the right kind of replacements.
For visual effect, here is the difference between imaging drums and drum assemblies:
|Imaging Drum||Imaging Drum Assembly (with toner cartridge)|
Don’t feel bad if you are having trouble identifying which is the cartridge and which is the drum. Just remember, the imaging drum will always have a long roller, typically green. It is important not to touch the surface of the roller or expose it to intense light, as it is sensitive.
Being blasted with lasers frequently can take its toll on an imaging drum, even on the ever-popular Brother DR620, our most frequently sold drum. The wear and tear will start to build up, and the quality will suffer as a result. Standard text documents will begin printing with dark spots or even lines across the printed pages. Images that are printed will start to look lighter, even with a brand new toner cartridge installed. It wouldn’t hurt to run the printer’s internal cleaning system and printing a test page before determining that the issue is indeed the imaging drum.
When shopping for toner cartridges, you may have heard the phrase “remanufactured” referring to certain products. You may have even heard stories of how remanufactured cartridges are of lower quality than genuine versions from the manufacturer.
To put it simply, remanufactured toner cartridges are previously-used cartridges that are reconditioned, then refilled with fresh toner and sold for a more affordable price. The yield and resolution rendered by each remanufactured cartridge made by reputable companies will be equivalent to that of an OEM cartridge, with a satisfaction guaranteeto back it up.
If you are somewhat familiar with the remanufacturing process, you may have gotten the impression that empty cartridges are simply refilled and then sealed. While there are some disreputable manufacturers who do only this, most reputable manufacturers take far more steps in the procedure. First, the cartridge is completely emptied so no toner particles remain. Once cleaned out, the cartridge is disassembled and inspected for any components that might be worn out or broken. If any are found, they are replaced with fresh parts.
The cartridge is then reassembled and new toner is poured into it until a certain weight has been reached. At that point, the finished product is tested for quality before being sealed and packaged.
Are They Safe?
Remanufactured toner cartridges are an affordable alternative to the often inflated prices offered by the original manufacturer of the printer. Because of this, some major manufacturers may try to convince you that using third party cartridges will void the warranty on your printer, which is not true at all. In fact, remanufactured cartridges are designed to meet or exceed the specifications of their OEM counterparts, and reputable sellers provide a satisfaction guaranteed, reducing any risk to the buyer.
Remanufactured Cartridges are Good for the Environment
One of the best benefits of remanufactured toner cartridges is that they are made from recycled cartridges. In this way, they keep cartridges from ending up in a landfill and harming the environment. Many companies that sell remanufactured cartridges also offer a cartridge recycling program. This is just a way to make the process of recycling your empty cartridges simple and free by providing you with a prepaid return tag. Keep in mind, though, there are often a minimum number of cartridges that must be returned in order to use the program.
For buyers who wish to save money on printing, remanufactured cartridges can be an excellent alternative to the high price tag of OEM versions. Using remanufactured toner is a more economical way to print and an environmentally-friendly solution to unnecessary waste.