Author: Chris Allard
If you’ve been looking for a color printer but can’t afford the cost of a laser printer, look no future, this machine could just be the answer to your prayers. The HP Officejet Pro 8500 wireless all in one printer can print, scan, fax, copy in record time and does it all with high quality results and a price tag you can live with. But wait there’s more, it has autoduplexing, 802.11 b/g, a 3.45 inch touch screen, 50 sheet automatic document feeder, and a legal-size scanner. You can get one of these for about $399.00, that may seem high to some but when you compare that price to a color laser and the supplies cost this baby is a winner.
I just read a short article in a trade magazine I get, The Recycler, asking the question is a printer-less office a possibility? Back in 1985 when I owned my first business and we bought our first computer and a printer to go with it I heard this same statement. The company that sold us the computer said that within 5 to 10 years at the most, we would be paperless! As he stated, why would you want to buy the paper, print it and then have to file and save it. Now that we have computers, you can just save it to the hard drive and that’s it.
As we all know that did not happen. Why? Industry figure Nathan Dube speculated on the concept of the paperless office in early 2012, noting that it was “a myth for the simple fact that human beings truly have an intense and emotional attachment to the printed page”. Funny, that’s how I felt back in 1985 when I was told we would be going paperless, I had a thing about holding that piece of paper in my hand. Not only that but if you are going over your financials isn’t nice to have paper in hand and a pencil to jot down ideas, notes and anything else you want as you are reading the numbers? Of course you do, try doing that on a computer. Or try telling a CPA that they are not allowed to print a hard copy of financials but will have to save everything to a hard drive or even better “in the cloud” and notice the reaction. I’ve had a number of bookkeepers and CPA’s work for me over the years and not one of them bought into this concept, period. As far as their concerned you have to have a hard copy and save it for 7 years. Yes, they do save to the hard drive and many of them now save off site in the cloud, but not one of them that I have ever met will trust in that alone, print a hard copy is their motto.
Personally, I can think of many instances when I want to print what I have on my computer, like when I’m going through my e-mails in the morning and I see something from a customer that is going to take my attention by having to call him and discuss the issue. I print it out and make whatever notes I feel I will need before calling him. When on the phone I now have that piece of paper to jot down important points that are brought up during the conversation. This seems like a small thing in and of itself but you really can’t do this on the computer, Sure you could copy & paste the email into a word doc and have that window open as you are talking and make notes on the document that way, but it’s just not the same and besides, you can’t doddle with a computer. Sounds silly but again, human nature.
How about when you have a meeting? Sure you could bring you’re laptop to the meeting and you’re document saved in Word and reference that during the meeting. But what about the other people in the meeting? Oh yea, they could have their laptop and reference the same document that you have shared on DropBox. Still leaves the problem of people wanting to take notes as the meeting progresses which is pretty hard to do on a shared document, hell everyone is going to be taking notes and doodling on the same document, this is going to get pretty messy really fast. No, in this situation the best course of action is to print out the meeting notes and pass it out to everyone so they each have a copy and they can make notes as they wish. Save a copy in the cloud, of course. When the meeting is done you can go in, revise the document, everyone can see it and most likely will print it out so that they can follow up on whatever it is that needs to be done.
This is just a few examples that I can think of where I would want that printed piece of paper. I’m sure you can think of situations that you also want a printed piece of paper in front of you. Should we be careful of how much we print? Of course, going green means a lot of things now a day’s, it’s just not CO2 pollution. Saving on paper helps to save our forest and reduces the amount of fossil fuel that is used to produce that piece of paper. Like anything else in life, moderation is key. The day’s of printing any thing and everything just because you can are gone, be careful and only print what you really need. Will we bring this to the point of being a paperless society, I think not.
To be fair there are some companies out there that have saved thousands by attempting to go as paperless as possible. In the court case of Boris Berezovske v Roman Abramovich in Britain by virtue of utilizing cloud computing technology they managed to save five million pages. Not that’s saving a few bucks in the cost of the paper itself, not to mention what it would cost to store this much hard copy material for many years.Granted this is a large case with thousands of dollars that were saved but scale it down and the same system can be used on a much smaller scale. The point is paperless is great for some applications and not good for others.
In the heyday of the printer it was not unusual to find a printer on ever other desk in large offices, this is ridiculous and unnecessary. Many larger companies have done away with this and installed one or two large copiers per floor where everyone prints to those machines. But the point is that they print, why? Because they have to. Even if the company is using The Cloud and discouraging wasteful printing, office workers are still printing but only what they need. Need is the key word here, remember human nature, we like to hold that piece of paper in our hand. I don’t think that will ever change.
So one way to help our environment is to only print what you need to and use the cloud for storing and saving everything you can. Another way you can help save our environment is to use re-manufactured ink and toner. Our specialty at Ink & Toner Solutions is the aftermarket Eco-friendly re-manufactured printer cartridge. If you do use these brands of printer cartridges, you are recycling what would otherwise end up in the landfill. The cost and resources used to make a new printer cartridge is twice that of re-manufacturing what has already been made. If you are interested in trying these high quality cartridges you can order on line at www.inksolutionsma.com.
Let’s face it printers are some of the most frustrating pieces of equipment we have in our offices. I think at one time or another we have all wanted to take one of these machines built in hell and throw it out a third floor window. Hell, I’ve even seen our tech’s pull their hair out sometimes trying to figure out why a printer is still having the same problem after the appropriate work has been performed. Continue reading
Most people know that you can store and retrieve documents from the cloud, but did you know you can have your documents printed via the cloud, also? Thanks to the increased functionality of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, these devices have managed to become an important tool for business users. The ability to print documents from these devices is a useful feature that many users would love to have. However, most smartphones and tablets don’t come with any printing system of their own and the ones that do barely support most current printers.
Cloud printing works by giving smartphone and tablet users a way to print important documents from devices that otherwise lack the ability to print. Without any print drivers to worry about, there’s less concern about how to accommodate a multitude of mobile devices or enable support for legacy printers. Business users don’t have to be anywhere near a printer to initiate printing jobs – they can either pick up their documents at a later date or have them printed directly onto a client or associate’s printer for expediency’s sake.
How It Works
Cloud printing is an amazingly straightforward affair that’s being pioneered by efforts like Google Cloud Print. The major search engine giant has been hard at work for years pushing this technology to fruition, leading up to its launch back in late January 2011. Similar to other solutions that are soon to follow, it works on all mobile devices and it utilizes APIs (Application Programming Interfaces, like when you share something on Facebook without being on Facebook’s site) to collect data on custom print options.
The key to this technology’s potential success lies in its simplicity:
- Files to be printed are uploaded via an Internet connection onto a cloud computing service that facilitates printing (such as Google Cloud Print).
- Using a web-based application, the user initiates a new printing job for documents pushed through that cloud service. A wide assortment of options and special features are available, depending on the API.
- The printing job is sent from the cloud service to a cloud aware printer, where the printing job is completed. Non-cloud printers must rely on information sent via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or wired LAN connection to a print server or the printer itself. Jobs can also be sent through a desktop properly connected to a printer.
The technology works best with cloud-aware printers, a new breed of printers that would make it much simpler to print documents directly from cloud share, if they currently existed. In the meantime, users must send their printing jobs through ordinary printers connected to a Wi-Fi connection or an on-location desktop networked to a printer. That means your printer has to be configured correctly for reliable, guaranteed printing.
Some people wonder why business users simply can’t fire off an email and let the recipients on the other end handle the printing. Time is of the essence and every minute counts in intense business situations, so having a quick and sensible solution to common issues is the key to enjoying success. Cloud printing promises to help make it easier and more convenient for business users to get things done even when they’re away from the office.
For an average home user, you can bet this will change our thinking about when we can print something. Haven’t you been somewhere and you find something on your smartphone that you wish you could print so you don’t forget about it? Instead of doing that you’ve waited until you got home instead and looked it up a second time just so you could print it out? Those days may be gone, with this new technology printing anywhere in the world has become a reality.
What if there was a technological device that, when connected to your computer, could actually print out solid objects? If it sounds like something out of Star Trek – guess again! Although we’re not quite to the level of “Beam me up, Scottie!”, 3D printing is still very much a reality, and has the potential to completely re-shape the world as we know it.
What is 3D printing?
If you haven’t ever heard of 3D printing, it’s not surprising. Although the technology has been utilized within industrial settings for over 30 years, 3D printers for consumers and small businesses are just now beginning to take off. In a nutshell, 3D printing is an additive manufacturing technique which is used to build up objects in multiple layers. After one layer is printed and created, it is hardened, another layer is added, and so-forth. The process can take several hours to complete, however, the end result is a tangible 3D object.
What is 3D printing used for?
The most common use of this technology is to create rapid prototypes within the industrial field. These prototypes prove to be very useful for architects, automakers, etc. It is possible, though, for industrial 3D printers to create final products – especially in the case of metal objects. Traditionally, machining of metal componets would start with a piece of metal larger than the finished part. From this material metal would be removed on all surface’s and interiors such as cavity’s and holes. Imagine using a 3D printer that would lay down your part one layer at a time with all holes, cavities, contours and surfaces finished! The savings in time and materials that can be realized are tremendous.
Consumer-oriented 3D printers, on the other hand, are typically used for hobbies and personal interests. This type of 3D printing is more for enjoyment in seeing what you can do with this new technology. Even a small desk top 3D printer will set you back over $2,000 but if you want to be the first guy on the block to have a 3D printer and you love to tinker with new stuff the price could be worth it to you.
What methods are used in 3D printing?
There are several different methods of printing 3D objects to choose from. These options are based upon the material used for printing, the number of colors desired, the preferred resolution, and price. Here are several of the more common techniques used for printing in 3D:
- Fused deposition modeling – This is the most common method used in 3D printing. Fused deposition modeling (FDM) utilizes a spool of either plastic or metal wire which is melted and placed by the nozzle of the printer. The material will quickly harden before the next layer is added.
- Inkjet printing – These models are the most similar to the devices that are already used within homes and offices for standard 2D printing. By using special inks (such as resins and binders), an inkjet 3D printer will build up an object through layering. These printers are the only one of their kind that allow for custom coloring.
- Selective laser sintering – Sintering is a process that is used to create solid objects from powders. With selective laser sintering (SLS), this powder may be in the form of metal, plastic, ceramic, or glass. SLS makes use of a pulsed laser to “draw” a cross-section of the object to be printed. Once the powder fuses, another layer is formed on top. This method is typically used within the industrial sector, as it requires the usage of a powerful laser.
- Digital light processing – Most often referred to as DLP, this method of printing converts a vat of polymer into a strong solid via exposure to light. By utilizing this method, a very high accuracy and resolution can be achieved. Like SLS, this is generally a method utilized in the industrial field.
What is the future of 3D printing?
It will take some time, but the goal for 3D printing is to change the way the world does business and interacts. One day, the technology may allow us to craft just about anything – from tools to toys and everything in-between. Perhaps in the future we will be able to fax tangible objects, eliminating the need for postal services mail packages. Only time will tell what all this technology can achieve for us, but the future may be closer than you think!
One of the ongoing problems with the inkjet cartridge is that if it is not used enough the ink that is left inside each of the microscopic nozzles in the print head drys up. OK, lets back up a bit for a quick lesson on print heads. On all inkjet printers what actually drops the ink onto the paper is what is called a print head. There are print head cartridges which has the print head attached to the print cartridge and non-print head cartridges where the print head is not part of the cartridge but is housed inside the printer.
This is a sample of a print head cartridge:
(A) Is the electronics where the information from the PC is sent to the print cartridge and tells the print head (B) how much ink and what color ink in color cartridge to fire out of each nozzle. There can be any where from 600 to upwards of 1200 of these microscopic nozzles on a print head.
Here is a sample of a non-print head cartridge, there is no print head on these types of inkjet cartridges, they are basically a tank that holds the ink.
So, in either system the nozzles can become clogged with dried ink usually from not using that print head enough. Leaving an inkjet printer sit to long without using it is deadly, the ink will dry in these nozzles. Is there a way to prevent this? Well, an engineering team from the University of Missouri have devised a clog-preventing inkjet nozzle by taking inspiration from the human eye, no kidding. I love this kind of thinking. As a film of oil keeps a thin layer of tears from evaporating from the eye, the devised nozzle uses a droplet of silicone oil to cover the nozzle opening when not in use. Because the inkjet nozzles are so small and the area that these nozzles are found is in a very restrictive area trying to duplicate the motion of an eyelid moving across the nozzles was out of the questions. What they did was move the oil across the nozzles by an electric field.
Jae Wan Kwon, one of the members of the team put it this way, “The nozzle cover we invented was inspired by the human eye. The eye and an inkjet nozzle have a common problem: they must not be allowed to dry out, while simultaneously, they must open. We used biomimicry, the imitation of nature, to solve human problems.” Most inkjet printer’s will attempt to clear the clogged nozzles by forcing a burst of ink through the nozzles, this is costly and wasteful. Basically the expensive ink that you pay for is used as a cleaning solution! And this method of clearing the nozzles uses a lot ink, think about it, you pay top dollar for your ink cartridges and then they use it as a cleaning solution to clear dried inkjet nozzles, Jae thought, they must be a better way!
You may be wondering why the company’s that make these inkjet cartridges did not think of this or at least hire a team to look into it. the answer is simple, greed again. Epson is notorious for using massive amounts of ink to clear their print heads. It seems unless you are constantly using an Epson printer the print heads are prone to clogging. I’ve had many customers come in to buy a full set of cartridges in an attempt to clear clogged Epson print heads just to come back the next day and tell me that they went through all of the ink trying to clear the head’s! Of course now they have to buy more ink just so that they can print, win win for Epson. If the procedure did not work they now have to make a decision, buy more ink to try again or just say the hell with it, throw the printer away and buy another one. Not very ecologically sound to say the least.
If the technology that Jae is working on works I wonder what the chances are the major printer manufactures will embrace it? My bet is they won’t want anything to do with it, why would they. In the case of non-print head cartridges that uses a system like Epson they would look at it like they would lose money, why help to keep the nozzles open when if they clog they get to sell more ink. In the case of the print head cartridge, there really is no way to clear and open the nozzles, once they are clogged by dry ink, the only real choice is to throw them away and buy new ones, this is a money maker for the large printer manufactures that produce there own cartridges.
Only time will tell if this technology makes it to the general public, who knows maybe the big boys will get a change of heart, maybe they will actually care about the end consumer instead of just profits and do something that will really help them to save money. Oh yea and don’t forget that it would help the environment in that all of the ink would actually be used in these machines which would keep them from the landfill longer. Let’s see what happens.
We would love to hear your comments on this subject.
If you like the idea of using aftermarket or re-manufactured ink or toner cartridges in your printer and have been doing so for years, there’s nothing more frustrating than buying a new printer and finding out there are no aftermarket supplies for it yet. Why is that? The answer is pretty simple, greed on the part of the major printer manufactures.
Here’s what happens, each year the printer manufactures need to come up with new models to please the masses, this in and of itself is good and it’s how business is done. Consumers want bigger and better, it’s just the way we are. All of the big players in this field like HP, Canon, Epson and Brother make huge profits on selling the ink and toner for their machines, that’s no secret. They want to keep that market all to themselves they will sell some printers at a loss or break even knowing that once you have their printer you are now locked into buying their ink, period. The one place that they can lose market share is through the re-manufacturing industry so they have to try and find way’s to disrupt the flow of aftermarket ink and toner cartridges.
The best way for them to do this is by inventing new cartridges, chips, software and ink that their new printers will use. OK, so you ask how would this disrupt the re-manufacturing industry, simply, we now have to reverse engineer these cartridges before we can re-manufacture them and they know that. This presents a slew of decisions and problems that we the re-manufacturing industry have to solve before you the consumer ever see a re-manufactured cartridge on the shelve.
The first is will the printer be a hit or a bust? Imagine if we spent hundreds of hours on reverse engineering cartridges for a new printer, creating the inks, collected enough empties to start production and then find out the public just did not like the product and decided not to buy. All of that time and money is wasted. So one of the holdups for us is keeping an eye on who the winners will be and who will be the losers, this takes time.
Next, the ink or toner that many of these new models use has just been formulated so they to have to be reverse engineered in such a way that they meet all of the specifications of the original without infringing on any patents held by the parent company. Again before spending thousands and thousands of dollars we need to be certain that there will be enough demand for those particular cartridges. Once we know that, the ink manufactures will figure out the formulation and start mass producing the ink and get it over to the manufacturers.
But even with all of these hurdles, believe it or not the most critical part of this puzzle is getting our hands on enough empties to meet the demand. The OEM (Original Equipment Manufactures) know this and know that this is the weak link in the process. If they can stop or curtail the supply the re-manufacturing industry would grind to a standstill. So what have the OEM’s done? They have implemented all sorts of programs and legal barriers to prevent or make it very difficult for us to get the empties we need! They are basically trying to strangle us by preventing us from getting the raw materials we need, and I thought we lived in a free enterprise system.
HP has made a global effort to remove as many empties from the marketplace under the guise of recycling. Since they started this campaign they have been very successful in keeping millions of cartridges from being re-manufactured. Now the difference between recycling and re-manufacturing is huge. What HP has done is built a huge facility that uses tremendous amounts of energy breaking these cartridges down into their different components with some being used in the production of cartridges but most just being melted down to make something else. It has been proven that re-manufacturing uses much less energy than what HP is doing. Also by re-manufacturing the product is being reused for it’s intended purpose which saves time, money and resources. HP should be ashamed of how they are deceiving the public. If they really wanted to help our environment, they would collect there own cartridges and re-manufacture them and sell them back to the public at a reduced price. We all know that will never happen.
Lexmark has brought to court and won on a little known law about how and when someone can use a printer cartridge for re-manufacture. In a nutshell any manufacturer can use a toner that has been used once in the United States as raw material for production. But if the same toner was used once offshore he can’t use it and could face huge fines by Lexmark, you can read about it here. Our industry collects empties from around the world that feeds our industry and then in turn pass on the savings to the end user, you the consumer. The only reason Lexmark dragged this law out of the closet is they are desperate and need to find and use any and all means available to them to try and stop us. The sad part about this whole story is that the courts are backing them up. To add insult to injury, Lexmark is asking that the offending parties buying the empty cartridge pay what the cost of the toner would have sold for here in the United States in a retail store! Here’s what that means, let’s say a toner sold for $150 in Staples. The re-manufacturer has been paying $3 for that empty cartridge, then he has to put it though the process of re-manufacturing and then sell it for a profit. The middle man gets it and then sells it to the retail operation to sell to the consumer at a reduced price compared to the original, let’s say for this example it would sell for $99.99.By Lexmark asking that the re-manufacturer pay the OEM price of $150, he just put that person out of business. This is free enterprise? Laws like this should be removed from the books or modified for modern times, this is insane. Our government talks about creating jobs and then we see this type of behavior.
Epson has sued and won using basically the same strategies, US business’s can only use empties that are acquired in the United States. Again the only reason businesses would do something like this is they are very concerned about the inroads we as an industry are making. We are taking market share and they don’t like it, but as the old saying goes, if you can’t stand the heat, get the hell out of the kitchen. Using these tactics will in the end backfire and not work.
The consumer has spoken and they are saying they are sick and tired of paying so much for printer cartridges. We are listening as should the OEM’s. They know our products work and if they had any sense they would jump on the band wagon and re-manufacturer their own cartridges and make some money off of them in stead of just shredding them or spending millions of dollars on legal cost trying to prevent our industry from providing the consumer with an alternative.
We at Ink & Toner Solutions keep a list of ink jets and toners that are in R&D. As our customers ask for these items we explain to them the process and then put them on a list so we can inform them as soon as their cartridge model comes on line. Our customers like the savings but more importantly they understand that they are also doing their part in helping save our planet by using recycled products. Hell if you can spend less money, get the same quality as the original product and help to recycle at the same time, why would’t you do it?
We would love to hear your comments on this situation. Have you run into this before? Did you find a solution?
Click The Link Below To See If We Carry The Cartridges You Need. If You Don’t See What Your Looking For Contact Us.
So what is toner? We get asked that all the time. First off let’s make sure we are all talking about the right kind of toner, what we are not talking about is the cosmetic toner, you know that lotion or wash designed to cleanse the skin and shrink the appearance of pores.
No, the toner we are talking about is what’s inside the toner cartridge you buy for your printer, it’s the actual medium that lets your printer lay down the images and text that you see come out on your paper.
The toner itself is an electrically-charged powder with two main ingredients: Pigment and Plastic. The role of the pigment is to provide the coloring, black, cyan, magenta or yellow that produces the text and images on the paper. This pigment is blended into plastic particles so that it will melt when it passes through the fuser which gets heated to a high enough temperature to melt these plastic particles.This quality gives toner powder a number of advantages over liquid ink. Using heat to melt the toner onto the medium causes it to firmly bind to almost any type of paper which means the text won’t smudge or bleed easily which is sometimes the case with liquid inks used in ink jet printers.
This is toner at it’s most basic level which should suffice for this article. Needless to say there is much more in depth explanations that go into the chemical composition and scientific research of toner but that is not the scope of this post, we just want to give a brief overview of what toner powder is and how it works in the printer you use every day.
Each manufacturer spends millions of dollars on R&D and testing in an attempt to make their toner the best on the market. Toner product and the materials that make up the toner is an ever evolving industry. Consumers always want more, for example when toner was first introduced into the market there was only black. Now due to demand we have color laser printers, each toner color had to be invented and researched to produce the desired results. Customers wanted faster print times, that meant the toner had to be changed so it could melt on the paper at faster and faster speeds.
So, how does this toner powder get onto the paper? Well the toner is usally held in what we call the toner hopper which is inside the toner cartridge that you buy. The printer gathers the toner from the hopper with what is called the developer unit.
The developer is actually a collection of small, negatively charged magnetic beads. These beads are attached to a rotating metal roller, which moves them throughout the toner in the toner hopper.
Because they are negatively charged, the developer beads collect the positive toner particles as they pass through. The roller then brushes the beads past the drum assembly. The electrostatic image has a stronger negative charge than the developer beads, so the drum pulls the toner particles away.
The drum then moves over the paper, which has an even stronger charge and so grabs the toner.
After collecting the toner, the paper is immediately discharged by the detac corona wire. At this point, the only thing keeping the toner on the page is gravity, if you were to blow on the page at this point, you would completely lose the image as the toner would simply blow away. The page must pass through the fuser to affix the toner. The fuser rollers are heated by internal quartz tube lamps, so the plastic in the toner melts as it passes through.
Here’s a simplified schematic of the major parts of a laser printer showing the toner hopper, corona wire, fuser, drum assembly and developer roller. When the paper is grabed from the paper tray it passes through the various parts of the printer at a high rate of speed. This is evident from watching how long it takes from the time you hit print to the time your page comes out complete with text and images. If you pick the page up as soon as it comes out of the printer you can still feel the heat form the fuser that melted the toner onto the paper.
So what is the main advantage of a laser printer Vs a ink jet printer? Speed, precision and economy. A laser can move very quickly, it can print with much greater speed than an ink jet. Laser printers do tend to cost more than ink jet printers but that is offset by the fact that it doesn’t cost as much to keep them running. Toner powder last a long time and still be usable, unlike ink jets that can dry up if you don’t use them. If your looking to print high quality photo’s better to get a high end ink jet, if your looking to print a lot of text documents or even color presentations for office use, get a laser printer.
Let us know what you think of the post, we love to hear from our readers so we can improve and write blogs that our readers want us to write.
Question – What if I neglect my ink jet printer for long periods, will it affect the print quality?
The simple answer is – Not using your inkjet printer for long periods WILL cause the ink in your cartridge to dry out, first affecting the print quality and eventually rendering the cartridge useless. Most of us are trying to save money any way we can. One item in a house hold that can get very expensive is ink for a printer. Many of our customers have told us that they would not print for weeks or months in an effort to save money. Sounds like a good idea but here’s where the problem lies with doing this. Continue reading
Have you ever walked into a computer store or a big box store and seen the samples of what you can accomplish with the newest photo-quality inkjet printers? But getting those same results at home can be a daunting task if you don’t feed the right paper into your printer. All those photo-centric papers on display and they all claim to be the best, how is someone to make the right choice? Continue reading