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What is Printing Consumables? How to Choose?

In printing consumables, this product refers to products that are both used in and used up by the printing process. The most common examples are ink and toner cartridges in desktop inkjet and laser printers. The printing process requires ink or toner to be transferred out of a cartridge and onto a substrate; once all of the ink or toner has been used the cartridge must be refilled or, more typically, replaced entirely. Other examples include paper, ribbons, fuser units, rollers, belts, and image drums.

Printing consumables are often overlooked when considering a printer purchase. However, given their important role in ensuring the maintenance and functionality of your equipment, it’s clear that consumables rank highly on the office supply list of any organisation.

Consumables are often quite expensive to buy, particularly those that are produced by the printer manufacturer and sold either directly or via an approved supplier; there are a variety of manufacturers who produce their own printing consumable products that are compatible with existing products 9often at more competitive prices).

Below are five facts that you might not know about this familiar, yet under-appreciated, printer accessory.

1. Printing Consumables are more than just cartridges. Printer ink cartridges, toner cartridges and other supplies including printer drums and printer fuser units are all classified as “printing consumables,” or products that are purchased recurrently as part of your printer’s regular maintenance.

2. Printing consumables are recyclable. Of the more than 65 million printer cartridges sold in the UK each year, only about 15 per cent are recycled or reused. Many of the top printer manufacturers such as OKI, HP and Lexmark offer recycling programmes which allow you to return your used ink and toner cartridges via freepost. Visit your printer manufacturer’s website to learn more about how you can reduce waste, help the environment and ensure that your consumables do not end up in landfill.

3. Manufacturer-approved printing consumables are best. Budget ink and toner cartridges can not only affect the quality of your printing, they can also potentially damage your printer and invalidate your warranty. Consumables recommended by your manufacturer have been designed to work with your hardware and deliver quality prints. Although it may be tempting to consider alternative products, always purchase manufacturer-approved products from an authorised reseller.

4. High-capacity printing consumables can increase the affordability of your printer. Purchasing an inexpensive printer doesn’t always equal additional savings if you are replacing ink and toner more often than necessary. Depending on the model, cartridges can last anywhere from a few pages on budget inkjet printers to 40,000 pages on top laser models before requiring replacement. Be sure you’ve selected a printer that is appropriate for your usage needs and consider models with high-capacity cartridges to reduce your overall cost per page.

5. There’s more to ink than you think. Each manufacturer specifically formulates and patents the ink in their cartridges to work with their printers. Since third-party inks are likely to be different, there’s a greater chance off clogging the print head – a fine sieve that the ink passes through on its way to the paper. Clogs result in imperfections such as streaks, smears or dotting and if the print head is part of the printer, rather than in the cartridge itself, repairs may be costly. Always consult the printer information provided by your manufacturer before considering third-party printing consumables.

Do you wonder how laser printers work? Far from it being some kind of magical spell, there are complicated processes involving lasers, mirrors, carbon, static and heat. Read on to find out how laser printers work and what they do.

How does a laser printer work?

How a laser printer words

 1) The printers laser beams your print onto a metal drum.
 2) The drum uses static electricity to attract powdered toner to the drums cylinder.
 3) The drum rolls the toner onto the paper in the form of your print.
 4) The toner is melted & pressed onto the paper by heat from a fuser as it passes through its rollers.
 5) Your print comes out of the printer.
 6) Find the full technical explanation here.

What does a laser printer do?

There are many different types of printer available on the market today, and each uses various technologies to achieve a similar result of the printed page. The laser printer was the first to be invented and was done so in 1969 by Gary Starkweather while working in the Xerox product development team. His idea was to use lasers to imprint an image onto a copier drum which would then be transferred onto paper. Hence, the name ‘Laser printer’.

Do laser printers need ink?

No, laser printers use coloured powder called toner which is very different from the liquid ink used in inkjet printers.

Are laser printers better than inkjet printers?

Why choose a laser printer over any other type of printer like an inkjet? Laser printers are very efficient and cost-effective to use when you need to print in large quantities over short periods. The toner cartridges hold enough to print thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of pages, which is beyond the capabilities of most inkjet printers. This also makes them more cost-effective than inkjet printers.

However, as inkjet technology is advancing, there are now many business inkjet machines that are exceptions to the rule.

How Laser Printers Work – Full Technical Explanation

For those who love a good technical explanation including all the ins and outs, and science behind how a laser printer works, read on. There are many moving parts and components inside a laser printer that work together to produce your final document or image, each have an important part to play. The key parts of the printer include, toner cartridges, image drum (also known as drum unit or photo-conductor), transfer roller or belt, fuser unit, laser, and mirrors.

Step-by-step:

(1) The moment you press print on your computer, tablet or mobile device, the information is sent to the printer memory, where the data is stored temporarily.
(2) The printer begins to warm up. This is the point where you usually need to wait, and it’s because the corona wire is heating up and getting ready to pass its positive static charge to the drum.
(3) As the drum (coated metal cylinder) begins to roll, it received a positive charge across its whole surface. Some printers contain four drums, one for each colour – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black.
(4) The laser activates, and beams against a series of mirrors to reflect across the surface of the drum(s) imprinting the shape of your print using an opposite negative electrical charge.
(5) The toner cartridge and hopper sat next to the drum(s) slowly releases positively charged carbon toner particles on to the drum as it turns. The toner is attracted to any areas of negative charge leaving positively charged areas of the drum untouched.
(6) The transfer belt rolls the paper through the printer giving it a positive charge. As it passes the drum, the negatively charged toner is attracted to the page in the shape of your print.
(7) The toner is then melted to the paper by hot rollers called the fuser unit, and voila, your page is printed.

Printer Components Explained

 

Ricoh copier toner cartridge

Toner Cartridge

A toner cartridge contains coloured or carbon / iron oxide powder (toner) that is positively charged, and then melted onto the paper. Toner Cartridges are a consumable item that needs to be replaced in a laser printer once the cartridge is empty and is available in 4 different colours black, cyan, magenta and yellow (CMYK).


Ricoh mp401 drum unit

Drum Unit

A drum unit is a metal cylinder that has a special coating (green colour) That can receive a static positive and negative electrical charge from the laser within a laser printer. The drum can be seen in the printer as a green cylinder and can sometimes be built into the toner cartridge rather than a standalone unit.

The drum receives its initial static charge from the corona wire which is heated during the printer warm up process.


Ricoh laser spare parts

Laser

The laser part of the printer transmits light from the diode across a series of mirrors. They reflect the laser onto the drum unit to imprint the shape of the intended print.


Ricoh laser spare parts

Transfer Belt

The transfer belt moves the paper through your printer and passes it across the drum so that the toner can be transferred. Some smaller printers do not have a transfer belt but instead have rollers that act in the same way as a belt.


Ricoh laser spare parts

Fuser Unit

The fuser unit is a heated roller that melts the toner particles onto the page as it passes through. This seals the toner to the page so it’s no longer in powder form and makes sure that the toner doesn’t smudge of fall off the paper when it comes out of the printer.


For more information on the wide range of printer consumables available from WEEMAY visit: https://weemay.com/

4 Simple Ways to Recycle Your Old Printer Cartridges

Old or spent printer cartridges can pile up quickly, especially if you own more than one printer. With over 350 million ink and toner cartridges ending up in our landfills each year, proper cartridge recycling is more important than ever. Thankfully, many convenient cartridge recycling solutions exist…read on to find the best option for you!

Drop them off at your local office supply store

Many office supply retailers will gladly take back your used or spent cartridges. If you have an office supply store in your area, check their website to see if the store accepts ink and toner cartridges, most will recycle them in a heartbeat!

Find a local recycling facility

Local recycling facilities are a lot easier to find than you might think. If the neighborhood big box store isn’t a viable recycling option for you, visit Earth911® to find the recycling center nearest you. Just type in the material you would like to recycle (ink and toner) add your zipcode and you will be shown an extensive list of recycling locations in your area. Earth911.com also offers an easy to use recycling app called iRecycle, which features more than 1,600,000 ways to recycle over 350 materials. If you have other recyclable goods that you need to dispose of like paint or batteries, you can easily cross those off your to-do list too!

Make some extra cash of your own or fundraise for your school, church or nonprofit

Earning extra cash is easy with the eCycle Group®. Just collect at least 20 items or 20 pounds worth of qualifying product, print out your free shipping label and send off your empty cartridges. The eCycle Group works with thousands of businesses, schools, churches and nonprofits throughout the country, with many organizations using the service as a fundraising opportunity. They even offer a number of free fundraising tools directly on their site, including flyer templates and tips for a successful recycling campaign. In order for your cartridges to be accepted, they must be on the pre-approved recycling price list and received in good condition. If you are mailing cartridges, be sure to individually wrap each cartridge in bubble wrap or newspaper to minimize damage in transit. Keep in the mind, the company only accepts original brand cartridges, damaged and remanufactured cartridges are not eligible. Checks are issued monthly and profits range anywhere between .23 cents to $9.00, depending on the cartridge.

Consider refilling your original brand ink cartridges

If you have an original brand ink cartridge that you have used just once, there is a very good chance you can refill and reuse that cartridge with the correct ink refill kit. Most refill kits include a bottle of ink, a syringe, screw tool, plastic gloves and refilling instructions. To refill, you will need to manually inject the appropriate level of ink into the cartridge. Once the cartridge is at capacity, you should be able to reuse the cartridge again and print as expected. Be sure the refill kit you’ve purchased is intended for your specific cartridge series, refill instructions and ink capacities vary across brand and cartridge type. Inkcartridges.com offers a number of refill kits for some of our most popular ink cartridges, including kits for HP® and Canon®. Please note, ink cartridges can only be refilled a couple of times. Eventually, your prints will start to diminish in quality and you will need to buy a brand ink new cartridge.

Contact your printer manufacturer to see if they have a recycling program in place

Most companies offer recycling programs for their products, so it’s worth checking with them to see if they’ll take your old cartridges. For example, HP runs a recycling program that allows consumers to mail their toner cartridges back to the company for recycling, free of charge.

With so many eco-friendly options available, recycling your printer cartridges can easily become routine. Educate others on the importance and simplicity of recycling. By making a cooperative effort to properly dispose of our ink and toner we can prevent a significant number of cartridges from ending up in the landfill and collectively reduce our carbon footprint!

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