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How High Capacity Printer Ink Cartridges Work


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Most printer ink cartridges utilized for printing employ inkjet technology. Understanding this technology helps handle critical efficiency issues.

Since their introduction in the 1980s, inkjet printers have been through effective redesigning and innovation to achieve their current level of efficiency and output. Proprietary printer ink cartridges function by deploying tiny droplets of ink on the paper, either by vaporization or by high-pressure jets, instantaneously creating the image when it dries. Over the years, prices have dropped drastically, and remanufactured printer ink cartridges have been in continuous use in recent years, primarily due to their cost-effectiveness and final product quality.

The working of this technology is based on the accurate smudging of dots (approximately 50-70 microns in diameter) of different colored inks in close proximity, i.e., up to 1440x720 dpi. The deployment of these dots in a line (or each sweep of cartridge) to create text or image is based upon the concept of pixels in image creation. Ejecting these droplets is achieved by thermal excitation of ink to yield vapors or by implementing a piezoelectric transducer to initiate the impulse jet of droplets. The sweep of the cartridge across a line on a page is controlled using a stepper motor.

Printer ink cartridges are composed of individual compartments containing water-based or oil-based inks cupped in high-vacuum bulbs and appended with a pressure buffer. The containers have individual supplies to the print head through nozzles, whose tips have tiny metal clamps that act as resistors. These clamps are serialized to the control circuit flap, which is composed of an integrated circuit to decode the signal from the parallel ports and actuate the heating impulses to the resistors to initiate vapor or droplet jets. The speed, efficiency and efficacy of printers depends on the entire assembly.

Remanufactured printer ink cartridges exhibit better performance as far as prints per cartridge is concerned. Moreover, the prices of most brand new cartridges are often comparable to printer assemblies. Original equipment manufacturers have unequivocally discouraged consumers from using such recycled cartridges that are sold and/or serviced by third party service providers, often stating warranty issues as a reason not to purchase them. Yet, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (in the USA) disallows such claims, protecting consumer rights.

Remanufactured printer ink has often been accused of rendering low quality prints, and also been accused of damaging print heads in printers. This may be attributed to inefficient post-refilling quality checks. Nevertheless, apart from being a cost effective and robust option, refilling printer ink cartridges has also proven to be highly eco-friendly because it has been reported that each such cartridge manufactured attributes to approx 5 kg of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere.

Logos and brand names of manufacturers such as HP, Canon, Epson, Xerox, Samsung, Apple, Brother, Dell, IBM and others are registered trademarks of their respective owners. All references to brands are solely made for the purpose of illustrating compatibility of toner and ink cartridges. Their use on does not imply endorsement or association by respective owners.