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Printer Ink Technology And How It Has Evolved


When you go to buy printer ink, the abundance of options may be overwhelming. With all the advancements made in printer ink technology over the years, its not surprising that varying ink technologies try to hype their benefits. By taking a look back at the evolution of the product, though, you can get a better understanding of why there are so many options in today's market.

One of the oldest examples of printer ink technology is continuous inkjet. A high pressure pump pushes liquid ink through a nozzle and onto the substrate, the material being printed on, in a continuous stream. In moments that ink is not needed, it is redirected into a collection gutter for re-use. Because the drops are ejected so quickly, it allows for very high speed printing. And because the stream of liquid ink is constant, there is no chance for the nozzle to get clogged. This type of printing was first used in commercial devices in the early 1950's and is still a common choice of printing method for commercial printing.

But it wasn't until the late 1970s that inkjet printers were developed that could reproduce computer generated images. Before the advent of inkjet technology, dot matrix printers used an ink-soaked ribbon that had to be replaced frequently in order to ensure high quality prints. It printed on the substrate by impact striking the ribbon against the paper in a way similar to a typewriter. It allowed for more variations than a type writer though due to the fact that the characters are drawn from a dot matrix. This allowed for changes in font and the inclusion of special graphics.

Most modern consumer inkjet printers use a thermal inkjet. In this method, the printer sends a signal which creates a tiny current and heats the ink resulting in a bubble that pushes out the required ink from the print head. If the print head is dry, the quality of the print decreases. Any time you need to buy more printer ink, you are replacing the entire printer head. Some print heads can also be re-filled with more ink to reduce cost and waste of replenishing your printer's ink.

A similar type of printer ink technology is the piezoelectric inkjet. These use a piezoelectric crystal instead of the type of heating element found in the thermal inkjet. This allows them to use higher quality inks and produce finer quality, high-resolution images for a similar cost. They are also more economical in ink usage.

As printer ink technology advances, you will continue to see improvements and options when you go to buy printer ink.

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