In the mid 1980s, our primary efforts were aimed at ensuring quality reproduction of scanned images in newspapers and print media in general.
It was only some ten years later that the price of printer cartridges began taking its toll on the average Office Budget - mostly due to the vagaries of foreign exchange rates.
By MRTEST then, it had also become clear that the then recently purchased laser printers would require the attention of specialised technicians; not the current incumbent "System Monitors", who would later became known as the "IT Department."
So, our involvement in printer cartridges and printer repairs was more driven by prevailing economic factors, than by design.
The consumption rate of ink or toner depends on how you use your printer and on the prints that are made. Text only prints use far less toner or ink than large images like pictures and logos.
With Black-only printers, this is not an issue, since there is only one cartridge to consider
In colour printers, inks or toners in the printer cartridges are not consumed evenly.
Whilst printing plain text, mainly Black is used. Some colour printer manufactureres introduce other colours along with the Black for purposes of tonal variation and contrast, or, with inkjets, simply as a coolant for the print heads inside some printers (these can heat up to around 360 degrees C)
Of course, when colour images are printed, most colours in the cartridges come into play.
Some colour inkjet printers will have a Black cartridge and one so-called Tri-colour cartridge. Others will have the Black plus one cartridge for each of Cyan (light Blue), Magenta (Pink) and Yellow. Yet others will have even more cartridges for photo clarity, with names like PhotoBlack, Light Cyan etc. Obviously, the more cartridges, the more the expense.
In the latter instances, you donít have to replace all cartridges at once, but once one cartridge is empty, most printers will stop working until that cartridge has been replaced.
A visit to the local stationery or computer store will indicate that a wide range of printer cartridges is available in most developed markets. To assist in making the best choice for your wallet and your peace of mind, it's important to note that there are three types of cartridges available, namely OEM, Compatible (generic) and Remanufactured printer cartridges.
OEM Cartridges (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
Briefly, OEM cartridges are also termed "genuine" or "original". They are products made by the printer manufacturers. HP OEM toner cartridges are manufactured by HP for use in their own specific model HP printers or fax machines.
The key advantage of using OEM cartridges is that you get exactly the same formulation of ink or toner as shipped with your printer originally.
OEM printer cartridges are the most expensive in the market. In fact, replacement cartridges could cost more than a new printer. Printer manufacturers justify this by citing that they investe heavily in technical development, machinery and technology in order to manufacture these quality cartridges.
Compatible (Generic) Cartridges
Compatible printer cartridges are so-called "off-brand" or "off-label". These are manufactured by third-party manufacturers - companies that don't necessarily manufacture printers. For example, "Verbatim" are one of the trusted compatible printer cartridge manufacturers. They only manufacture and sell office consumables, not the machines themselves.
The main "plus" of compatible cartridges is that they're brand-new, but less costly than their OEM counterparts.
The price difference usually does not mean sacrificing quality, but be advised to obtain professional advice on the respective brands.
These are not simple imitations of the original. Indeed, compatible printer cartridges must be of a different design to escape copyright infringements with printer manufacturers. Despite the differences, they are 100% compatible with the designated printer model stated on the label or packaging.
There are instances where printers of different brands are manufactured using similar equipment, processes, or so called print engines. For example, some models of HP Laser printers are produced using the same technology, parts and processes as those used and licensed by Canon. Therefore, some HP and Canon printer cartridges are compatible and can be interchanged. The same can be said for the manufacturers producing generic printer cartridges.
A disadvantage of all this is that print quality may vary from one manufacturer to the next. Again, you should seek professional advice on this.
Most printer manufacturers produce printer cartridges that have extremely complex designs. The print technology and components, like print heads, are incorporated inside the cartridge casing instead of having them as either separate, or integrated parts, of the printer.
Remanufactured cartridges exist mainly because many printer models are of such complex design and technology that they simply cannot use compatible cartridges for legal and copyright reasons.
Previously used cartridges are stripped, cleaned and have the worn parts or components replaced and then replenished with toner or ink. A good remanufacturer will have machines for testing their quality before they are sold for re-use.
Remanufactured cartridges also contribute to the conservation of the environment and to decreasing waste in landfills.
Instead of discarding empty cartridges, recycle them for re-use.
These cartridges cannot be mass-produced. The number of remanufactured printer cartridges in any market is determined by the volume of re-usable empty cartridges.
Like compatible cartridges, the quality depends mainly on the remanufacturer.
Some simply drill a hole and refill the ink or toner, and cover or seal the hole. They don't use efficient quality control, therefore the print quality suffers. These practices have given this particular niche industry a bad name in years gone by.
However, most remanufacturers today make use of full quality control processes for every stage of production to ensure a stable, reliable product.
The ever increasing prices of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartidges prompted us to supply re-manufactured cartridges, thus achieving print savings between 40 to 60 percent, and being enviornmentally friendly.
These cartridges carry exactly the same guarantee as the original product and often perform better.
Most popular brands can be remanufactured - all we need is your empty cartridge casing.