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The Different Types of Ink Cartridges

April 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 226

As all printer users are only too painfully aware, the ink contained in their printers' ink cartridges eventually runs out. Whether this concerns the owner of a printer purchased for simple home use, or the person in charge of a large company's office supplies, they have to consider the various cartridge types available, and decide how best to restore their printers to full working order. Fortunately, there are a few options available for getting any printer back online and fully functioning.

OEM cartridges

The simplest option is to buy new ink cartridges produced by the printer's manufacturer, suitable for that model of printer. These are known as OEM (original equipment manufacturer) ink cartridges. An OEM ink cartridge is exactly the same model and brand of cartridge that came with the printer when it was purchased. This, generally, is the most expensive option, but it has the advantage of reassuring the customer that their new ink cartridge is exactly right for their particular model of printer.

Compatible cartridges

A more economical alternative solution is to purchase a compatible cartridge produced by an independent manufacturer of ink cartridges. This is a cartridge manufactured to virtually the same specifications as the original one supplied by the printer manufacturer. The savings can be considerable with this option, especially regarding office supplies, where heavy printer use means that ink cartridge replacements are a frequent and routine occurrence. The disadvantage of this option, as printer manufacturing companies are quick to point out, lies in the fact that it's not possible to attain exactly the same specifications as the original cartridge without violating patents held by the original printer manufacturer.

Discrepancies in specifications may show up in several ways, such as the replacement cartridge reporting false indications of remaining ink, for example. Quality of ink is another possible consideration. However, most compatible cartridges produced by reputable companies are of very high quality and there are no significant issues affecting reliability or print quality.

Re-manufactured cartridges

Another cost-cutting alternative is to buy re-manufactured cartridges. These are used OEM cartridges that a third party company has obtained, dismantled, cleaned, reassembled, and refilled with fresh ink, ready for resale. This option is attractive, not only for the savings it brings, but also because it's more environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, not all models of cartridge can be rebuilt and refilled successfully. Those that can, however, can boast exactly the same specifications as when they were first produced, provided that the replacement ink is of similar quality.

Thermal and piezoelectric cartridges

Ink cartridges are manufactured in two different ways, resulting in two different ink delivery systems. Both have the same aim of squeezing microscopic droplets of ink onto the paper in a precisely controlled manner. The most common method achieves this by applying heat to expand the volume of ink in the nozzle, causing controlled ink droplets to spill out. The other method exploits the 'piezoelectric' effect, in which a crystal in the nozzle is varied in size, again, causing a controlled spill-out of ink onto the paper. These technically different methods, produce no significant differences in print quality or speed, and can be safely ignored by the purchaser.

Ben Greenwood is writing on behalf of Cartridge World, the UK's leading specialist in printer cartridges, including toner cartridges and inkjet cartridges.

Source: EzineArticles
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