Consumers And Businesses Should Be Aware Of Wasted Ink

2013-07-02 09:04:18

Published on 2013-07-02 09:04:18

Printing can be a costly process for consumers and businesses, so it is important that they search for ways to save money where it is possible.

This all starts the second a machine is purchased, as the system that is selected will dictate running costs down the line. In the current economy, companies are sometimes walking a financial tight-rope in order to keep competitive.

Therefore, to help a business prosper, it is important the top technology available is selected, or they could find themselves stalling and being overtaken by competitors.

To analyse the true cost of ink, Consumer Reports has completed a study that looks into how much of the ink purchased by consumers actually goes onto their paper.

It discovered that, in some examples, ink is used to clean print heads and complete other maintenance, often when a machine is preparing to print after sitting idle.

What else is ink used for besides printing?

The Consumer Reports study highlights that ink is used for a number of purposes, and is not only important in order to print materials. 

It carried out the work after complaints from its subscribers found that they were getting less mileage from their inkjet cartridges than they expected.

The firm believes that readers were often printing intermittently at a rate of only a few times per week rather than continuously. Due to this, the machines conduct more maintenance cycles.

In an effort to explore this problem, Consumer Reports formulated a new test that looked at a printer when 30 pages were printed in batches of two or three pages once or twice a day for three weeks.

Testers shut off the printer between sessions and the results showed that, after intermittent use, a number of models delivered half or less of their ink to the page, while few managed no more than 20 to 30 per cent.

Another conclusion of the study was that performance does not need to be sacrificed in order to save on ink, as a number of top-performing models were among those that used the least amount of ink for maintenance purposes.

Which printers use the least ink for maintenance?

Consumer Reports analysed a number of printers in regard to the amount of ink they use to maintain their processes.

For example, the findings show that Epson Expression Premium XP-800 is frugal when it comes to ink use for maintenance, whereas the Canon Pixma MX922 tends to use more cartridges for these purposes.

These results were based on the annual ink costs for each printer to print 380 pages of text, colour graphics and 65 photos.

The firm found that Brother machines were the most consistently frugal with ink when used intermittently, though the amount of ink used varied significantly depending on the type of machine.

An example of this is the Envy series, which used relatively little ink for maintenance in comparison to the Photosmart range.

However, consumers cannot control how often a maintenance cycle occurs, as they take place depending on a frequency set by the printer manufacturer.

Paul Reynolds, electronics editor, Consumer Reports, said: “We accept that printer maintenance is required for optimal printing, and that not all printers can be as miserly as the most frugal model we found. But, if manufacturers can make some printers that are frugal, why can't they better apply those design lessons to make more models use ink efficiently?"

How to reduce ink consumption 

Consumers can reduce the number of maintenance cycles by leaving the power on, which will avoid triggering a maintenance cycle every time the machine is used.

Printing in draft mode can also cause the number of ink used to stop, but large numbers of photographs will quickly use up cartridges, adding extra expense for customers.  

Furthermore, cartridges should only be changed when it is absolutely necessary, as the cycles begin once this is done.

For those people who print a wide variety of articles, purchasing a laser machine solely for black-and-white printouts could be a great idea, as these do not use maintenance ink.

Posted by Barry Ashmore.

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