Often the people responsible for buying replacement supplies for office equipment have very limited experience with the equipment as anything but a basic user. This is certainly the case when it comes to buying ink cartridges and toners.

For many offices and business in Orange County, mistakes are made when buying ink and toner that may actually impact the quality of the print job as well as the life of the printer. Avoiding these mistakes and understanding why buying the correct components is important will extend the life of the printer and provide a top quality print job regardless of the type of printer.

Inkjet Printers

For offices, the two most common types of printers will be laser printers and inkjet printers. Each requires a different type of material or product in order to print. With the inkjet printers the ink used is very similar to the ink used in fountain pens of the past.
It is a thin, liquid type of ink that comes pre-loaded in cartridges that are self-contained and snap into and out of the cartridge holder in the printer. The ink can be black, or it can be colored through the use of pigments or through dye. The different cartridges of yellow, magenta and cyan, which combine to create all other colors produced by the printer.

Laser Printers

Laser printers use an extremely fine ground powder that is called toner. This is usually a polyester, which is actually a form of plastic that is used in everything from clothing to furniture items. This fine powder holds to the paper through a static charge.

This is done through a drum that holds a static copy of what is to be printed. As the fine powder comes from the cartridge onto the paper, it adheres in the pattern but not to the areas of the paper over parts of the drum not electrostatically charged.

Once the fine powder is on the paper, the sheet is run through a fuser that provides the heat necessary to literally melt the polyester onto the paper. This is why prints from a laser printer do not become fuzzy or blurry since they are no ink pigments but rather the images are formed by very thin heated polyester.

There are laser printers that use only black toner, which are often used for basic types of printing needs. There are also options for full-color printing with laser printers. These machines will need the multi-color options in toners to create the bright, crisp colors that are a hallmark of this printing technology.

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