How Toner Cartridges Work？
What do printers do? Well, they make paper copies of what's on your screen. But contrary to what you may think, modern LaserJet toner cartridges don't print using ink. So then how do LaserJet toner cartridges work?
Here's everything you need to know about LaserJet printers, toner cartridges, and which ones are the best to buy.
One of the interesting aspects of laser printers and copiers is the toner.
Rather than the printer applying ink, the paper actually “grabs” the toner.
The toner itself is not ink, but rather an electrically-charged powder made of plastic and pigment.
A LaserJet printer consists of several components. Let's start with the photoreceptor drum assembly, a revolving cylinder made of photoconductive material.
Printers beam a laser beam across the surface of this revolving drum. The drum has a positive charge, but the laser discharges the points it comes in contact with, leaving the resulting image with a negative charge (or vice versa). In this way, the laser draws the document or image you wish to print.The printer then coats the drum not with ink, but with powder. This powder sticks to the electrostatic image the laser has drawn. The powder consists of two ingredients: pigment and plastic. Pigment provides the color, while the plastic is there to adhere the pigment to paper. This mixture, known as toner, is spun in a component called the hopper.
The printer then feeds paper under the drum, first giving the paper a stronger negative charge than that of the electrostatic image. This enables the paper to pull the powder away from the drum.
The paper then passes through a pair of heated rollers referred to as the fuser. As it does, the plastic particles melt and blend with the paper. This process allows the powder to adhere to more types of paper than conventional ink, as long as they can handle the fuser's heat.
This is also why paper is hot when it first comes out of a laser printer.
Toner cartridges may largely do the same task, but they're not all the same. When planned obsolescence kicks in and the time comes to invest in a new one, you want to make sure you're buying a quality product.
To save money and walk away with the kind of experience you want, here are some questions to keep in mind while shopping:
Does the cartridge work in your printer? If you're buying a new cartridge, this is as simple as matching brand and model numbers. But if you're looking at third-party options, you may have to do more research. Even if a cartridge theoretically works with your printer, differences in toner powder or other components can result in damage. Triple-check reviews and whatever other information you can get your hands on.
How much does it cost to print a page? Toner cartridges can be expensive, sometimes more expensive than the cost of the printer itself. When comparing price, look at the cost per page, rather than the total cost of the cartridge. This gives you a more accurate read on whether one cartridge is truly more affordable than another.
How many pages can you print? Toner cartridges may be expensive, but you're getting a lot of pages for your buck. The average compatible toner cartridge for kyocera lasts over 1,500 pages. Some print more, and some print less. How many pages is an acceptable number to you?
Can you recycle this cartridge? Some LaserJet toner cartridge manufacturers provide their own recycling programs. Various department stores also perform this service. See which options are available in your area, and which brands are supported.
Manufacturers test and design new cartridges specifically for your machine. Refilling a cartridge adds variability to the process. Is it guaranteed to break your printer? Not at all. But you are exposing yourself to that risk. Though if you're used to buying used products, you may already be comfortable with such a gamble.
Unfortunately, you may not even have the option. Like inkjet printers, some LaserJet toner cartridges now contain chips that communicate when a cartridge is empty. You can refill the product, but without the ability to reset the chip, the printer will still think there's nothing there.
You may also notice a difference in print quality. A refilled cartridge might not give you the kind of crisp prints you expect. You may also find that you're not getting as many prints as you were before.
How does toner work?
The two ingredients of toner, plastic and pigment, each have a simple role in the printing process.
The pigment provides the color, while the plastic allows the pigment to stick to the paper when the plastic is heated and melts.
The melting process gives laser toner an advantage over ink, in that it binds firmly to the paper fibers, resisting smudges and bleeding.
This also provides an even, vivid tone that helps text appear sharp on paper.
Another advantage of toner is the cost. Offices usually choose laser printers because the cost of replacing the toner cartridges is less than inkjet printer cartridges, and laser printers tend to cost only slightly more than inkjet printers.
Anatomy of a toner cartridge
The design of a compatible toner cartridge for ricoh varies with different models and manufacturers, but the following components are commonly found in most toner cartridges.
Toner hopper:The small container which houses the toner
Seal:A removable strip that prevents toner from spilling before installation
Doctor blade: Helps control the precise amount of toner that is distributed to the developer
Developer:Transfers toner to the OPC drum
Waste bin:Collects residual toner wiped from the OPC drum
Wiper blade:Wipes away residual toner applied to the page
Primary charge roller (PCR):Applies a uniform negative to the OPC drum prior to laser-writing. It also erases the laser image
Organic photo-conductor (OPC) drum:holds an electrostatic image and transfers toner onto the paper
Drum shutter:protects the drum from light when outside the machine and retracts the drum into the printer
How does the cartridge work?
In most cartridges, the toner hopper, developer and drum assembly are all part of the replaceable cartridge unit.
When an image or text is being printed on paper, the printer gathers toner from the hopper with the developer.
The developer, composed of negatively-charged magnetic beads attached to a metal roller, moves through the hopper gathering toner.
The developer collects positively-charged toner particles and brushes them past the drum assembly.
The electrostatic image on the drum has a stronger negative charge than the beads on the developer, so the toner is pulled from the developer onto the drum.
Next, the drum moves over the paper. The paper has an even stronger negative charge than the drum, and pulls the toner particles off of the drum in the shape of the electrostatic image.
Next, the paper is discharged by the detac corona wire.
At this point, gravity is the only thing keeping the toner in place. In order to affix the toner, the paper needs to pass through the fuser rollers, which are heated by internal quartz tube lamps.
The heat melts the plastic in the toner particles, causing the toner to be absorbed into the paper fibers.
Although the melted plastic sticks to the paper, it does not adhere to the heated fuser rollers.
This is possible because the rollers are coated with Teflon, the same material that helps food slide out of non-stick frying pans.
Color vs. Monochrome Printing
Color toner works essentially the same way as monochrome toner, except the process is repeated for each of the toner colors.
The standard toner colors are cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black. The black is needed because the three primary colors (red, yellow and blue) can be combined to form any color except black.
The reason for this is black is not technically a color, but the complete absence of color.
These four toner colors, when combined at varying levels of saturation and lightness, can produce millions of different shades and hues.
This quick guided tour of toner cartridges should help provide a basic understanding of how they work.
The current technology of compatible toner cartridge for canon has allowed laser printers to dominate the office printing market.
In the years to come, new designs of toner cartridges promise to provide more efficient and cost-effective solutions for office and home printing.
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