Inkjet Technology on the Comeback Trail
DATE: 25 October 2016
Can inkjet printers compete with laser printers in the office market? New inkjet technology says “yes.”
For a long time, laser printers have been the leading choice for office use because they are perceived to be faster and cheaper. Home users, on the other hand, have preferred inkjet for its superior quality output. Today, with inkjet printers now delivering faster speeds along with superior colour reproduction, the enterprise as well as the SME segment is taking a serious look at inkjet as a better alternative to laser printers.
Why are inkjet printers back in vogue in the office printer market? Cost-conscious businesses are finding that the new technology at the heart of Epson’s range of next generation inkjet printers delivers the superior performance and enhanced productivity they value.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why the new generation inkjet is winning the office printer battle.
Precision printing for high quality printouts
In terms of application, it has traditionally been said that each technology – inkjet and laser – has its own strengths. Laser printing has typically been preferred for black and white print jobs, particularly documents. Inkjet technology, on the other hand, has been recognised for delivering superior output in colour, particularly for graphics and photographs.
However, in addition to brilliant colors, Epson’s new business inkjet printers produce laser-sharp text on a wide variety of media through its Micro Piezo and PrecisionCore printheads, delivering professional quality results to meet the most demanding standards. Its pigment inks bring exceptional print quality with water-proof, smudge-proof and fade-resistant printouts.
Users can expect print resolution of 600 x 600 dpi for standard prints and up to 4,800 x 1,200 dpi for prints with special media, with no warm-up time and less than seven seconds for the first page-out.
Epson’s unique Micro Piezo and PrecisionCore print heads enable precise quantities of ink at exactly the right point on the paper. With the precise accuracy of ink droplets, image quality can achieve rich gradations and with almost no granulation.
The heart of the technology is a next-generation print chip, no thicker than a razor blade. Based on micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology, the chip uses a 1-micron thin piezo actuator that acts like a pump to deposit ink with dramatic speed and precision. PrecisionCore printheads deliver professional output quality at high speed by precisely controlling the droplet shape and volume at a rate up to 50,000 times a second per nozzle.
Fast speeds that rival colour laser
Output speed is often a determining factor for busy offices that need to produce multiple copies, fast. Laser technology has led this race – till now. Epson’s new inkjet range uses their revolutionary PrecisionCore printhead technology to deliver ISO print speeds of up to 24 images per minute (ipm), fast enough to match the performance of rival laser systems. Users will also enjoy a shorter waiting time to use the printer – the difference in technology means that unlike laser printers, inkjets do not need to warm up first.
Workloads – Delivering a monthly duty cycle of 75,000 pages
Businesses with large teams or specific applications requiring constant heavy output have typically preferred laser printers, which offer maximum monthly duty cycles ranging between 2,000 and 20,000 pages, depending on the model. Inkjets have been regarded as more suitable for small teams or departments with monthly workloads in the range of 1,500 to 5,000 pages.
But Epson’s new business inkjet range turns this conventional insight on its head – as noted above, their business inkjet printers offer a remarkable maximum monthly duty cycle of up to 75,000 pages of uninterrupted high-quality print without the need to replace consumables.
The cost consideration
No doubt the most important question of all – what is the cost?
There is the initial cost of acquisition. While laser printers have been more expensive than their inkjet equivalents at point of purchase, buyers have tended to opt for laser due to the perception that toner cartridges typically deliver more pages per cartridge, and that it costs less to run a laser printer in the long run.
This is definitely no longer the case. Epson’s business inkjet printers have disrupted the traditional inkjet cartridge business to deliver truly astonishing performance in inkjet systems – their ink pack replacement systems for enterprise use let you print or copy up to 75,000 black and color pages without needing to replace consumables. This volume of printing means that the direct cost savings are enormous. Their new inkjet technology equipped with super-high-yield ink supply units yields more than each toner cartridge at a fraction of the cost.
Epson has also designed printers with the small and medium business in mind as well - Their ink tank system printers with PrecisionCore and Micro Piezo technology offers 4,000 pages for black and 6,500 pages for colour for each set of inks – bringing affordable printing that more than meets the needs of the small business owner. For this segment, this performance represents huge cost savings that can make a big difference to the bottom line.
When calculating the total costs of ownership, buyers also need to be aware of the hidden costs of consumables with a laser printer – such as the cost of the fuser or wastebox as well as others. The inkjet system, with its ultra-long-life consumables, does away with the need to keep a cupboard full of replacement cartridges – an important saving of space and inventory in an environment conscious of cutting costs and increasing value.
Additionally, the benefits to productivity are obvious – less intervention means no more irritating, time-consuming interruptions to the print run while you change the toner or ink cartridge.
And that’s not all – as well as the performance and cost benefits outlined above, Epson is highly conscious of its responsibility to the environment. Its business inkjet printers use up to 70% less power than laser printers, delivering further eco-friendly savings. There is also less wastage from consumables, compared to laser printers.
Taken together, the reasons examined above make a powerful case that Epson’s business inkjet printers are a game-changer in the office printer marketplace. Buyers Laboratory LLC, a leading provider of independent information to the imaging industry has recognised its game-changing impact – Epson’s WorkForce Pro Replaceable Ink Pack Printers, RIPS technology has been awarded Outstanding Achievement in Innovation Award in 2015.
When you add in the system’s host of convenient, practical, cost-saving features, such as automatic two-sided printing, built-in connectivity, easy printing from tablets and smartphones including remote printing and access to cloud, it is clear to today’s smart businesses that inkjet technology could well be the surprising winner of the battle of the office printers.