*NEWS*PRINTOUTS LEADS TO PROFITS
*NEWS*PRINTOUTS LEADS TO PROFITS
2007-05-15 at 2:03:00 pm #18309
Printouts leads to profits
New standards in ISO test may change the way printing consumables are seen
One of the biggest margin generators for anyone selling printers is consumables. Like most hardware, the devices themselves offer little in the way of profit, but they can be bottomless pits for ink and toner over their lifetimes, and that means dollars in the reseller’s pocket.The trouble from the consumer’s point of view is that they have no idea how many printouts to expect from any given printer before it’s time to bite the bullet and cough up for fresh ink or toner, meaning all too many emergency trips to the store.If the printer is a model that’s been around for a while, the reseller may have an notion of how long the ink will last, based on experience, and can offer advice. But for new printers, actual page count per cartridge is anyone’s guess. Every manufacturer measures number of pages per cartridge in the most advantageous way for its products.There is hope. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has approved the ISO/IEC 24711:2006 standard defining the method for the determination of ink cartridge yield for colour inkjet printers and multi-function devices that contain printer components (ISO/IEC 19798, published at the end of 2006, and 19752, published in 2004, respectively deal with colour and monochrome toner).This standard provides a way to consistently determine yield across products, instead of relying on the standard crock of per cent coverage that’s been foisted on us for so many years. With no consistent definition of what that percentage actually represented (all one colour, all text, images, whatever), it has been virtually impossible to figure out which printers were most economical to run, or what to expect in real world usage.
Members of the International Committee for Information Technology Standards, including most market leading printer vendors such as Canon, Dell, Epson, HP, Kodak, Lexmark, Okidata and Xerox, have announced their support for the new standards, which specify the conditions and test suite used to determine cartridge yield.Each test is performed in the printer’s default mode (no more cheating by using draft mode for tests, then defaulting to standard mode out of the box), and consists of exhausting a minimum of nine cartridges by continuously printing a defined set of PDF documents on 8.5 x 11 inch or A4 paper, using at least three printers to account for production anomalies. Even the ambient temperature is controlled (23 celsius, +/- 2 degrees), since that, too, can affect results.While this still doesn’t reflect how people print in the real world (a few pages at a time, perhaps with days between print jobs), it’s at least consistent across manufacturers so consumers and resellers can make a more realistic comparison of printing systems. And the emphasis is on systems – a printer and cartridge combination, not the just particular type of cartridge or a specific printer model. The same cartridge may perform differently in different printer models.The hope is that the ISO-rated yield will ultimately be shown on each cartridge’s packaging, giving consumers who actually read labels a clue how often they’ll be shopping for ink, and giving resellers an opportunity to build loyalty by explaining the ratings so those emergency ink runs are no longer necessary.