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 user 2007-06-26 at 11:30:00 am Views: 52
  • #17922

    Inkjet printers are filthy, lying thieves
    new study says that on average, more than half of the ink from inkjet
    cartridges is wasted when users toss them in the garbage. Why is that
    interesting? According to the study, users are tossing the cartridges
    when their printers are telling them they’re out of ink, not when they
    necessarily are out of ink.The study by TÜV Rheinland looked at inkjet
    efficiency across multiple brands, including Epson (who commissioned
    the study), Lexmark, Canon, HP, Kodak, and Brother. They studied the
    efficiency of both single and multi-ink cartridges. Espon’s printers
    were among the highest rated, at more than 80 percent efficiency using
    single-ink cartridges. Kodak’s Easyhare 5300 was panned as the worst
    printer tested, wasting 64 percent of its ink in tests. TÜV Rheinland
    measured cartridge weights before and after use, stopping use when
    printers reported that they were out of ink.

    That’s the first
    problem. Printers routinely report that they are low on ink even when
    they aren’t, and in some cases there are still hundreds of pages worth
    of ink left.The second issue is a familiar one: multi-ink cartridges
    can be rendered “empty” when only one color runs low. Multi-ink
    cartridges store three to five colors in a single cartridge. Printing
    too many photos from the air show will kill your cartridge faster than
    you can say “blue skies,” as dominant colors (say, “blue”) are used
    faster than the others. Therein lies the reason Epson backed the study:
    the company is singing the praises of its single-ink cartridge
    approach, an approach which is necessarily more efficient in terms of
    wasted ink because there’s only one color per cartridge, and thus only
    one cartridge to replace when that color runs out.Single ink cartridges
    aren’t exactly perfect, however. Such cartridges still were reported as
    empty with an average of 20 percent of their ink left, which means that
    an entire cartridge worth of ink is wasted for every five which are
    used. Given the sky-high prices of ink, this is an alarming find.
    Epson’s own R360 posted the best numbers, with only 9 percent wasted.
    Yet again, Epson commissioned the tests, so we must ask what’s missing.

    study did not measure how much ink is lost due to lack of use, or
    through cleaning processes. Inkjet cartridges are known to suffer from
    quality problems if they are not used for long periods of time,
    sometimes “drying up.” This problem has been addressed in recent years,
    but it has not been eliminated.The study also did not calculate the
    total cost per page, which arguably is more important than efficiency.
    If Epson’s multicartridge approach is more efficient, it could
    nonetheless still be more expensive per page than multi-ink cartridge
    systems. In its defense, Epson and TÜV Rheinland said that their study
    focused on the ecological impact of inkjet printing. This is a familiar
    argument: hybrid cars have also been criticized for their supposed
    efficiency, with debates raging as to whether or not your average
    driver will ever see cost savings from better miles-per-gallon given
    the relative expensive of hybrid engines.As such, anyone in the market
    for an inkjet printer still needs to compare specific models to one
    another to get a feel for efficiency, and Epson’s efficiency claims
    needs to be weighed next to the comparative cost of competing inkjet
    solutions.Still, the unintended result of this study is that regardless
    of the battle between single- and multi-ink cartridges, inkjet printers
    themselves are significantly off the mark when it comes to reporting
    the fullness of their cartridges. As the Eagles would say, you’re best
    off when you “take it, to the limit.” (Or with a laser printer, one can
    always do the toner cartridge cha-cha.)