ARE THE OEM’s FILTY , LYING THIEVES ?
ARE THE OEM’s FILTY , LYING THIEVES ?
2007-12-19 at 4:00:00 pm #20853
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 EasyShare 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.
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.The 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.”.