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 user 2005-03-07 at 9:42:00 am Views: 81
  • #10713

    The great inkjet cartridge scandal?
    Printer makers use scare tactics to enforce customer loyalty, warn

    Printer manufacturers are using scare tactics to discourage consumers from
    using ink produced by third-party manufacturers.

    Reluctant to loosen their grip on the lucrative market for printer supplies,
    they warn that substitute inks are of inferior quality and that by using the
    cartridges customers risk damaging their printers and invalidating their

    But experts and rivals working in the field disagree.In the US, the Rochester
    Institute of Technology tests and validates remanufacturers’ products at its
    National Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery.

    Professor Nabil Nasr of the facility explained that the processes used for
    remanufactured consumables today are so sophisticated that performance is not
    generally an issue.

    “Initially, remanufactured cartridges didn’t live up to customer
    expectations. But the industry has made great strides,” he said. “Of course it
    depends on the individual companies, but remanufactured products are as good and
    in some cases can exceed the performance of new cartridges.”

    But for consumers there is little clear advice on choosing the right brand.
    There are many types of inks for many different inkjet cartridges. Each uses its
    own composition and manufacturing process, which means many inks are

    But original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) also make third-party generic ink
    for each other’s printers. And some printer makers buy their ink from the same
    OEM as the remanufacturer.

    Colours may vary, but the difference is so slight it is almost impossible to
    spot using the naked eye, said Professor Nasr.

    He said if the end result is poor, the blame is more likely to lie with the
    type of paper used than the ink. Image permanence, he added, is also not an

    “No one wants their pictures fading so we test colour permanence in an ozone
    chamber. Here we subject a test picture to simulated sunlight equivalent to 10
    to 25 years of ageing,” he said.

    The Consumers’ Association’s Which? magazine found in its own
    independent testing last year that the difference in many cases was negligible,
    and that results were sometimes better from remanufactured printer

    Most companies ensure that their ink products are heavily tested, said Fran
    Blanco, a spokeswoman for Media Sciences International, a manufacturer of
    printer supplies.

    “The industry is very focused and many remanufacturers have adopted the
    Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage (CIE), which is a standard that covers
    image technologies,” she said.

    Consumers are also wary of using third-party cartridges for fear that this
    will invalidate their printer warranty.

    An Office of Fair Trading study found that 78 per cent of consumers had not
    tried to switch to third-party cartridges or refill kits because of printer
    manufacturer recommendations.

    “The printer OEMs just want to create fear,”said Blanco. “The likelihood of
    a remanufactured cartridge damaging a printer is minimal. Yes,it can happen;
    the cartridge may be faulty and leak ink.But so can an OEM’s cartridge.

    “In a case like this the remanufacturer should be responsible and the
    customer should check this.”