Ink Cartridges for Printers
Ink cartridges for printers are similar to ink cartridges for fax machines and copiers. Before multi-purpose printers incorporated faxes and copiers, there were different ink cartridges for each one. Although they operated under the same principle, ink cartridges were differently designed and packaged. There are two general types of printers in the market today. These are thermal ink jet printers and piezoelectric crystal ink jet printers. The thermal ink jet printers work as a result of partitions inside the ink reservoir where a heating element consisting of a small metallic plate is placed. The printer sends a signal and a small current flowing through the metal warms it. As the plate is heated, it vaporizes the ink around it into a small air bubble in the nozzle. The consequent total volume of ink increases in the nozzle, forcing out ink droplets that is sprayed into the paper in a process that is finished in milliseconds. Piezoelectric printers have crystal heaters. A leading printer brand uses crystals in each nozzle instead of a heating element. As current is applied, the crystal’s shape or size changes, forcing droplets of ink from the nozzle. Using inks with thermal properties which react to heat, piezoelectric printers produce smaller ink droplets than thermal ink jet schemes.
Recent ink cartridges for printers have incorporated the printer’s head. Their forerunners did not have printer heads incorporated into them but were instead built in the carriages for the ink cartridge. The newer designs made the ink cartridges expensive. Some cartridges are cheaper because they do not include the printer head but their printers are more expensive. Printer suppliers produce their own type of ink cartridges built specifically for a particular printer model. The usual configuration consists of two separate cartridges in the ink cartridge carrier storing black ink and another cartridge with 3 primary colors. In some configurations, each of the primary color is in a separate cartridge. Carriage configuration is variable and oftentimes dependent on the quality of print expected from a printer.
Replacement ink cartridges for printers from an original equipment manufacturer are very expensive, so that brand loyalty is oftentimes eaten by competition from generic and cloned ink cartridges which are less expensive. Although compatible, serious damage could result from using them. It is also a known issue which original equipment manufacturers address by reprogramming the driver software to function less efficiently by putting on the near empty warning or refusing to print while still lots of ink are left.