Tag Archives: Toner Based Printing

Inkjet versus Toner

15 Jan

Very often, customers have to make a decision as to whether they purchase an inkjet plotter or a toner/laser printer for their large format printing needs.

There are several questions to consider:

  1. What is your budget? – Very good quality inkjet plotters can be purchased for as little as $4,000.00, which includes assembly, testing, delivery, installation, and training. In Canon iPF750addition, most of the inkjet plotters come with a full one-year warranty.
  2. Do you need to print color? – Color is becoming very relevant in today’s printing world. However, color can be done on both inkjet & toner/laser printers these days. Keep in mind that color on a toner/laser machine is a relatively expensive option versus color on an inkjet plotter.
  3. Scanning capabilities? – Do you need the ability to scan hard-copy drawings to a digital file for archiving/emailing and/or the ability to make copies of existing hard copy drawings? Inkjet plotters can have a scanner added to them for a full digital system that includes walk-up copying and scanning to a digital file. That cost is approximately $4,000.00. Toner/laser printers come complete, in most cases, with a scanner for doing walk-up copying and scanning to digital files.
  4. Performance and speed: – Inkjet plotters will print one ‘D’ size print every 40 seconds or so. Toner/laser printers will print anywhere from 3 – 22 ‘D’ size copies per minute.
  5. Service costs: – Inkjet plotters come with a one-year warranty. Additional service is approximately $50.00/month after the first year. Toner/laser equipment comes with a 90-day warranty and will cost approximately $100.00/month, depending on your usage.
  6. Consumable costs: – KIP toner-based printers are 100% toner efficient and cost approximately $0.009/square foot for toner. Paper is approximately $0.018/square foot. Inkjet plotters are approximately $0.05/square foot for ink. Paper is approximately $0.018/square foot.
  7. Floor space: – In today’s market, the equipment, whether it’s inkjet or toner/laser, occupies approximately the same amount of floor space regardless of which option you go with.
  8. Stacking: – The latest inkjet now has a “stacker shelf” that will stack up to 20 drawings, whereas the majority of inkjets only have a “basket” to catch the prints. With the toner/laser equipment, you have a variety of stackers to choose from that will stack anywhere from hundreds to thousands of prints. Much of the toner/laser printers today have efficient, space-saving integrated stackers that will stack up to 50 drawings.


Inkjet pros:

  • $4,000.00 all-in for a fully installed brand new 36” plotter
  • Great quality on color photos, rendering, banners, etc.
  • Color and/or black & white output for same low price
  • Reduced maintenance costs at approximately $50.00/month
  • 12-month warranty

Inkjet cons:

  • Ink is about 7 times more expensive than toner
  • Slower at 1 – 2 ‘D’ size/minute
  • Not waterproof
  • Fades in light
  • Stacking

Toner/laser pros:

  • Very fast at 3 – 22 ‘D’ size/minute
  • KIP 7100Very efficient stacking options
  • Waterproof & lightfast
  • Very inexpensive toner at $0.009/square foot
  • Much quicker/more efficient scanning

Toner/laser cons:

  • Larger initial investment at $10,000.00 – $30,000.00
  • Maintenance costs are greater at approximately $100.00/month
  • Shorter warranty period (90 days)

Toner – Not So Bad Once You Get to Know It

8 Jan

My prints are getting light. I need to add toner, right? Saying that is much like saying that your car goes slower as it gets lower on gas. Why would your printer get light prints when it gets low on toner? This is a common misconception with toner and how it is distributed during normal printing operations. Your modern day large format printer may have a toner bottle that is usually left to change by some seemingly unlucky individual in your workplace, but this is only your printer’s toner “reserve.” The production toner is set away from sight in, what is referred to as, your developer unit. There is usually a sensor or a series of sensors that determines when your developer unit is getting low. When the sensors give off a signal that the toner level is low, the toner bottle has been put in, what would be referred to as, the “Toner Add Mode.” The toner from that bottle then goes to the storage area of the developer unit and will do so until the sensor is satisfied.

So what do you do when you spill toner? No need to run in fear or tape off that room and call a hazmat team. Simply grab asHazmat much of it as you can with a vacuum and the rest will easily clean up with a damp cloth. Just make sure the cloth is not damp with anything hotter than lukewarm water. Toner is nothing more than a finely filtered plastic polymer that bonds to things when it is heated to more than 140°C/284°F. Next time your friendly service technician is in your office, you can nicely ask them for a “toner dust cloth” and they would be willing to accommodate you. Toner dust cloths are what BPI’s Service Team uses to collect lightly spilled toner; they work great for cleaning toner off of clothes and carpet. So next time you spill a bit of toner on your nice khakis, have no fear–it will come right out in the wash on a cold water cycle.

Why is my older model printer using more toner than usual? If you have a printer that is more than10-15 years old, it may have, what is referred to in the service repair world as, a “dual component” system. What does this mean for you, other than it may be time to upgrade to something more current and less expensive to run? Well, older developer units use a metallic powder that was always inside the unit itself. This powder holds a static charge that the toners bonds to until a higher charge from the printer’s drum/photoreceptor says, “Hey, I’ll take some toner.” That is how the image goes from the developer unit to the drum, eventually to the paper, then out towards the fuser unit. The fuser unit melts the plastic component (toner) into the crisp image you see when the print exits the the large format printer. The developer powder eventually loses its ability to hold a static charge and needs to be replaced.

So, next time one of your coworkers takes issue with having to change the copier’s toner, tell them to not fear because you are now the go-to expert on how toner works and why it’s not so bad.

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