Although business inkjet printers have become increasingly widespread due to advantages such as superior environmental performance, many office users still believe that these inkjets are too expensive and print with insufficient quality to compete with laser printers. The growing need to go green in the office has therefore presented users with a dilemma, and printer manufacturers with a challenge to overcome these perceived shortcomings.

Perceived drawbacks and recent developments

This is all particularly significant in the light of a recent independent report published by Keypoint Intelligence and commissioned by Epson highlighted that total cost of ownership (TCO) was the biggest improvement IT decision makers desired in the office printing environment.

The report went on to assert that image quality was the second highest motivator for IT decision makers to purchase a business inkjet device. It commented that “inkjet was generally synonymous with dye-based ink, which although being inexpensive and sufficient for many office uses had some shortcomings, in particular

fading, smudging, and being less vibrant.

“58% Of office resellers said business inkjet offers more cost savings via TCO, energy consumption and service costs.”

Despite these perceived drawbacks, the report contended that recent technology advances ensured that business inkjets were now well equipped to meet user demands. “In most cases,” the report said, “business inkjet technology is more durable and offers consumers considerable cost savings in terms of overall cost per page (notably for color print), the ability to print on a variety of substrates, and low energy consumptions over laser printers.”

The key to these improvements is the commercialization of inkjet printers for the office by manufacturers such as Epson with its Heat-Free Technology.

This technology serves as a common platform for all Epson inkjet printers, whether for the home or office, and allows the company’s inkjet printers to deliver productivity and print quality equal to that of laser printers, which currently dominate the office market. They also help to reduce users’ total cost of ownership (TCO) and environmental impact.

Lower TCO

So why is the latest generation of inkjets able to offer lower TCO and superior printing quality? In terms of cost, Keypoint Intelligence cites reasons such as significantly less energy consumption, serviceability and waste reduction. Inkjets use less power because unlike lasers they don’t need to heat the fuser unit to adhere toner to the page. Epson’s Heat-Free Technology on the other hand, uses mechanical pressure applied to a piezo element to fire the ink from the print head.

“Recent technology advances ensured that business inkjets were now well equipped to meet user demands.”

Superior printing quality

The key to the improved printing quality of business inkjets is enhanced technology, especially in printers using linehead technology. These linehead printers offer faster, more constant printing because they allow printing of an entire page in a single pass in contrast to serial inkjet printers that require multiple passes across the page.

Another recent significant improvement is in inks. Dye-based inks, which have largely been used to date, are sufficient for most office printing scenarios, but can be prone to fading and smudging. On the other hand, some inkjet printers use pigment ink, which sits on the top of the paper instead of sinking into the paper like dye. This causes greater durability and more vibrant colors.

 “Printers may look similar on the outside, but the technology inside is very different.”

Koichi Kubota, COO of Epson’s printing solutions business, said, “Printers may look similar on the outside, but the technology inside is very different. Epson believes Heat-Free Technology provides more benefits to customers. Put very simply, it enables people to print freely and productively while reducing their concerns about the environment.”