Current and Future Technology Trends in Printer Cartridge Supply
Modern printing technology has a history spanning over five decades, and although superbly advanced, there is still space for growth. Today, you can buy refilled, remanufactured, generic and original manufacturer Hewlett Packard, Brother, Epson and Canon printing cartridges from a single printer cartridge supplier, at affordable prices. However, the prices are directly linked to the technologies embedded in the ink cartridges.
We briefly look at the most recent and future trends in the printing industry to give you an indication of the technologies still in the making.
Digital Printing Leading the Pack
Digital printing leads all other printing technologies and with it capturing over 50% of the market, the trend is certainly not going to change in the near future. In essence, this type of printing involves the preparation of images, documents and templates through digital means, before printing takes place. Digital printing has grown considerably over the last year alone and it is estimated that full-colour prints around the globe will pass the 1.15 trillion mark by 2021.
Inkjet Still Popular
Although laser printing is certainly making headway, most of the printing of today is still inkjet colour-based and it is expected that the inkjet technology will continue to dominate for the next few years.
Better Commercial Finishes
Even though it may not really matter for the average end-user who buys their print cartridges from their local printer cartridge supplier for home usage, technology has advanced to the level where commercial printers can offer a variety of print finishes, especially regarding surface finishing touches. Options range from high gloss to matt, and various other options.
It is now possible to print on numerous types of substrates, including nylon, and advances in the technology will enable printing on an even wider range of materials in future. Automation of print functions is already here for multifunctional and large format printers. Everything from automatic document feeding to stitching, punching and programming of repetitive tasks is possible. Expect to see even more automation, which will help to keep costs low and improve productivity.
Focus on Sustainable Practices
The world is moving towards sustainable green management policies. The printing industry is also doing its share through the manufacturing of printers that are energy efficient, recycling of printer cartridges, remanufacturing thereof and developing technologies to prolong the lifespan of print cartridges.
Indeed, cartridge recycling is now widely promoted and although some manufacturers still have the once-off usage limitation on their cartridges, refilling and remanufacturing practices are increasing. Printer technology has also advanced to the level where ink efficiency is excellent. This means that users get more value for their money, while the environmental footprint is reduced. Cartridges can also be stored for longer while in their original packaging.
Printing technology of today makes it possible to use as little as possible ink, without compromising on quality. It is rare to find a printer that doesn’t offer economical settings which enable the user to print drafts for review.
Modern printing uses less energy because of the innovative technologies used regarding the composition of ink particles. Even toner particles are now smaller, enabling super quality images, while the laser printers also use less power to create the well-defined prints. With smaller ink or toner particles, the printer uses less heat for melting the particles and this translates into lower levels of energy consumption.
Advances in 3D Printing
Printing used to be limited to 2D on surfaces such as fabric, paper, plastic and carton. All the prints were 2D, but with the advances in 3D technology, it is now possible to manufacture items ranging from small to large.
The printing isn’t done on a surface at all. It is done in thin air. This has taken manufacturing possibilities to new levels. The ink is replaced with materials that are placed in layers until the item is completed. The item printed is thus made up of various layers. Everything from vehicle components to organs can be printed, and in future, houses may even be built using 3D printing technology.
The costs involved in acquiring the printers and the materials used for printing are still far too expensive for normal end-users, but widespread commercial applications can be expected over the next few years.
As with 2D printing, the technology will go through its growing pains and eventually become affordable enough for supply to the public.