Here’s How Toner Cartridges and Laser Printers Work

When thinking of a printer, most people automatically conjure images of a large or small machine that rhythmically hums as it imprints ink onto a waiting piece of paper. Lasers printers, however, do not use ink at all. In fact, they are highly sophisticated machines that make use of advanced software and components such as toner cartridges to ensure high-quality, high-volume prints in a jiffy. But how do toner cartridges and printers work, exactly? We explore below.

Toner is a type of powder that is mainly made from plastic (finely ground polyester) and colour pigment. The plastic is essential, as this is what sticks to paper when it is heated and melts. This means that pigment cleaves to paper much better, and makes laser prints less prone to smudging and bleeding, while still allowing for even, crisp images. When replacing your toner cartridges, you will find they come with a hopper (the container in which the powder pigment comes) and a drum assembly.

Laser printers utilise a laser beam that scans your desired image onto the printer’s metal drum, creating a template with static electricity. This static electricity produces a charge that acts as a sort of temporary glue, attracting particles of the opposite charge to it. Positively charged toner powder is then released and clings to the areas of the drum where the laser altered the charge to form the template. In a nutshell, toner sticks to the laser-created image on the drum. A sheet of paper is then rolled over the drum, which transfers the now pigmented image onto the paper. The powder is still loose, however, and the paper gets run through the fuser which uses heat to melt the powder and fuse it with the fibres of the page. This is why the paper feels hot to the touch when leaving a laser printer.

If you would like to find out more about ink or toner cartridges, or which brands are best for your printer, simply get in touch with us here and we will assist you.

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