The business benefits of inkjet printing
The narrative in the print industry has, for years, been all about laser printers.
Their speed and print quality have long been touted as being the best of the best; it’s uncommon to see inkjets in the workplace these days; and if you were to pop into a random business and ask the owner if they prefer inkjets or laser, they’d probably say laser.
The ink stink
Inkjets, meanwhile, have earned a reputation for being messy, slow, and not printing as sharply as lasers do. Worse, their cost per printed page has historically been higher than that of laser printers thanks to expensive ink cartridges that don’t contain a lot of ink.
That has changed to a large extent thanks to new innovations like ink tank systems and Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS) ink technology, relatively new developments inside the print industry that have increased inkjets’ output significantly while also lowering their running costs.
These types of printers have started cropping up in every print manufacturer’s product line-up, but nonetheless inkjet printers have maintained their reputation as an inferior option to laser printers in a business situation.
But laser printers have their share of pitfalls, too, and that’s a reality business is starting to see.
For any organisation, buying a printer isn’t the whole story – that printer will cost a certain amount of money over and above its purchase price over its lifespan through its use of consumables, electricity, and any parts that might need to be serviced or replaced.
Don’t underestimate the impact printer-related down-time can have on your business, either – laser printer drums are the most common part that leads to breakdowns and productivity interruptions. Inkjets don’t have anything similar, and are thus more reliable in the long term.
All of that taken together is the printer’s “total cost of ownership”, or TCO. Laser printers tend to be quite costly over the course of their lifespans as toner cartridges aren’t cheap, their many moving parts can and do wear out, and they use a significant amount of electricity to heat up their toner to fuse it to paper.
For instance, a laser printer can cause power spikes as big as 500W while printing, plus it needs to warm up for a few seconds before it can even start printing.
Inkjet printers, meanwhile, don’t draw nearly as much power and can start printing much sooner than lasers as there’s no need to warm up first.
Sustainability is important
And in this age of heightened awareness of environmental concerns, not to mention challenges to the very supply of power in some countries, it’s more important than ever to use business tools that are sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Both criteria are met by modern inkjet printers, which generate less heat, use less electricity, and even produce less carbon dioxide (up to 92% less) while in operation, than laser printers do.
Backed by giants
All of these assertions are backed by some of the biggest names in the printing industry, like Epson.
Epson has done some great work on the inkjet printing front. The company has created a range of inkjet printers that tick a lot of the boxes modern printers need ticked to be competitive and desirable in the workplace.
The Ink Tank Revolution
Arguably Epson’s biggest contribution to this revolution was its Ink Tank System of inkjet printers that came out in the early 2010s. They replaced ink cartridges with tanks that contained a lot more ink than cartridges ever did, and ink bottle refills that cost a lot less, too.
That evolved further into Epson’s EcoTank printers, which further lowered the cost per page to print in colour and in black with bigger ink tanks and ink refills, but also with further refinements to their power use, production footprint, speeds, and features.
The Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS)
For workgroup printers with bigger duty cycles, like the WorkForce Pro range, Epson developed the Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS).
RIPS printers use high-volume bags of ink instead of tanks, and they’re easy to install even for non-IT staff, they’re mess-free, and they print even more pages than EcoTank printers do.
Replacement ink packs come in different capacities, too, offering business owners print volumes ranging from 10,000 pages all the way up to 86,000 pages on one bag of ink (model dependent).
WorkForce printers are also easy to manage remotely, the idea being to let business focus on business rather than on their printer fleet.
Excellent business value
Today, Epson has a range of business-ready, multi-function inkjets that can do everything lasers did, faster, and with less power draw. For businesses, these inkjet MFPs represent excellent value thanks to their lower TCO over their lifespans than comparable laser printers.