What Makes Inkjet, Photo and Laser Printers Tick?

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You use your printer every day for printing all kinds of documents. But when you click ‘print,’ what exactly is happening?

A lot’s going on behind the scenes in your printer, and we’re standing by to tell you just what that is!

Inside Inkjets

Inkjet printers are one of the most common types of printers available today. These devices work by dropping tiny dots of ink onto a piece of paper.

The ink is dropped and dried in a few different ways.

Is it Impact or Not?

Impact printers drop the ink onto the paper by directly touching the page itself. Either a series of pins hit the paper with ink to create the dots that form characters, or the printer works like a typewriter.

In impact printers that work like typewriters, small keys with letters on them hit the page to produce words.

In non-impact printers, small nozzles spray ink out and land on the page, creating the letters and characters you see when the document is printed.

Heat or No Heat?

Ink droplets need to be adequately formed when they are dropped or pressed onto the page. One way is to use heat to create small bubbles of ink that burst and fall onto the page.

Another way to form ink is through piezo crystals. Piezo crystals at the back of ink nodules are given an electric shock which makes the nozzle vibrate. The vibration sends ink droplets out and onto the page.

Laser Printers

Aside from inkjets, laser printers are the other primary type of printer used today. These devices are popular because the toner cartridges are much less expensive, bringing the cost per page down significantly. Most of these printers are only black and white printers.

Laser printers work very differently from inkjets. Printing on a monochrome laser printer or a color laser printer work in the same way. Both these devices have a very reactive drum at the core of the device. A laser shines onto the drum to charge certain points on the drum.

Each of these points releases ink onto the page. In effect, the laser is drawing letters and words onto the sheet.

Next, a toner is sprayed onto the fresh ink to dry it. As the paper is passed out of the printer and onto the paper tray, it is squeezed between two heated rollers.

The rollers seal the toner by melting it and fusing it with the paper.

Photographic Printers

The last major type of printer is a photo printer. This kind of device is used in home offices and in businesses where a high volume of photos needs to be printed.

Photographic printers are a little bit different from inkjet and laser printers in the way they operate.

Inside the printer, sheets of film are rolled up. Inside the film are colored inks. A hot plate is pressed onto the film sheets, melting the ink and forming images.

The dyes inside the film cool again once the printhead cools down. This process is called sublimation printing.

All three of these printing types are vastly different from one another, but each is very handy for different purposes. Need help figuring out which type is best for your business? Reach out to us now, and we’ll find the perfect fit!

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