Not the time to sink the printers ink – when you think

So – it appears that the ink in the Inkjet printer is often not empty when the printer signals so.
At Ars Technica Ken Fisher writes about a new study by TÜV Rheinland that has tested how efficient different printers are in using the ink in the cartridges. In most cases there is plenty of ink left even if the printer signals emptiness. The list of tested printers includes machines from well known manufacturers such as Canon, Lexmark, HP, Kodak and Epson. Epson rated among the best and Kodak as the worst (noteworthy however is that Epson commissioned the test…).

We trust our computers don´t we? When it alerts that the battery needs a fill or when the memory is full you trust that the machine is right. But Ken Fisher notes that on average 20% is left in the cartridge when the computer or the printer signals that it is empty. Think about it, every time we have used five cartridges of ink we should have a whole left to use. Thats a waste – both when it comes to ink that isn’t used and all that plastic that cartridges are made off.

The ink-issue arose strong feelings and created a buzz today. At The Boston Globes Business filter Maura Welch argued that it is not the consumers fault when throwing away non-empty cartridges: “We don’t WANT to throw out the ink. Our printers tell us to do it. In fact, my Brother printer will stop working when it thinks it’s out of ink, even though it isn’t”, she wrote.
Tom Raftery at Tom Raftery´s social media asked for a solution because everyone is familiar to the problem. He wrote: “The really annoying thing about this is that all the manufacturers are aware of it but they do nothing to fix it. If a cartridge reports as empty, the printer will cease to print, even if there is plenty of ink left”.

Meanwhile Charlie Sorrel at Wireds Gadget Lab pointed out that ink-maker Lyson makes it possible to refill your inkjet printer yourself, which saves both money and plastics. However Robert L.Mitchell, a National Correspondent for Computerworld, wrote that the study is something to ignore. According to Mitchell the purpose is to create a marketing smokescreen in the ongoing ink wars, he says.

Yeah – maybe this is a storm in a glass of water. But think about it – this is something most of us live by daily and think is annoying; why should it continue? This could be a seed to a great business idea in this age of green thinking. Who can come up with a great and simple solution? Please post us and we might offer a free podcast to pitch your idea.

By Anders Bjers and John Furrier

Author: John

Entrepreneur living in Palo Alto California and the Founder of SiliconANGLE Media

2 thoughts on “Not the time to sink the printers ink – when you think”

  1. When my HP inkjet indicates that the ink is out, I remove the cartridge, shake it ten times and replace it. It will continue to print for a number of weeks before I get the message again. I can repeat this process a couple of times before I actually see the ink is running out.

  2. Remember the good old days when you knew if you were out of ink, when….you were out of ink.

    Ink sensors are rubbish, I spend too much time explaining this to people who think their printers are faulty.

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