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The tech inside a toner cartridge

You might think of a toner cartridge as a consumable, but it's actually the most important part of your laser printer.

HP's latest LaserJet printers are high-tech printing powerhouses. New models are up to 40 per cent faster than last year's devices, but they're also up to 40 per cent smaller and use up to 53 per cent less energy. Yet while a lot of research, development and engineering time has gone into the new printers, much of this achievement comes down to something more prosaic: the design of a revolutionary new HP toner cartridge system, JetIntelligence, which makes printers faster, smarter, more compact and easier to manage.

Inside the HP Toner Cartridge

Not many people realise that up to 70 per cent of the HP LaserJet printing technology resides within the toner cartridge itself. Aside from the toner powder, the cartridge houses an imaging drum, rollers and blades.  The imaging drum has to be conditioned by a primary charge roller, which applies a negative uniform charge.  The printer's laser beam then strikes the surface of the imaging drum, creating a latent image of the print by removing negative charge from certain areas this is where the toner particles will be applied.  

A blade, called the doctor blade, levels the toner particles to precisely the right height on the developer roller, which then transfers the negatively charged toner particles to the imaging drum, where the toner particles adhere to the areas discharged by the laser beam. The toner particles are then pulled from the imaging drum by the printer's transfer roller and transferred to the surface of the paper. The printer's fusing unit melts the toner particles with heat and pressure, essentially bonding them to the paper. Finally, a cleaning blade stays in constant contact with the imaging drum, wiping residual toner and dust into a waste bin. 

Most of this happens within the confines of the toner cartridge, not the body of the printer itself. There's a lot of work going on in there! Only the laser beam, the transfer roller and the fuser unit live outside of the toner cartridge. 

Page Maximiser Technology

The new HP toner cartridges with JetIntelligence owe some of their success to the introduction of a new toner formulation ColorSphere 3 for HP color LaserJet and Precision black toner for HP mono LaserJet printers along with a far-reaching redesign of the toner cartridge itself. Precision Black toner consists of a polymer with pigments and additives and a core of wax, ColorSphere 3 encapsulates a core of wax and a polymer inside a tough, outer shell, creating a spherical toner particle that doesn't crumble through repeated circulation inside the cartridge. Both new toner powders melt at a lower temperature than previous toners, it takes less heat to fuse to the paper, cutting down on energy consumption and the time for the printer to warm up and print the first page. 

This works hand-in-hand with HP's Page Maximiser Technology, which sees the cartridge redesigned with smaller, more robust moving parts. This not only reduces wear and tear on the system, but leaves more room for the important stuff: the toner powder.  What's more, intelligent tracking systems monitor wear and tear within the cartridge system, ensuring that the cartridge maintains performance and keeps on printing for longer. The result? Improved print speeds and more pages from each cartridge. HP toner cartridges with JetIntelligence can generate up to 33 per cent more prints than their predecessors. That doesn't just mean better value, but also fewer user interventions. You can spend less time changing cartridges in your printer, and more time getting on with your job. And let's not ignore the environmental benefit of using fewer cartridges, and consequently creating less waste. 

Print Gauge Technology

Built-in monitoring of toner levels is nothing new, but JetIntelligence takes cartridge status tracking up to the next level. HP's Print Gauge Technology gathers all the key information about the cartridge, monitoring toner used, rotations of the components, wear and tear, usage patterns and environmental conditions, to provide a more dependable gauge of the cartridge's life. Using this, Print Gauge Technology can predict when your cartridge will run out and give you warning, so that you're neither left high and dry nor replacing cartridges unnecessarily. It saves both you time and money.

Anti-Fraud Technology

Cheap counterfeit cartridges looking like Original HP cartridges can be tempting, but these won't provide the same levels of performance, print quality or reliability. To save businesses from getting ripped off, HP developed a new anti-fraud technology for its HP toner cartridges with JetIntelligence, where a chip and secure communications between cartridge and printer make it possible to detect instantly whether a cartridge is Original HP or not. Put a genuine HP cartridge in your printer and you'll be greeted with a big green tick. Install a counterfeit cartridge and you'll see a warning.

Not only does Anti-Fraud Technology help businesses and IT managers manage their printers with confidence, it also enables further security options. Adminstrators can enable policies to only allow genuine HP cartridges across their printers, or lock HP toner cartridges to specific printers or printer groups, so that they can't be removed from one and used in another even if it's the exact same model. Should someone grab a half-used cartridge and hope to use it at home, they'll be in for a nasty shock.

Auto-Seal Removal

With HP toner cartridges with JetIntelligence you'll spend less time changing cartridges, but when the toner finally runs out you'll find that replacing them isn't so much of a hassle. For one thing, HP's latest egg-box packaging is lighter, more environmentally friendly and even easier to remove. For another, HP has removed one whole step from the process. With JetIntelligence there's no need to pull the tabs and remove the seal on a new cartridge. Instead, you just remove the cartridge from the packaging, insert it in the printer, and the seal is removed automatically. It's even stored inside the cartridge, ready to go back to the recycle plant once it's empty. It's just one more small thing that makes Original HP toner cartridges with JetIntelligence that bit smarter. 

HP has recently launched the following printers equipped with JetIntelligence toner cartridges. 

  • HP LaserJet Pro M402
  • HP LaserJet Pro MFP M426
  • HP LaserJet Enterprise M506
  • HP LaserJet Enterprise MFP M527
  • HP LaserJet Pro Color M452
  • HP LaserJet Pro Color MFP M477
  • HP LaserJet Enterprise Color MFP M577 

HP's JetIntelligence is one of the key technologies powering a new generation of high-performance HP LaserJets. To find out more about HP's latest laser printers, read our list of six killer reasons to replace your old printer with a new HP LaserJet.

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