How inkjet printers work

For home or office, inkjet printers are the most popular choice for consumers. Such a device, as a rule, costs a little less than a laser one, but in terms of print quality it is not inferior to it. In order to understand whether such a device is suitable for your needs, it is advisable to study the principle of operation of an inkjet printer.
The scheme of work of inkjet printers is simple. From the tray, paper is pulled into the inside of the printer. The computer sends information about the text or image to the formatter board, which uses a print head and ink to reproduce it on paper. Sometimes, immediately after printing, the paper may be slightly damp. Some manufacturers, to eliminate this disadvantage, install a special heating.

If you look at the printed image through a microscope, you can see that the entire document consists of small drops of ink. In diameter, each such drop is dozens of times smaller than a human hair. The principle of inkjet printing is based on the spraying of small drops of ink that form a letter or symbol.

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Inkjet printer device

Now it’s worth familiarizing yourself with how an inkjet printer prints. Printheads have many small holes called nozzles or nozzles, and there can be thousands of them. Through them, under the influence of pressure, paint is pushed out. At the same time, through special channels in the print head, all ink colors lend themselves to the nozzles, but only those necessary for reproducing information are used, and unnecessary ones are sent for secondary use. This approach gives channels the ability to always be functional, even if only one color is often used.
The printhead can be installed inside the printer or aligned with the cartridge. The placement of this element affects the print speed of the inkjet printer. If the head is installed in the device itself, the speed level is significantly increased. There are machines whose speed reaches 60 sheets per minute.main components of an inkjet printer
Some people think that placing the head in the printer will reduce the cost of replacing cartridges. But in practice, this is not at all the case. The price for a cartridge with this element is almost identical to the price without it. Manufacturers must include a clause on printhead placement in their product descriptions.

How ink is fed

If everything is clear about how an inkjet printer works, then how ink does its job remains a mystery. Now let’s figure out how the drawing is created. Inkjet printing can be thermal and piezoelectric.

In cases where thermal inkjet printing is used, the ink boils under the influence of an electrically heated element up to 500 degrees Celsius. At this time, bubbles with paint form and the pressure in the ink chamber increases, as a result of which a drop is released through the nozzles. After that, the pressure in the chamber decreases and an additional portion is sent there. This method is called BubbleJet. Since the working temperature is high, the ink must be water-based, so that it does not ignite, does not leave carbon deposits.

Thermal printing technology highlights another method called drop-on-demand. Then the element with which the paint is heated is placed opposite the nozzle, which allows the bubbles to move in one direction. Heating is carried out up to a mark of 650 degrees, which allows you to create not a bubble, but a cloud of steam with paint. In this case, the picture is much clearer.

The print head with thermal technology stops working very quickly due to the constant influence of high temperature. In order for it to last longer, the ink level must be controlled because it can cool the printhead.types of printheads
Piezoelectric inkjet printing differs from thermal printing by the presence of a special diaphragm between the heating element and the ink chamber. The piezo crystal, when heated, bends the diaphragm, which squeezes the ink out of the chamber. After that, the plate bends in the opposite direction, capturing splashes that can ruin the picture.

With this technology, you can adjust the size of the droplets that will be released from the nozzle, which is very convenient for photo printers where inkjet printing is used, since small droplets make the picture clear and bright. The speed of piezoelectric printing is an order of magnitude higher than thermal.

Why do you need a cartridge

A cartridge is a container that holds liquid ink. Inkjet printers can be equipped with both combined and separate cartridges. The combined ones combine red, blue and yellow paints. In separate ones, each color has its own cartridge. For black, a separate cartridge is used in any case. Replacing the combination (tri-color) cartridge is necessary when only one of the colors runs out. This must be done even if there are still enough other colors, which is very uneconomical.

If the device is idle for a while, the ink inside the cartridge may dry out. There are several options to solve this problem. First, buy new ones. Secondly, contact a specialist who will try to restore performance. Thirdly, you can do the same steps as the specialists at home by reading an article on how to soak an inkjet cartridge. To do this, you need distilled water or a special liquid for rinsing the cartridges.

Cartridges for these devices are small, which means that the amount of ink in them is very small, about 13 milliliters. This volume is enough to print about 400 sheets of A4 paper at 5% coverage. Therefore, when the device is used very often, for example, in the office, then the cartridges are often changed. In this case, it is advisable to install a continuous ink supply system (CISS).printer with CISS

This design helps to save a lot of money, because when the ink in the container runs out, you just need to refill it, and not replace the whole design. It will also reduce the ink consumption of inkjet printers. Each time the cartridge is replaced, part of the ink is used to clean it, and when the device signals that the ink has run out, the container is still 10% full. Currently, many manufacturers of printing devices have begun to produce printers with a built-in ink supply system. Such devices cost a little more than printers with replaceable cartridges, but they are much cheaper in operation and work much more stable than printers with Chinese CISS.

Ink types

Water-soluble and pigment inks are used for inkjet printing. The latter are excellent for obtaining high quality pictures, therefore devices with such paints are installed in photo shops or in the production of photo wallpaper. In addition to the dye, water-based ink contains components that help the ink to easily impregnate the paper, fix in it, dye the fibers and dry very quickly.

The inkjet printer is capable of printing a color image, resistant to mechanical damage, of good quality. The only thing such a printout is afraid of is water. When wet, the picture or text will completely deteriorate.
To obtain the entire palette of shades, colors such as:
• yellow;
• blue;
• purple (red);
• the black.
This spectrum is enough for printing good pictures at home and even photographs. But to create brighter, higher-quality images, the photo printer is equipped with a palette with a large amount of ink. For example, light blue, light purple and other shades are added.

It would seem that black can be made of the three suggested colors. In practice, this method does not work to obtain a rich black color. This may be due to the poor quality of the dyes used to create the ink, or to other substances that are added to the ink solution to make it more stable and quick-drying. Therefore, each inkjet printer has a separate black ink cartridge.

Paper feeding method

You can load paper into the device vertically – then the feed tray is on top, or horizontally – the tray is located at the bottom. The device for moving the paper of the inkjet printer, picks up the sheet using a roller with rubber pads. To prevent the paper from moving, there is an additional roller also with rubber pads. Regardless of the presentation method, the orientation can be either portrait or landscape.

Be sure to ensure that the paper feed tray is not clogged with foreign objects. Otherwise, the sheets will wrinkle, advance unevenly and stain with paint. The device may be damaged.
Recently, multifunctional devices (mfp) have been very popular with buyers. This device combines the functions of three devices at once. On our website you can watch a video review of the model you are interested in and decide whether it is suitable or not according to the required characteristics.

Important points

After familiarizing yourself with how the printer works, you can draw the following conclusions: Despite the simplicity of the structure, printers that use inkjet printing are capable of producing high-quality printouts of both pictures and text documents.

  • Choosing between thermal and piezoelectric printing technology, you need to rely on the purpose for which the device is purchased. If you need a high quality picture, it is better to choose piezoelectric technology.
  • In order for the paint not to dry out, with a long idle time, you need to print at least one multi-colored page per week.
  • The inkjet printer is ideal for use at home with infrequent and not very intensive printing.
  • For office use, it is better to install CISS and the problem with frequent replacement of the inkjet printer cartridge will be eliminated.


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