Solid ink printers, as the name suggests, are printers that use solid inks. Their way of printing is different because of the different types of ink they use. These printers were first introduced in the market in the 1990’s. They were very advantageous due to different types of printing and ink, and were very well received in the market. Since then, the solid ink printer has undergone many changes. The current printer version is an excellent piece of technology and is being used by many printing houses and other businesses.
The main feature of the solid ink printer is its ink. The ink it uses is in a solid form in its normal state. The foremost different design and function of this printer is to melt the ink so it can go on to the paper from an inkjet like any other printer. Initially, the printer had a print head that used to oscillate between the inkjet and the paper. But this proved to be problematic as the print head was a heavy piece of iron. While oscillating, this print head generated enough force to move the printer and the table it was resting on. To rectify this, solid ink printer was fitted with a drum; now on which the jet sprays the ink. This drum then rolls on to the page transferring the ink to the page. The function of this printer is in fact very similar to that of an offset printer.
Pros and Cons
The main advantage of solid ink printers is its variety of ink. Solid ink gives a much better ink quality than other printers. This is because with solid ink, when the ink goes on to the page it does not have to go through the process of drying as it is solid at an ambient temperature. Similarly, as it does not have to dry, the ink does not sink into the paper giving a far better and vivid printing quality. These printers also do not produce ozone while printing. Another ecological benefit is the reduced amount of waste with these types of printers. The ink comes in a solid form and does not need disposable containers like cartridges. Due to no cartridge use, there is simply no problem of compatibility. You can freely choose between quality inks. These printers also do not depend much on the type and size of paper and print media being used.
Some of its disadvantages are closely linked to its advantages. The ink that gives great prints can easily come off the page if you scrape it with a fingernail. Such printers are not apt for printing letterheads or pages that have to pass through another printer. The heat from laser printers and the like can melt the ink on the page. The ink also fades on exposure to UV or the sun’s rays due to the use of organic colorants. If you get a bad ink block, which has impurities the inkjet could easily get clogged. Because of the ink’s characteristic of freezing and melting, sudden stops and interruptions in printing result in ink wastage. The machine itself uses great amount of power. Due to the complexity of the machine with its rolling drum rotating at high speeds, the belt of the drum needs to be replaced periodically and can prove to be a costly affair.