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A viable alternative to toner

Louella Fernandes, Quocirca Associate Director for Print Services and Solutions, outlines how business inkjet can form part of a sustainable strategy for print

Louella Fernandes
Louella Fernandes

The emergence of professional-class business inkjet printers and MFPs with lower running costs, high-capacity ink cartridges and professional print quality is challenging the traditional dominance of laser devices in the office print environment.

Quocirca research reveals that the shift to inkjet is already underway, especially in the SME sector. One third of SMEs say they have already started the transition to inkjet printers, compared to 19% of large enterprises, with a further 27% planning to do so in the next 12 months.

IDC expects the business inkjet market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.2% from 2015 to 2020. According to our analysis, the main factors driving this growth are:

Lower cost of printing. Inkjet printers are claimed to offer up to 50% lower running costs than comparable laser devices.

Energy saving. Inkjets use no heat in the printing process, so consume less power. Epson claims its WorkForce Pro printers use up to 96% less energy than lasers.

Diverse media compatibility. Inkjet printers can print on a diverse range of papers and specialist media.

Minimal service interventions. With fewer components to replace than laser and high capacity cartridges, business inkjets are likely to experience less downtime and require fewer user/service provider interventions.

Less waste. Compared to the laser printing process, which uses drums, transfer assemblies and fusers, a business inkjet printer with a permanent printhead has far fewer components. According to independent tests, Epson WorkForce Pro models produce up to 94% less waste than equivalent lasers.

These qualities ensure business inkjets score highly in the main criteria for print selection – reliability, price and running costs – as well as secondary considerations, such as sustainability.

For all business inkjet’s strengths, laser technology is still best for some applications. Rather than shifting entirely from one technology to another, organisations should deploy both technologies depending on their business need. Quocirca research suggests that organisations that operate a balanced deployment model, with a mix of technologies and distributed and centralised printers and MFPs, are more likely to report reduced environmental impact and lower energy usage.

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