HP’s new generation toner and more efficient cartridge design carries the promise of greater productivity and lower print and energy costs
The ‘most significant change since 1984’ is how HP describes the introduction of its new Original HP toner cartridges with JetIntelligence.
The product of five years’ development, the new ColorSphere 3 toner and cartridge design have benefits for customers, MPS providers and HP itself. These include up to 33% higher page yields, 53% lower energy consumption, 40% faster printing from wake-up, two-sided printing at the rated speed, 40% smaller devices and longer duty cycles.
In addition to improved printing performance, the new cartridges have intelligent management and security features that protect customers from counterfeit consumables and offer greater insight into printing practices.
Original HP toner cartridges with JetIntelligence have been co-developed with Canon, which will use the new toner and cartridge technology in its own products, although some ASICbased features, such as HP anti-theft technology, are proprietary to HP.
HP has already announced the first products to use the new technology. These are the HP Color LaserJet Pro M252 printer, HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277 and HP Color LaserJet Enterprise M552 and M553 printers – the smallest, fastest LaserJets ever. Over the coming months, it plans to move its entire LaserJet portfolio over to the new consumables.
As standard, all the new devices offer automatic two-sided printing; are web-enabled with built-in connectivity to the HP On Demand cloud platform; and feature a colour touchscreen for ease of use and interaction with print solutions being developed by HP, including HP JetAdvantage Private Print (see below).
So how do Original HP toner cartridges with JetIntelligence differ from previous generation consumables? HP has made advances in three main areas – toner, cartridge design and smart management.
COLORSPHERE 3 TONER
As 70% of the imaging technology needed to print resides within an all-in-one HP cartridge and the heart of the cartridge is toner, it is not surprising that most of the advances are the product of new ColorSphere 3 toner.
1. Less waste
At a launch event, using M&Ms and marbles as props, HP demonstrated how, over time, repeated circulation causes the outer shell of previous generation HP toner particles to chip and wear down (just like M&Ms in a glass jar). The resulting toner dust causes a gradual deterioration of print quality and reduces page yields.
An HP spokesperson said that in the past HP would fill a 20,000-page cartridge with enough toner for 25,000 pages, as it knew that 20% would not be suitable for printing.
With ColorSphere 3 toner, HP has overcome this problem by developing a hard outer shell that doesn’t break up with normal usage (the marbles). This ensures consistent print quality from the first page to the last and, by eliminating waste from damaged toner, delivers up to 33% higher page yields.
2. Energy efficiency
The second benefit of a hard outer shell is that the polymer/wax core can be much softer, with a lower melting point. This has enabled HP to reduce energy consumption by up to 53% and cut the time to first print to 7 seconds or less from sleep mode – up to 50% faster than the previous generation.
Performance improvements are not solely down to ColorSphere 3 toner. The use of smaller, more robust components within the cartridge itself, what HP calls Page Maximizer Technology, has also had an effect by creating more room inside the cartridge for toner. This has allowed HP to increase page yields, reduce cartridge (and printer) size and extend duty cycles.
The combination of higher yields and longer duty cycles reduces the number of interventions needed. This is likely to be of benefit to MPS providers, as well as end users, as it reduces servicing requirements.
For even easier cartridge changes than before, HP has replaced the familiar, removable orange toner seal strip with Automatic Seal Removal technology. This automatically draws the toner seal into the cartridge where it helps aerate the toner, thus reducing waste and offering ‘plug and play’ simplicity and convenience.
Together, ColorSphere 3 toner and Page Maximizer Technology deliver greater page yields (33% more pages than 131A and 507A cartridges) at a 9-10% lower cost per page.
In addition to new toner and cartridge components, the cartridges include proprietary HP technology that offers improved consumables management and protection against theft and counterfeit supplies.
These tools, which are off by default and must be turned on by the customer, also make life more difficult for producers of remanufactured and compatible cartridges. They include:
- HP Print Gauge Technology. This tracks print usage and shows how many pages have been printed and how many are left based on the user’s normal print behaviour. HP says it can do this with complete accuracy because ColorSphere 3 toner doesn’t degrade. Because the gauge only works with HP components, accurate status information won’t be available on remanufactured cartridges.
- Anti-fraud technology. When a cartridge is inserted, anti-fraud technology automatically confirms whether it is an HP original or a counterfeit or remanufactured product. This matters, says HP, because the printer fusing temperature has been set for low-melt ColorSphere 3 toner. If another toner is used, the temperature may be too low to fuse the toner to the page;
- Genuine HP Policy.This enables users to enforce a rule that only HP original supplies are used in a printer or entire printer fleet; and
- Anti-Theft technology. To prevent the theft of cartridges from printers, businesses have the option to link a cartridge to a specific printer or fleet. Should a cartridge be removed and used in another device, it won’t work.
Coinciding with its new cartridge design, HP is developing new solutions that address the challenges posed by changing working environments, including the need for mobility, security, manageability and support for hybrid workflows that integrate paper and digital material.
The first of these is HP JetAdvantage Private Print, a free application that gives small and medium-sized businesses a simple alternative to server-based secure print systems by marrying the convenience of PIN printing with the reach and flexibility of a server-based system.
Thanks to built-in connectivity to the HP On Demand cloud platform, users don’t have to print to a serverbased secure print system, but instead can upload an encrypted print job to the cloud from a PC, Mac or Android/iOS mobile device. They can then download the print job to any other registered LaserJet Pro printer with a touchscreen and internet connectivity and release it by entering a PIN or swiping a card.
Private Print is not as highly featured or as secure as enterpriseclass secure print systems. For example, a user with an account at company A could walk into company B and, assuming it too had an account, print off a document. One way to prevent this happening is to lock down the touchscreen and require users to enter a PIN to activate it.
HP’s new toner may not qualify as a quantum leap, but it does offer improvements across the board. In particular, its hard shell and low melting point have enabled HP to bring features normally found on high-end devices, such as duplex at the rated speed and sub-7 second first print out times, to personal printers, whilst at the same time reducing the cost per page and energy consumption.