How Ink Jet Cartridges work

Learn how Ink Jet Cartridges work in printers by watching this short video and reading all of our tips and tricks below!

If any of your printers need a new Ink Cartridge be sure to give us a call at INKman on 039 312 1333.

The print head and circuitry, which perform most of the work for the inkjet printer, are contained on the ink cartridge itself. There are 48 nozzles (jets) in the print head on the bottom of the cartridge. Each nozzle is smaller in diameter than a human hair. Under each nozzle is a heater (resistor) that heats the ink inside the cartridge. When the ink is heated, a bubble forms that bursts, shooting the ink through the jets onto the paper.

The resistors on most cartridges will continue to fire until they burn out, about every sixth time the cartridge is recycled. This is the average, but not the rule. The reality is that up to 5 percent of all inkjet cartridges cannot be recycled even once, and some can be recycled many more than five times.

Today’s inkjet and laser printers have generally replaced the earlier dot matrix printers that were the main stay of printer technology in the early years of the computer although this technology is still used for certain specialized printing jobs.

Inkjet printers position extremely small droplets of ink onto paper to create an image. The dots are extremely small (usually between 50 and 60 microns in diameter), so small that they are tinier than the diameter of a human hair (70 microns)! The dots are positioned very precisely, with resolutions of up to 1440×720 dots per inch (dpi). The dots can have different colors combined together to create photo-quality images.

An inkjet printer consists of:
Print head assembly including the print head, ink cartridges, print head stepper motor, that moves the print head assembly (print head and ink cartridges) back and forth across the paper and the belt (attaches the print head assembly to the stepper motor).
The print head contains a series of nozzles that very precisely spray minute drops of ink onto the paper as the stepper moves the print head across the paper.

There are two main inkjet technologies currently found in inkjet printers: thermal bubble or bubble jet where tiny resistors create heat that vaporizes the ink to create a bubble. As the bubble expands, some of the ink is pushed out of a nozzle onto the paper and when the bubble collapses a vacuum is created which draws more ink into the print head from the cartridge.

A typical bubble jet print head has 300 to 600 miniscule nozzles all of which can fire a droplet simultaneously.

The second major inkjet technology ispiezoelectric. Piezo crystals deform when an electric current is applied. They are found at the rear of the ink reservoir of the cartridge nozzles and each nozzle forces a tiny amount of ink out of the nozzle when the crystal receives a tiny electric charge that causes it to vibrate.
As you can see, the ink cartridge is a very important, precision manufactured component in both technologies.


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