One of the significant components of printers and copiers is the toners, which help imprint the image or document on the computer. Instead of the printer applying ink, it grabs the colors in the toner. It is essential to understand that toner cartridges are not ink but electrically charged powder colors made of pigment and plastic. On this note, let us understand more about toner cartridges which help us deliver beautiful images and the necessary text on a substrate.
Working on toner cartridges
As mentioned above, toners are composed of two components – plastic and pigments, each of which has a simple yet exciting role in the process of printing. The pigments provide color, while the plastic allows these pigments to stick to the substrate when applying heat.
When the plastic in these toners is heated, they melt. This melting process has a tremendous advantage to the toner over traditional ink cartridges. This helps bind the pigment firmly to the paper fibers, resisting bleeding of color and smudges. Hence, this process guarantees that are fine, even, and vivid image is formed on the paper.
Aside from the crisp text and images delivered by toner cartridges, another significant aspect of using a toner is cost-effectiveness. Compared to ink cartridges, they are the most efficient ones used in printers and copiers for official and household purposes.
Anatomy of a toner cartridge
Depending on the printer’s model, each toner’s design varies. However, the following are the essential components in a toner cartridge, irrespective of their model or manufacturer.
- Hopper: It is a small container that houses the toner
- Seal: It is a thin strip that prevents toner from leaking before their installation
- Doctor blade: It helps to control the amount of toner distributed to the developer precisely
- Developer: It is a component that delivers the toner to the OPCC drum
- Waste bin: It collects all the residual toner after its use in the OPC drum
- Wiper Blade: It wipes off the toner residues on the page.
- PCR: The primary charge roller applies a uniform negative OPC to the drum and erases the laser image.
- OPC: Organic photo-conductor: It helps in transferring toner onto the paper or the substrate
- Drum shutter: It protects the drum from light and retracts it into the printer when not used.
Working on the cartridge
In most cartridges, the hopper, developer, and assembly are a part of the replaceable unit. When an image or text is being printed, the printer collects the toner from the hopper with the developer’s help. After collecting the positively charged particles of the toner, it brushes them past the drum assembly. The drum then moves over the paper and pulls the toner particles off the drum, forming an electrostatic image. The paper then passes through the rollers, which are internal heaters. Since the heat melts the plastic in the toner, the toner particles are stuck to the paper, forming the image. The entire process happens within seconds.