Epson : 2014 Will Be a Good Year For Printer Ink
Tired of inkjet printer ink that you buy in minute quantities, costing you $100 for a set of cartridges that seem to run out in the twinkling of an eye? Soon Epson will sell you ink in litre bags that are good for 75,000 pages.
The catch is, the bags are not for home printing, but rather they’re part of Epson’s push into the upper reaches of the corporate printing market. The Japanese printer maker has built high-end inkjet printers capable of printing a whopping 100 pages a minute, that it’s hoping could one day replace laser printers.
It’s known as the Replaceable Ink Pack System, or RIPS for short.
Epson is about to release a RIPS printer to the Japanese market, capable of printing roughly 24 pages per minute using a moving inkjet print head quite like the ones we’re all used to.
But it has also demonstrated to its staff a RIPS printer that has a 11 print heads ganged together side-by-side so they’re the full width of a page, meaning the print head doesn’t have to move, meaning paper can fly through the machine at around 100 pages per minute (or “impressions per minute” as they call it). That’s as fast as many, though not all, high-end laser printers.
The advantage of the RIPS system, says Epson, is that it costs less to run and produces less waste. One set of the bags pictured above prints as many pages as 50 laser printer toner cartridges and six photoconductor unit replacements. It’s a tiny pile of waste next to a huge pile of waste.
Epson is coy about how much the ink for one of these printers would cost, for the reason that customers may never pay for it directly. When the printers launch in Japan later this year, they’ll only be available as part of a managed printing service, which is charged for by the page rather than by the ink used.
So we’ve done a little back-of-the-envelope calculation ourselves.
The black ink bag (pictured above) is, like I said, good for around 75,000 printed pages. If you were to try to print that many pages using old fashioned ink cartridges, such as the Epson Standard Capacity Claria Premium Black Ink Cartridge, and presuming you get around 400 pages per cartridge (Epson’s figure), it would take around 188 cartridges.
Those cartridges are $19.99 each on the Epson website, meaning the cartridge ink required to print 75,000 pages would cost you $3758.12.
Now, each of the black RIPS bags appears to hold around a litre of ink. Meanwhile, a wine bottle holds 750 mls, so multiplying $3758.12 by 0.75 means that, if this ink were wine, it would cost $2818.59.
The message is clear. If someone sends you a bag of Epson ink as a gift, ring them up to thank them. If you must write them a note, type it up in a word processor and print it out with the Epson ink. Don’t write it by hand, whatever you do.