In this day and age, rapid advancements in science and technology have made an impact in the world of printers as well. And such is the pace of these advancements that within a span of just a few years, we have moved to compact printers that can yield high quality prints that too at a faster rate and at really affordable prices.
No matter how advanced the printers of today are, most of them require an ink to yield outputs; this is the presumption all of us have. But this may not exactly be the case. Surprised? There are printer manufacturers worldwide who have already added printers that don’t need ink cartridges to print to their product list. Let’s delve into some of the aspects of inkless printing in a bit more detail.
Why printing without ink makes sense?
Inkless printers can serve as an able alternative if we consider the hassles that are involved in the maintenance of ink printers. As we know, ink is messy and requires high maintenance. Consider this scenario – you have a project report for which you require a printout. You reach home and as soon as you fire a printout, all you get are blank pages. Suddenly you remember that you haven’t used your printer for quite some time, so the ink cartridge might just have dried out. You would surely curse your printer. The first thing that would creep in your head is to how in the world could you do away with this cartridge? Well, a technology is in place that does away with printers with ink cartridges, just to make your life a bit simpler.
Technologies that make inkless printers work
Inkless printers use the ZINK Technology developed by ZINK Imaging. With, ZINK or Zero Ink comprising the backbone of your printer, it doesn’t require ink cartridges or ribbons to print. The technology revolves around a special paper called ZINK paper, which contains numerous tiny crystals colored in yellow, magenta, and cyan. In fact, these are the only colors which mainstream printers need to produce color printouts. An inkless printer applies an adequate amount of heat to activate these crystals on the paper and yield high-quality printouts.
Another technology worth a discussion centers on a paper under development by Xerox, which as quoted by the company will be completely reusable. Once developed, this paper would actually work wonders for those who require a printout, but only for temporary use. And since it can be recycled, it would also contribute in environment protection in a big way. Here’s how the paper works: The paper is coated with heliochromic chemicals. These chemicals darken when the printer exposes it with the right wavelength of ultraviolet light at the required places and yield the desired printouts. The best part about these printouts is that they fade automatically in 16-24 hours and can be reused afterwards.
Inkless printers available today
Although, the technology may be unheard-of by most of us, there are various companies who have developed inkless photo printers for commercial use. Dell, for example, has its own inkless printer, the Dell Wasabi Ultramobile, which employs ZINK solutions to print high-quality photos. With a size as compact as 4.8”x2.9”x0.9”, you can easily carry it wherever you go. Polaroid also markets its own PoGo Mobile Printer. With this printer right there by your side, you can connect it with your mobile via the Bluetooth to instantly bring your photos to life. Pandigital Portable Photo Printer is another one of its kind that makes use of ZINK technology to yield photos of desired quality.
As it can be noted, inkless photo printers have indeed occupied a decent place in the printer market. Yet, it would take inkless printers some more time to be of more use commercially. However, it can be safely concluded that at the pace with which the technology is growing, that day is not that far-off.
Image by: Bfishadow