Remanufactured Cartridges: Truth and Myths

When searching for printer cartridges, you are likely to stop at reliable source offering best price. Deciding on the reliable source may be a matter of taste or experience (personal or second-hand) and that is a subject for a separate discussion. Best price is something more objective. Looking for the best price, you may often come across so-called remanufactured cartridges. They cost the cheapest, so a natural question rises – if they are as reliable as they cost? Let’s have a look at what remanufactured cartridges really are.

The very idea of remanufacturing is to make an old thing work just like a new one. Yes, this is mean that a remanufactured cartridge was used before but has bee recovered to perform and provide same level of quality as the brand new cartridge. So, how do they transform an old cartridge into new one?

First of all, empty cartridges are collected (through purchase, donation or otherwise) and sent to a remanufacturing plant. At the plant, the cartridges are completely disassembled into components and carefully examined. A laser toner cartridge usually consists of several parts placed into cartridges case: toner hopper, developer unit, drum unit and cleaning blades.

Developer unit is made up of negatively charged beads that roll through the toner hopper. The beads pick up the toner and then release it on the electrostatic image of the drum unit. Drum is then rolled over a sheet of paper, transferring the image there. Cleaning blades are used to cleanse residual toner from the drum.

Examination must be conducted to determine what parts are worn and require replacement. The cartridge shell can be re-used indefinitely with no effect on the level of performance of the cartridge. There is usually no need to replace the shell, unless it’s somehow seriously damaged. All other parts get worn over time and are replaced with new components.

Now we have a set of examined and tested cartridge components. From this point on the remanufacturing process is no different from making new cartridges. The parts are assembled into a shell to make up single unit, which is then filled with printer toner. After that the cartridge is tested for consistency to ensure the cartridge provides the proper level of performance and quality.

OK, the remanufactured cartridges are good. Why are they so cheap anyway? Let’s consider this issue. Remanufacturing a cartridge requires less energy that producing one. It doesn’t involve processing of materials and, before that, acquisition of them (three quarts of oil are required to produce a cartridge). Most cartridges are remanufactured locally, so no costs for overseas transportation (brand new cartridges are produced in Asia).

There is something else on remanufactured cartridges.

You, probably, heard rumors about remanufactured cartridges being this and that. Indeed, there are some myths wandering around about remanufactured cartridges and to dispel them I’m going to cite some of the myth provided in a document by to dispel them.

1. Use of remanufactured cartridges will void your computer warranty.

In USA, UK and Australia, Fair Trade Laws absolutely prohibit making use of a specific product a condition of a warranty unless the product is provided at no costs to the user.

2. Remanufactured cartridges are inferior to new ones.

Government, major corporations and independent testing laboratories certify that properly remanufactured toner cartridges perform as well or better than cartridges
made and sold as new by major printer and cartridge makers.

3. Empty cartridges you return to HP, Lexmark and others are reused.

Only 20% of empty cartridges are recovered by anyone.

Independent cartridge remanufacturers recover more empty cartridges than all of their original makers combined.

HP/Canon grinds them into powders that are then made it to pellets for use
in making low grade plastic products such as CD cases and cup.

4. Defective toner cartridges damage printers causing expensive repairs.

Toner cartridges are largely self-contained and make limited contact with the parts
of printers.

The worst that happens is that toner from a failed cartridges must be removed from the printer. All cartridges deposit some toner inside of their printers.

Properly remanufactured cartridges do not damage printers or create more wear than cartridges that are properly assembled by or for printer makers.

5. Remanufacturers reuse toner in their cartridges.

If they did, none of the cartridges would work!

Toner becomes contaminated during the printing process by paper dust
and electrical charges rendering it unusable.

Every cartridge model requires a different toner formulation. Combining
contaminated toners would compound problems.

6. Remanufacturers just replace the toner in cartridges.

Professional remanufacturers replace every worn or damaged component in their cartridges.

Many parts are failing at the end of their initial use as a result of engineering
decisions made in Japan and China.

As a general rule, the lower the price, the fewer parts have been replaced.

If the seller does not want you to return your remanufactured empty, most of the parts are beyond reuse because they didn’t replace any before they sold it to you.

Single reuse remanufacturers are cheating you and the environment.

Hopefully this information will help you make a smart choice when buying remanufactured toner cartridges.

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