Inkjet printers are often highly affordable to purchase and offer high quality full colour printing, however, the challenge around these printers is usually the cost of the ink itself, says Ruben Naicker, Epson product specialist at Drive Control Corporation.

Replacement ink cartridges can be an expensive repeat purchase, increasing the total cost of ownership on inkjet devices.

DIY methods of extending the life of ink cartridges and lowering the cost of printing create their own problems as they can void the warranty and even damage the printer itself. Refillable ink systems created by the printer manufacturers themselves address this dilemma effectively, offering cost effective, environmentally friendly options that are designed to work with the printer.

Although the trend towards printing less has been driven by environmental concern, printing remains a necessity in many offices, for essential documents that cannot be delivered electronically. Colour printing is often highly desirable, but colour laser printers can be costly to purchase, which makes inkjet a more affordable option at the outset.

However, the total cost of ownership (TCO) of these printers can be high. Colour inkjet printers typically ship with low yield ink cartridges, which mean they need to be replaced not long after purchase, and often, mixed colour cartridges require replacing when a single colour runs out, even though other colours may still be available.

Ink is an expensive commodity, and when added to increasing environmental concerns around the waste created by consumables, has led users to seek alternative means of lowering the cost of printing and extending the life of their cartridges.

These methods include purchasing non-genuine ‘compatible’ consumables, as well as Do It Yourself ink refill kits. While these may initially seem like a more cost effective solution, they often create more problems than they solve.

Firstly, using either compatible ink cartridges or DIY refill solutions will void the warranty on the printer, leaving the consumer with no recourse should the device fail.

Refilled and compatible cartridges can also damage the working parts of the printer including the drums and rollers, and potentially also cause the printer to fail, which in the absence of a valid warranty means the consumer must buy a new device.

Even if neither of these outcomes occurs, the quality of prints delivered by these alternate methods is often substandard, which in a business environment presents an unprofessional image.

In order to make inkjet printing more affordable without users having to resort to damaging methods to curb costs, printer manufacturers have stepped up to address this challenge with an innovative new solution: refillable ink tank systems.

These printers feature ultra-high-capacity integrated ink tanks for each colour (cyan, magenta, yellow and black), with high-volume, affordable ink bottles that can easily be used to refill each tank when necessary.

One bottle of black ink delivers an ultra high yield of up to 4000 pages of consistent, high quality prints, while the printers are now capable of printing up to 6500 full colour pages on a single refill. The tanks themselves feature fast ink top up with airtight caps and filters to prevent ink wastage, and choke valves to prevent ink backflow.

The ink bottles themselves are also re-sealable for storage when not in use, extending the life of the ink and ensuring fresh ink is available whenever necessary.

Because these refill systems have been designed by the print manufacturer to work with their printers, users are assured of high quality, affordable printing without having to resort to generic inks that deliver poor quality and can damage printers.

One bottle of ink can last up to 10 times longer than a single ink cartridge, dramatically reducing the cost of colour printing for the home, student or small office user. Printers shipping with refillable ink tank systems offer ultra-high capacity printing and incredible convenience without compromising on performance, quality or warranties.