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What is a Remanufactured Ink Cartridge?

What is a Remanufactured Ink Cartridge?

A remanufactured cartridge is an ink cartridge that has been produced using the remains of an empty original cartridge. You can find remanufactured versions of many different ink cartridges online including those originally produced by Canon, Epson, Dell, Hewlett Packard (HP), Lexmark, Samsung and Sharp. When remanufacturing inks the cartridges are cleaned through and then have any non-reusable parts replaced, before being refilled with a high quality ink. If the cartridges require an ink level estimate to be recognised by a printer they then have the chips reset or replaced.

Refilling ink cartridges using a specialist vacuum sealed machine.

Refilling ink cartridges using a specialist vacuum sealed machine.

The resulting remanufactured cartridges offer a substantial saving over a brand new cartridge, yet still offer prints of a comparable quality. This is not just great for your wallet, but is a more environmentally friendly way of running your printer.

With the cost of sourcing, the man hours involved in recycling and the cost of replacement components/ink, remanufactured cartridges are by their very nature more expensive. Which leads me nicely to the next question.

Why bother remanufacturing ink cartridges?

The main reason that the remanufacturing of ink cartridges is necessary is the patents held by the original cartridge manufacturers. Whether it is a small plastic lip within the cartridge or a complicated mechanical printhead, the humble ink cartridge has many different patented components that can easily be infringed when producing a compatible alternatives. As such many a company will opt to remanufacture cartridges and avoid any potential legal difficulties.

Ink Cartridge PrintheadIn addition to the legal reasons, there are certain components like the printheads (mentioned previously) that are also extremely sophisticated and difficult to reproduce effectively. Whilst it would be possible to re-create such components, the research and development required to produce a printhead makes the process undesirable. This means the re-using of such components an ideal solution.

Whilst manufacturers generally state that ink cartridges and their components are intended for single use only, in reality a printhead will be able to continue functioning long after the ink has been used. There are of course instances where the printhead fails prematurely, but ink cartridges are tested so thoroughly after being remanufactured that most issues are detected before they even go up for sale.

Are there any disadvantages to using remanufactured cartridges?

In short, not really. When you buy a remanufactured unit the majority of the cartridge is still comprised of the manufacturers own components. Original cartridge manufacturers spend millions developing this technology to ensure you get the very best quality prints and you can still take advantage of this with a remanufactured unit as the same technology is being used. Any degradation of print quality from a previously used printhead will be nominal as anything more severe is detected during testing.

With some remanufactured cartridges you do not get an ink level estimate like you would with a brand new cartridges. If however something has not been put in place by the remanufacturer to reset the estimate this will be because such a thing is not necessary and your printer will continue to use the cartridge in spite of this. This actually works to the consumers advantage as you can continue to use the cartridge until the ink has been physically used and the cartridge is genuinely empty.

I hope you have found this article useful, if however you have any other queries or even similar questions please do let us know in the comments below.

About the author

Matthew Stevenson

I have been involved in the printer industry since I was 18 and have been an employee of Refresh Cartridges since early 2009. I am a dedicated family man, gamer, music fan and friend to all. I write the majority of the content here on Igloo and am responsible for its upkeep.

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