An explanation of laser printers
A laser printer is a common type of computer printer that employs non-impact technology (no keys are struck against the paper). Laser beams “draw” documents on selenium-coated drums using electrical charges when a document is sent to a printer. Toner is a dry powder type of ink that is rolled into the drum after it has been charged. A charged image is adhered to the drum by the toner. Heat and pressure are used to fuse the toner to a piece of paper. Following the printing of the document, the drum is cleaned and the excess toner collected. Laser printers typically print in monochrome only. Color laser printers are up to ten times more expensive than monochrome laser printers.
Laser printers were introduced by IBM in 1975 for use with its mainframe computers. Having introduced its first laser printer, the LaserJet in 1984, Hewlett-Packard revolutionized laser printing, making it affordable to personal computer users. There has been continuous decline in the price of laser printers and an increase in their quality since then. Its competitors include Lexmark, Okidata, and Xerox, but HP remains the market leader.
Inkjet printers differ in many ways from laser printers. In a laser printer, the ink or toner is dry. Inkjets use wet inks. Due to the greater frequency with which ink must be replenished, operating an inkjet printer is about ten times more expensive than operating a laser printer. A document printed on an inkjet printer will smear if it is wet, but one printed on a laser printer will not. With both types of printers, fonts can be added either by using font cartridges or by installing soft fonts. An inkjet printer will suffice if you need minimal printing. Nevertheless, if you are going to print a lot, you may need to purchase a laser printer.
You should consider the following when purchasing a laser printer:
Speed and capacity
The average laser printer can print 200 pages per week. This is a low-end device and costs $200 and up. A ppm (pages per minute) print speed of up to eight is possible. The printing of 1000 pages per week on average requires a workgroup printer. Costs range between $1000 and $6000 for printers that print at 24 ppm. When you print more than 50,000 pages a week, you need production printers. Commercial publishers also use these, but they are rather expensive. They can print up to 700 pages per minute and cost $100,000 or more. They can print seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.
Laser printers today have a standard resolution of 600 dots-per-inch ( dpi ). Small desktop publishing jobs can also be printed at this resolution. There is a possibility that a high-end production printer will have a resolution of 2400 dots per inch. The resolution of some laser printers is still 300 dpi. resolution. Depending on the resolution, jagged lines will appear around the edges of images. This was corrected when Hewlett Packard developed RET (Resolution Enhancement Technology). By inserting smaller dots, RET smoothes out rough edges of lines. However, the document does appear better with RET, even though the resolution does not change. RET is a crucial feature to look for when choosing a 300 dpi printer.
Generally, HP and other laser printer brands (which most are HP compatible) use the standard printer language, PCL (Printer Control Language). Letters, database prints, spreadsheets, and simple graphics can all be created with PCL. In desktop publishing and drawing packages, Postscript printers are widely used. Postscript printers are typically found in Apple MacIntosh computers. It is more expensive to purchase a laser printer with Postscript installed. A laser printer that uses PCL can be upgraded to Postscript by installing a driver from the laser printer’s manufacturer. The printer may need more memory in order to upgrade to Postscript. In order to print an image, laser printers need to load the entire file into their memory, while Postscript printers need more memory than PCL printers do. A laser printer cannot print Postscript documents unless the application supporting them supports Postscript.
Choosing the right laser printer depends on how it handles paper. Paper cut-to-size is used by most laser printers. Continuous sheet paper is used by high-end production printers. Transparencies, adhesive labels, and lightweight cards can all be printed on laser printers. Printing on both sides of a sheet of paper is possible with a laser printer as long as the paper is laminating double-sided. Duplex printing is typically performed manually with most laser printers. It is possible to print two sides manually on a printer by changing the print options within the printer’s properties or by printing one side, taking the paper out, and re-inserting it to print the other side.
FPOT and warm-up time
When choosing a printer, you should consider the FPOT (first paper out time) and the warm-up time. The laser printer prepares for printing within five to thirty seconds after getting data from the computer. The time taken to print the document is in addition to the actual printing time. Warming up is equally important. During the first 30 seconds after turning on the printer, the user needs to reach operating temperature. A printer’s warm-up time becomes even more crucial if it is in standby mode or has been turned off since it was last used. Warming up can take between five and fifteen minutes for large workgroups and production printers. Overall productivity can be hindered by this waiting period.