Economies of ink

GCN Insider | Products and trends that affect the way government uses technology

With the release of a new round of high-volume multifunction color printers, Hewlett-Packard is testing a new way of charging for ink. Under the service agreement that comes with most HP models today, the company charges for the number of pages printed that have color ink on them. Even if you had only one dot of color on a document, your office would get charged for an entire color copy, said Tom Codd, HP's director of laser jet business marketing.

But HP seems to be getting kinder and gentler with its ink billing. Under this new service agreement, users of the CM8000 line can add small touches of color ' for logos, for instance ' at no extra cost. And they can apply professional or general-office color quality to documents, paying for the amount of ink they use rather than a fixed color page charge, making color printing significantly less expensive, Codd said.

The new printers mark the debut of HP's new Edgeline technology, which replaces moving print heads with a fixed array of print heads that dispenses ink across the full page, usually in a single pass. The technology uses HP Vivera office inks and a bonding agent to produce water-resistant prints on plain paper at high speeds.

The CM8060, one of the new models, is capable of printing an average of 60 pages per minute in black and white and 50 ppm in color, the company said. The CM8050 prints an average of 50 ppm in black and white and 40 ppm in color.

Like chief competitor Xerox, HP seems to be moving toward proprietary ink as a way to develop a competitive edge. Such inks could pave the way to smoother performance. By engineering printers with fewer moving parts and more precise control in dispensing inks, together with a new pricing scheme, HP expects to lower acquisition and operating costs by as much as 30 percent over comparable-quality printers, Codd said.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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