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How Inkjet Printers Work

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How Inkjet Printers Work

Since the 1980s, inkjet printers have been rising in popularity, and they have now become a staple commodity within offices and homes around the world. These printers are available to just about anyone looking for an efficient, high quality printer, because just as the popularity of these items has risen, the costs have dropped thanks to large manufacturing corporations such as HP, Canon and Brother.

The Different Types of Printer Technologies

Printers function in two different ways, through impact and non-impact technology. The impact printers work through a mechanism that actually impacts with the paper in order to leave an image behind, while the non-impact printers function slightly differently, without having to touch the paper. There are a wide variety of printers that function in both of these ways, but the inkjet printer functions solely on non-impact technology.
In order to imprint an image onto a sheet of paper, an inkjet printer will make use of a nozzle in order to spray the ink onto a sheet of paper. These droplets are usually very small in size, and this is what allows it to retain its high quality printing capabilities. These days, inkjet printers are revered because of their efficiency and quality printing abilities, which is why it is one of the most common printing mechanisms bought by consumers today.

The Components That Make Up an Inkjet Printer

In order to function, an inkjet printer is built using a range of components, which include: ink cartridges, a print head (which is the centre of the printer, and contains the nozzles from which the ink is sprayed), the belt (which is the connection between the stepper motor and the print head), the stepper motor (which is relied upon to move the print ahead along the paper) and the stabilizer bar.

These are the basic components of the average inkjet printer, although certain makes and models may vary slightly in terms of the number of parts within the item.

The Two Types of Inkjet Printer Technologies

As was previously stated, inkjet printers are non-impact technologies, and this means that the ink is sprayed onto the paper in order for an image to form. With this being said, there are two different ways that an inkjet printer can function in order to allow the ink to be sprayed in this way, and these are through thermal bubbles and piezoelectric technologies.

Non-Impact Printing Through Thermal Bubbles

This type of technology is more commonly used by printer manufacturers such as Hewlett Packard and Canon, and it makes used of a bubble jet in order to allow the ink to be transferred onto the paper. In order to achieve this, a resistor within the printer needs to start heating up. These types of printers usually have print heads that contain up to about 600 nozzles, and when the resister is heated up, ink is pulled up out of these nozzles, and they begin to form bubbles which expand and then pop onto the paper. As these bubbles explode, more ink is pulled up from the nozzles through the vacuum that is formed, and this is how these printers are able to function so quickly.  

Non-Impact Printing Through Piezoelectric Technology

This type of technology was patented by Epson, and it makes use of piezo crystals in order to allow ink to be sprayed onto a piece of paper. These crystals, which are manufactured within the back end of the nozzles, are charged and this causes them to begin vibrating. When this happens, the ink is then pushed from the nozzle, which then becomes fixed to the paper. The moment this ink is released, another droplet will take its place, causing the cycle to reoccur until the printer has completed its job.  

Making Use of an Inkjet Printer

When you have set up your printer, you will usually have to follow the commands on your computer screen in order to start printing, but while this might seem simple, there are a range of actions taken by the printer technology to allow your printing job to be completed within a few seconds after you press print.

Before you can begin making use of your printer, you will be required to install the software that came along with the device. This software is basically the translator between your computer and your printer, and without it, your printer won’t be able to understand the commands that you give it. The moment you press print, the software will send a command to the driver connected to the printer, in order to let it know that its services are required. The driver will then determine whether the printer is able to carry out the command; if this is the case, the printer will then store information from the computer relating to the printing job. If there are any issues with the device, these will need to be resolved before it will carry out the command.

When the printer is ready to begin the job, it will then activate the stepper motor for the paper feed, which will then position the sheet in the correct location. The belt will then begin moving the print head along the paper, allowing the ink to be sprayed accordingly. While the printer might seem to work continuously until the entire printing job has been completed, during each spray, the printer head will stop for a split second before continuing on with the job.

Mixing the Appropriate Colours

In order to spray the right colours onto the page, the printer head will spray various dots onto the paper, using inks that contain the CMYK hues. These mixtures are precise, and the printing occurs so quickly that most people will never notice the complex technologies that are at play while the device is working.

The Speed of an Inkjet Printer

Printers function at varying speeds, but it is common for these devices to print faster when working in black and white. In order to determine how fast a printer is, consumers simply need to turn to the user manual that came with the product.



Epson®, HP®, Lexmark®, Canon®, Brother®, and other manufacturer brand names and logos are registered trademarks of their respective owners. We reference these Mfg names for compatibility purposes only.

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