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THE EVOLUTION OF PRINTING - THE LAST 100 YEARS

Printing has come a long way since its invention back in 200AD. Back then, woodblock printing was the only option.

Things moved forward quickly over the next 1700 years, with the introduction of Movable Type, Etching, Rotary Press & Hectograph all making their stamp, and then eventually being replaced.  However, the advances in technology and the printing innovations that have taken place over the years are really quite astonishing.

Join us as we take you back in time to look at the evolution of printing over the last 100 years…

1910 – SCREEN PRINTING

Screen printing first appeared in a recognisable form in China way back in 960AD.

However it was early in the 1910’s that printers began experimenting with photo-reactive chemicals, thus revolutionising the screen printing industry.

Technique: Screen Printing involved a blade or squeegee moving across the screen (a piece of mesh stretched over a frame) to fill open areas with ink. Blocking stencils prevented ink from reaching certain places.

Fun Fact: World Famous artist, Andy Warhol is credited for popularising Screen Printing. His iconic 1962 depiction of Marilyn Monroe was screen printed in garish colours.

1923 – SPIRIT DUPLICATOR

The Spirit Duplicator was more commonly known as the Ditto Machine in America, or the Banda Machine in the UK.

Before photocopying technology was introduced, Spirit Duplicators were popular in the production of newsletters and fanzines.

Technique: This method used two sheets, called spirit masters. The top sheet was typed, written or drawn upon and the bottom one was covered in wax. The pressure placed on the waxed sheet then produced a mirror image of the desired marks.

Fun Fact: Because of its ability to produce multiple colours in a single pass, the spirit duplicator was popular with cartoonists.

1925 – DOT MATRIX PRINTING

German inventor, Rudolf Hell invented a dot matrix based device in 1925. It was called the Hellschreiber and was patented four years later in 1929.

Until the 1990’s, Dot Matrix printers were by far the most common form of printer used with personal and home computers.

Technique: Much like a typewriter,a print head moves back-and-forth or up-and-down and prints on impact, striking an ink-soaked cloth ribbon against the sheet paper or other material. However, unlike a typewriter, individual letters are drawn out by a Dot Matrix, allowing various fonts and graphics to be reproduced.

Fun Fact: Like Dot Matrix versions, nearly all inkjet, thermal and laser printers print closely spaced dots.

1938 - XEROGRAPHY

Originally named Electrophotography, Xerography was invented by Pal Selenyi, a Hungarian physicist in 1938.

Technique: A dry photocopying process where areas on a sheet of paper are sensitised by static electricity & sprinkled with a resin that is fused to the paper.

Fun Fact: This technology still exists in modern day photocopy machines & laser printers.

1951 – INKJET PRINTING

While similar technology was patented back in 1867, the first commercial inkjet product was released in 1951 by manufacturing giants, Siemens.

Although introduced in 1951, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that inkjet printers could reproduce images created by personal computers.

Technique: A high pressure pump directs liquid ink through a microscopic nozzle creating a continuous stream of ink droplets.

Fun Fact: One square meter of inkjet print contains around 20 billion droplets.

1957 – DYE SUBLIMATION

This method of printing focusses on the science of sublimation.

Sublimation is the transition of a substance directly from solid to gas – without passing through the intermediate liquid phase.

Technique: Sublimation dyes are transferred to sheets of transfer paper via liquid gel ink. The ink is then deposited on high-release inkjet papers. After the digital design is printed onto sublimation transfer sheets, it is placed on a heat press along with the substrate to be sublimated.

Fun Fact: Today, Dye Sublimation is a digital method of printing commonly used for decorating apparel, signs, banners and novelty items.

1969 – LASER PRINTING

Laser Printing was invented by then Xerox product developer, Gary Starkweather in 1969. Already working within the photocopying market, Starkweather had the idea of using a laser beam to draw an image on paper. He then adapted a Xerox copier, which became one of the first commercial laser printers on the planet.

Technique: Text and graphics are produced by repeatedly passing a laser beam over a negatively charged cylinder - called a drum. The drum selectively collects electrically charged toner (powdered ink) and transfers the image to paper.

Fun Fact: The first laser printer designed for office use was sold for the equivalent of £13,200.

1972 – THERMAL PRINTING

Traditionally light and small in size, Thermal Printers are ideal for portable retail applications such as point of sale systems.

During the 1990’s many fax machines also used thermal printing technology.

Technique: A printed image is produced by heating thermal paper when it passes over the thermal print head. The coating turns black in the heated area, thus producing an image.

Fun Fact: The 1998 Game Boy Printer was a small thermal printer used to print out elements from some games.

1981 – 3D PRINTING

This method is also known as additive manufacturing.

In 1981, Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute invented two additive methods for producing 3D plastic models.

Technique: When it comes to modern day versions, imagine an inkjet printer – but on steroids. Where an inkjet printer puts a single layer of ink on top of the page, a 3D printer adds new layers on top of each layer until the object is completed.

Fun Fact: 3D printers have been used to print a huge variety of different objects, including jewellery, clothing, medical prosthetics, food and houses.

1991 – DIGITAL PRINTING

Digital printing allows digital-based images to be printed directly from a personal computer or other electronic devices.

This method has revolutionised the printing world, allowing for shorter turnaround times and far greater flexibility.

Technique: Digital printers assemble images from a complex set of numbers and mathematical formulas. These images are captured from pixels – a process called digitising. The digitised image is used to control the deposition of ink or toner, which ultimately, reproduces the image.

Fun Fact: Digital printing uses a colour management system, which keeps images looking the same despite where they are printed.

NATIONAL STATIONERY WEEK

National Stationery Week is upon is, with April 24-30 marking this year’s celebration of writing and office materials.

Below, we have complied a list of 20 fun facts about stationery. As ever, feel free to share your opinions over on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

1. An average sized pine tree can make just over 80,000 sheets of paper.

2. Before erasers were invented in 1770, the preferred method for removing pencil was actually stale bread.

3. The world’s first pencil was invented way back in 1565.

4. The average office worker handles around 10,000 sheets of paper per year.

5. Pencil leads actually contain no lead whatsoever – just graphite and clay

6. The Egyptians invented scissors back in 1500BC.

7. In the UK, around 45 million printer cartridges are send to landfill every year.

8. During the Second World War, paper clips were used to help fight the Nazis.

Norwegian resistance members wore paper clips on their lapels as a discreet sign to show that they were fighting Hitler’s men.

9. Talking of World War II, this was also where ballpoint pens rose to fame. The Royal Air Force needed an alternative to the fountain pen as it couldn’t handle high levels of altitude without leaking.

10. The average ballpoint pen can draw a line two miles long.

11. However, a typical lead pencil can draw one that is 35 miles long – providing you sharpen it every now and then, of course.

12. Pencils can write in zero gravity and while underwater.

13. The first known stapler was made for King Louis XV of France in the 18th century.

14. Joseph Priestley, the man who discovered oxygen, also helped to invent erasers.

15. The Fulgor Nocturnus is the most expensive pen in the history of the world. Decorated with 945 black diamonds, the pen sold for the equivalent of£6.2mat a Shanghai auction back in 2010.

16. 2,500 pencils can be made from one average sized tree.

17. The word ‘pen’ comes from an old French word for the tail feather or long wing of a bird.

18. Pencils didn’t have rubbers attached to the end of them until around 100 years ago. This was due to teachers feeling as though they would encourage students to make errors.

19. Talking of which, the metal band that now attaches a pencil to a rubber is called a ferrule.

20. Mick Clay invented the drawing pin back in 1903. Sadly, that didn’t stop him from living in poverty as shortly after, he sold the invention.

Article written by Calum Chinchen – Social Media Executive at Red Bus Cartridges163, Beaconside, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE34 7PT163, Beaconside, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE34 7PT

WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID COUNTERFEIT PRINTER CARTRIDGES

We live in day and age where everyone is looking to save money. We are constantly told to shop around in order to find the best deal.

But one thing you shouldn’t sacrifice when looking for a bargain is quality, and printer cartridges are no exception to this.

While counterfeit printer cartridges can save you a huge amount compared to Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or remanufactured versions, they can cause huge problems to your print quality, hardware and even your personal safety.

Below is a list of the reasons why purchasing counterfeit cartridges should be avoided at all costs.

THEY PRODUCE POOR QUALITY PRINTS

So many people make the mistake of thinking they can ‘get away’ with poor quality, counterfeit printer cartridges – but the truth is you can’t.

The first problem if you are going to encounter is whether the cartridge will actually work at all. In all honesty, you are dodging a bullet if it doesn’t!

However, if it does pass the initial test, then expect a really poor print compared to original or remanufactured cartridges.

Poor colour quality, splotches and streaks are among the many complaints from counterfeit cartridge users.

Also, expect your counterfeit cartridge to be empty pretty quickly after purchase, as there are rarely fully filled during their slapdash manufacture.

THEY CAUSE DAMAGE TO YOUR PRINTER

If you get away with only poor quality printing then to be honest, you should be thankful.

The next, more impactful consequence, is damage to your printer. Counterfeit cartridges can cause a variety problems, at that is usually down to poor quality components used in their manufacture and the fact that they are ill-fitting when inserted into your printer.

Expect leaks, bursts and spits from your counterfeit, all of which can cause permanent staining and damage to the hardware.

Physical damage to both your printer, and yourself should also be taken into account as it is a real possibility.

While remanufactured cartridges are far cheaper than OEM versions, they should never be confused or associated with counterfeits.

Here at Red Bus Cartridges, we source used OEM cartridges from our sister company, The Recycling Factory, before remanufacturing and eventually selling.

If a cartridge does not pass any one stage of our testing process, then they are discarded - as are any counterfeits that we ever come across.

For a greater insight into our remanufacturing process, watch the video above.

THEY CAN VOID YOUR PRINTER WARRANTY

If you are reading this article then there is a good chance that the above two points may already be something that you have encountered - in which case you might be searching for your printer warranty at the same time as reading this!

Don’t for a second think that your printer manufacturer will uphold your printer warranty if it has broken while you were knowingly using counterfeit ink or toner cartridges.

They won’t – it really is as simple as that. As soon as you knowingly use a counterfeit cartridge, you are essentially voiding the warranty on your printer there and then.

That said, if you have made an innocent mistake, and you are able to prove that you didn’t intentionally go out to buy counterfeit cartridges, then you might just be lucky – depending on the make and model of your printer.

THEY ARE BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

Counterfeit cartridges are generally manufactured overseas, meaning that to reach the United Kingdom, they must be shipped long distances.

The lengthy supply chain involved in shipping these items across the world can be extremely harmful to the environment.

The same cannot be said for our remanufactured cartridges, as we complete all of our manufacturing, from start to finish, right here at our purpose built Lincolnshire factory. This enables us to keep our carbon footprint to a minimum and create a closed loop recycling system, as cartridges can be refurbished on numerous occasions.

THEY ARE ILLEGAL

That’s right, the manufacturers of these counterfeit cartridges have illegally copied an original design and have more than likely broken UK Patent Laws along the way.

Counterfeit cartridges are illegal to produce and sell – something you really don’t want to get involved in for the sake of saving a few extra quid!

No matter how cheap they are, counterfeit cartridges should always be avoided. We understand that OEM versions can be very expensive, so if you are looking save money, why not try remanufactured versions?

Visit theredbuscartridgecompany.com to find remanufactured printer cartridges and save up to 70% compared to OEM versions.

Article written by Calum Chinchen – Social Media Executive at Red Bus Cartridges163, Beaconside, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE34 7PT163, Beaconside, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE34 7PT

PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT – ONE CARTRIDGE AT A TIME

In 2017, are we really as savvy about recycling, reusing and reducing our impact on the environment as we’d like to think? We can be confident about how to deal with most household waste for example, but there are items that you probably use on a daily basis at home, at school or in the office that could be recycled multiple times and benefit both your pocket as well as the environment.

One such example is laser toner cartridges. Approximately 60 million are sold in Europe alone each year, and yet only a small percentage (around 25%) of those cartridges actually go onto to be remanufactured.  The process of remanufacturing is one that many people may still not be fully aware of, but one that is worthwhile knowing a little about.

Once an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) toner cartridge is sent to be recycled, there are a number of processes it goes through before it can be given a new lease of life as a remanufactured product.

Firstly, the cartridge is tested to ensure that it is fully functional before any remnants of existing toner powder are removed and the cartridge is thoroughly cleaned.  Secondly, any worn or damaged parts are identified and then replaced to ensure that the finished product is as close to the original as possible.  Finally, the cartridge is refilled using a specially formulated toner powder and is subject to a number of quality and print performance tests before it can be packaged and sold.

Something else you may be interested to hear is that remanufactured toner cartridges – as well as being environmentally friendly – can be much cheaper than their original counterparts.  This isn’t to say that there has to be a compromise in quality though; remanufactured toners can match, and often exceed the page yield of an OEM, and they fit and function exactly the same way in your printer.

It sounds straight forward doesn’t it? It seems like a process that it quite transparent, and not only does it prevent toner cartridges ending up in landfill, but because remanufacturing companies such as Red Bus Cartridges only repair the elements of a cartridge that are damaged or worn, the creation of waste is reduced.  Furthermore, as they state that they produce everything in one place, under one roof, they not only have complete control over the production process, but it goes a long way in helping to reduce their carbon footprint too.

So, now you know how OEM toner cartridges can be recycled and given a renewed purpose in (office stationery) life through the process of remanufacturing. You also know that you can save money in comparison to buying an original cartridge, so should you be inclined to want to save money as well as the planet, a remanufactured cartridge would be the way to go.

Article written by Cassandra Brennan – Marketing Manager at Red Bus Cartridges

REMANUFACTURED TONER CARTRIDGES – A MISUNDERSTOOD ALTERNATIVE

We all know someone who is loyal to a brand, who will not use an alternative product because what they use works well and anything that is cheaper or labelled an alternative just wouldn’t be good enough, right? Wrong!

There are alternative products out there that are cheaper to buy, don’t need to be replaced as often, and work just as well - if not better – than the ‘original’ product. 

A good example of this is remanufactured toner cartridges, so why do consumers still have their doubts? Perhaps they have had a bad experience with buying a cheaper alternative and the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ is now permanently etched in their mind.

Similarly, they might believe that nothing can compare to the quality of what they have already, or, maybe it’s because the vast majority of people don’t really understand the difference between a remanufactured cartridge and a compatible one.  However, unless they work in an industry that produces, uses or sells these products, why should they know the difference?

Consumers are not asking for the world, they simply want a fully functional, good quality, reasonably priced toner cartridge that works in their printer.  So, now to the facts, what is the difference between remanufactured and compatible?

Remanufactured cartridges, like the ones sold through The Red Bus Cartridge Company, are original cartridges (from HP, Brother, Canon and Kodak for example), that are cleaned, any worn or damaged parts are replaced so that performance is not affected, and then refilled and tested before being sold.

They are environmentally friendly because of the way in which they are produced, and in some cases, can be up to 70% cheaper than most originals without quality or performance as the compromise.

Compatible cartridges are created as copies of an OEM (original equipment manufacturer). Companies will create a mould that mirrors the original cartridge. Often, they can be made from inferior materials and is this is one of the main reasons they are priced so cheaply. 

There can be other issues with compatible cartridges however, such as copyright infringement and poor print quality as well as a lack of information or support for the products once they are sold.

In summary, it really does come down to doing your research; if you have any doubts about remanufactured toner cartridges then ask questions, and ultimately don’t be afraid to try something different because ‘new’ can be good, for your pocket, for the environment, for your printer.

To buy remanufactured toner cartridges visit theredbuscartridgecompany.com or call 0800 091 9090

Article written by Cassandra Brennan – Marketing Manager at Red Bus Cartridges

The benefits of digital printing

Print technology is evolving, and we are seeing more and more digital technology being used within the industry. Why? Well, in a world where the provision of goods and services is expected almost instantaneously, the move from more traditional methods to digital systems was surely a natural one.

The onset of mobile and wireless also means that the latest generation of digital printing technology has become more accessible to the masses. Here are some of the reasons digital printing has proven popular:

  • Precision: No matter how many times you repeat a digital print, it will accurately produce the same high quality image. Digital printing is one of the most accurate ways of printing for companies that are concerned with saving money and reducing waste compared to the perhaps more messy process of offset printing.
  • Proofing: When hundreds of leaflets need to be produced, it is important to proof them for accuracy. Typical offset printing takes a long time to produce a single print for proofing and tends to be expensive. Digital printing immediately produces a print and costs much less, so it is easy to proof prints before thousands are created.
  • Inexpensive: Digital printing costs less than offset printing. When a printing project is small, offset printing can take a long time to set up and ultimately cost more. This means that, no matter how small a project may be, it is more cost-effective to use fast and efficient digital printing services.
  • Swift Turnaround Times: Digital printing does not require a lengthy preparation of a press like offset printing. Therefore, it is a quick printing method that can finish whenever a project needs to be completed.
  • Printing Variables: Variable data printing allows for the production of many different printing types at the same time. There is no need to stop and change a press, like in offset printing. Every print job that involves digital printing is customisable. This means that different graphics and texts can be printed in a constant fluid motion.