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By 3 August 2010 | Categories: interviews

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We all know the hassles of buying expensive printer cartridges on a regular basis. That’s why TechSmart had a chat with Mark Hiller, managing director of Lexmark International South Africa, about their more affordable high-yield cartridge and Lexmark's recycling initiative.

TechSmart: R59.99 is a very respectable price for your 105XL high-yield ink cartridge. How did you achieve this low price and will it stick in the future?

Mark Hiller: This is specific to the black ink mono-cartridge which is an important pillar of our inkjet strategy due to our market research highlighting that at least two-thirds of printing is done in black. Our key objective is to reduce overall price per page.

Inkjet technology is improving tremendously and allowing for ink to dry faster, duplex printing, quicker printing speeds etc. therefore increasing yield. The future will see even more improvements in printing technology, allowing us to further lower cost per page from high-yield cartridges such as this one.

How many prints would one be able to achieve with this cartridge on average?

According to the International Organisation for Standardisation, as per ISO/IEC 24711norm yield, 510 pages can be printed using the 105XL cartridge.
This is currently the only methodology to calculate the yield of a cartridge and is a common methodology defined by manufacturers.

Is the estimated amount of prints indicated on the cartridge packages?

Yes, Lexmark is transparent with regards to this information.

Is the 105XL cartridge compatible in all your printers?

Currently the 105XL cartridge is compatible in both the Pro805 PRESTIGE and Pro905 PLATINUM. These two printers are the high-end models in the Professional Series and are positioned towards markets with higher print volume requirements, therefore able to bring down the overall cost per page with the cartridge.

Are there any plans to release a cheaply priced colour cartridge in the future?

Industry benchmarks based on Moore’s Law, which predict advancements in all technology every 18 months, would suggest that the cost of colour cartridges have already come down versus previous technology.

Future sophistication of cartridge technology will probably see higher onboard / in-house cartridge storage with advancements in the nozzle component of the printing process. All printer technology improvements will focus around lowering cost per page driven around yield. The shelf price may not seem to be cheaper; however the saving is achieved through price improvements around cost per page.

Tell us more about your Vizix ink technology.

Vizix print technology allows for faster printing and technical accuracy through producing clear and crisp images. Vizix is not only a separate cartridge technology, it is a new manufacturing process of Lexmark's inkjet nozzle plate using photoresist.

Photoresist are polymers that are sensitive to light in a way that allows structures to be formed in them by projecting an image through a photo mask. This method is six times more precise, results in less bleeding and improvement in the quality of ink drop placement and therefore overall print quality - all this coupled with bigger size swath.

In addition, single colour Vizix print cartridges are available on shelves which allows for the consumer to only have to replace the colour they have run low on i.e. should a company logo be blue, it is likely that the blue ink levels will deplete faster than the other colour levels. The consumer would just need to purchase the blue Vizix ink cartridge.

Does Lexmark have any cartridge recycling projects running locally?

Yes we do. We run with a local programme called CRIB (Cartridge Recycling Initiative for Babies) which has been in place since 2002 and supports Cotlands, a local charity organisation that offers housing and care to abandoned, abused, neglected and HIV positive children from birth to 14 years of age throughout South Africa.

Since inception of this initiative we have been able to contribute close to R4 million in donations through the cartridge recycling programme to the resident babies of Cotlands.

Inside each new cartridge wrapper Lexmark provide details on how to return your empty cartridges ensuring that they are re-used and recycled, as opposed to ending up in our landfills. The Lexmark Cartridge Collection Programme provides free of charge and easy methods of return, both for laser and inkjet cartridges.

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