Crazy Speed Silverbrook Memjet Printer

This is some crazily fast printer, even though this Google Video doesn’t really do it justice (the full video glory of the printer in various formats – label, photo, A4, plotter – is available here) . Silverbrook Research, one of the top 10 innovative companies globally in terms of patent granted, has unveiled the prototypes for a new inkjet technology that analysts think will revolutionize the industry.

Traditional dogma says that out of fast, cheap and good, you can only pick two. Let’s see where this thing stands:

Fast: FREAKING fast. Some statistics: Document printers can go at 60 pages, full width and color at 1600dpi, per minute. Label printers blaze at 6-12 inches per second. And large format printer (51″ wide) goes at 6 inches to 1 foot per second.

Cheap: Yes. A 30-photo per minute printer is projected to cost just around $150 while still being 10 times faster than existing competitors. Projected printing costs are at $0.02 and $0.06 per page for black text and color pages respectively. 50-ml individual ink cartridges are predicted to sell for less than $20 – compared to current 10-ml cartridges which go for $15-$30.

Good: Can’t be determined exactly yet – from the video it doesn’t look that bad at all. Not bad at all.

So how does this work? Conventional inkjet printers have a small printhead that zips across the page repeatedly to spray ink. In this technology, the printhead covers the span of the page, eliminating the need to shuttle around. 1600 nozzles per inch (working to 70,400 nozzles in a standard A4 printer) are arrayed to spray the required inkdrops.

I am definitely looking forward to this – traditional giants like HP, Canon and Epson have dominated the market, whose clout on the printing industry has enabled them to sell ink at rather exorbitant prices. It’s refreshing then to see a potentially revolutionary product that might redraw the battlegrounds with superior technologies. [Pessimist] Though Silverbrook will probably just license the technology to the Goliaths again, and once again price-fixing, disabling chips etc. would mean that eventually this isn’t all that rosy cheap, fast future, as the raw deal gets shoved down our throats again. [/Pessimist]

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2 comments so far

  1. Compatible Ink on

    Any word if these cartridges will hit the remanufactured and compatible ink market? If so, that should cut the cost down about another 50%.

  2. Mahesh on

    Very few sites compare cmbauosnle costs.You can take a look at the hardware at cnet. They have great editorials as well as user reviews. Unfortunately they do not cover running cost.Sadly I don’t really know of a site that does actually cover running costs. Normally, take a look at how many pages you need to print monthly, what your budget is as well as what you need it to do. Call a local (non commissioned) store and ask. I would strongly recommend finding a place that specializes in JUST printer cartridges and ask them.


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