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Terms & Definitions

Compatible Inkjet Cartridge - Cartridges that have been used at least once by a consumer and then refilled by a third party. These cartridges are compatible with specific inkjet printers and do not void a printer’s warranty.

Dot Matrix Printer – Dot Matrix is a type of computer printer with a print head that runs back and forth on the page and prints by impact, striking an ink-soaked cloth ribbon against the paper, much like a typewriter. Today, dot matrix printers are commonly used and referred to as a receipt printer or POS printer.

Driver - A driver is a program that controls a device such as printers. A driver acts like a translator between the device and programs that use the device. Each device has its own set of specialized commands that only its driver knows.  

Duty Cycle - In print and copy terminology, duty cycle refers to the number of copies or prints that the device can reliably produce on a monthly basis. Exceeding the duty cycle number on a regular basis can lead to equipment malfunctions and breakdowns over time.

Dye-Based Inks - Dye-based inks are generally much stronger and can produce more color of a given density per unit of mass then other inks. However, they can be more susceptible to fading, especially when exposed to ultraviolet radiation as in sunlight.

Fax - (short for the Latin word "fac simile" meaning  make similar or make a copy). A fax is a telecommunications technology used to send copies of documents over the telephone network.   

Fax machine - A fax machine is essentially an image scanner, a modem, and a computer printer combined into a highly specialized package. The scanner converts the content of a physical document into a digital image, the modem sends the image data over a phone line, and the printer at the other end makes a duplicate of the original document.

Fuser - A fuser is the part of a laser printer that melts the toner onto the medium. It consists of a hot roller and a back-up roller. After toner is transferred onto the paper, the fuser applies heat and pressure to ensure that the toner stays on the paper permanently, which is why paper is warm when it comes out of a laser printer.

Glossy Paper - Printing paper with a smooth shiny surface finish to give maximum detail and tonal range.

Ink - An ink is a liquid containing various pigments and/or dyes used for coloring a surface to render an image or text.

Ink Cartridge - An ink cartridge or inkjet cartridge is a component of an inkjet printer that contains the ink that is deposited onto paper during printing.

Inkjet Printer - Inkjet printers are a type of printer that works by spraying ionized ink at a sheet of paper. They are usually inexpensive, quiet, reasonably fast, and many models can produce high quality output. They are a popular choice for home users and small businesses.

Label Printer - A label printer is a computer peripheral that prints on self-adhesive label material and sometimes card-stock. Label printers are different from ordinary printers because they need to have special feed mechanisms to handle rolled stock, or tear sheet (fanfold) stock.

Laser printer - A laser printer is a common type of computer printer that rapidly produces high quality text and graphics on plain paper.

Line Printer - The line printer is a form of high speed impact printer in which a line of type is printed at a time. A fast line printer can print as many as 3,000 lines per minute. It is usually both faster and less expensive (in total ownership) than laser printers.

Matte Paper - Matte is a term used to describe a non-reflective, non-textured surface.

Monochrome Printer - A monochrome printer can only produce an image consisting of one color, usually black. A monochrome printer may also be able to produce graduations of tone of that color, such as a grey-scale.

Multifunction Printer - A multifunction printer is a single device that serves several functions, including printing. Typically, multifunction printers can act as a printer, a scanner, a fax machine

OEM – OEM or original equipment manufacturer, refers to the company that originally manufactured the product.

Pigmented Inks - Pigmented inks contain agents that ensure adhesion of the pigment to the surface and prevent it from being removed by mechanical abrasion. Pigmented inks are advantageous when printing on paper because the pigment stays on the surface of the paper. This is desirable because more ink on the surface of the paper means less ink needs to be used to create the same intensity of color.

Printer Ribbon - An inked strip of cloth used for making an impression, as in a typewriter. Examples, thermal printer ribbons, dot matrix printer ribbons, point of sale printer ribbons, etc.

Printhead - A printhead is the device in an inkjet printer which sprays droplets of ink onto a sheet of paper.   

Remanufactured Ink Cartridge – Remanufactured ink cartridges replace OEM cartridges. They are ink cartridges that have been used at least once by a consumer and then refilled by a third party. These cartridges are compatible with specific inkjet printers and do not void a printer’s warranty.

Thermal printer - A thermal printer uses heat to transfer an impression onto paper.  Direct thermal printers print the image by burning dots onto coated paper when the paper passes over the heating elements. This printer is mostly used for point of sale systems.

Toner - Toner is a dry powdery substance used in laser printers and photocopiers which forms the text and images on the printed paper. Typically, you can print thousands of pages with a single cartridge.