It is said that printer ink costs more than black market human blood. With such high costs involved, you might expect that printer companies help you squeeze every last drop from an ink cartridge before you’re forced to replace it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
The folks over at Bellevue Fine Art in Seattle recently decided to find out exactly how much ink their high-end Epson 9900 printer wastes. The answer: a ton.
First off, the Epson 9900 is a professional grade printer that costs thousands of dollars. Each 700 ml ink cartridge can cost nearly $100, and a full set runs well over $1,000. As a popular fine art printing company, Bellevue has had 4 of the 9900 printers.
When ink “runs too low,” the Epson 9900 will kindly inform you that there is only 1% of ink left, that it can no longer properly clean the cartridge, and that you must change cartridges.
Bellevue Fine Art took those “empty” cartridges, took them apart, and poured out the ink to see how much was left.
They found that, on average, a 700 ml cartridge still contains about 100ml of ink when you’re forced to replace it. Many times they contain 150 ml or more. For a 350 ml cartridge, 60-80 ml of ink was left.
That’s about 15-20% of the ink remaining — definitely not 1%.
Bellevue Fine Art says it has contacted Epson numerous times about this issue, but they haven’t been able to get anywhere with the corporation. The hope now is that Epson will see this video and take action.
“Epson needs to do a better job of ink measurement in their 9900 series printers,” writes the printing company. “We throw away hundreds of dollars of ink every month.”
Update: Here’s what Epson tells PetaPixel regarding this issue/video:
The ink reporting and ink cartridges used in Epson’s Stylus Pro 9900-series large format printer reports on ink levels and simultaneously protect the health of the printhead. During printhead maintenance or cleanings, if a cartridge doesn’t have enough ink to complete the cleaning, a fuller cartridge must be used. However, users have the choice to swap out a cartridge that is reporting low levels for a fuller cartridge for the cleaning maintenance as needed, and then replace it with the original cartridge to use the remaining ink. The original cartridge does not need to be discarded.