One could argue that these hybrid wide format printers really are not unique because at their core they are nothing more than a color inkjet printer, and this technology has been on the market for a number of years. However, the unique hybrid aspect of these devices lies in the fact that they are durable enough to handle the rigors of your daily black & white printing, and at the same time provide operating costs that are comparable to a printer that prints only black! This provides you the flexibility to print in color when you need to, and address all your black and white printing requirements, all without having to own two printers.
Color wide format printers typically use inkjet technology and range from small inexpensive consumer models to large, more expensive machines used in a business environment. They are constructed with a printhead and a series of nozzles to spray drops of ink onto paper. Inkjet printers use cartridge-based aqueous inks consisting of a mixture of water, dyes or pigments. These ink cartridges can be expensive and the output is difficult to control on the surface of the media, often requiring specially coated media. While coated media helps to provide crisp quality images, it requires extra time to dry before the print can be used, doesn't lend itself to stacking and tends to curl. However, there is dry toner color technology available today capable of printing on traditional bond paper. This technology provides all the benefits of toner printing (e.g. no drying time, stackable prints and no paper curling), and the color quality benefits of inkjet printing. Depending on the manufacturer and their model, ink cartridges come in various capacities usually measured in milliliters and are sold as separate black and color cartridges. The print head is a separate consumable item for inkjet printers.
To learn more about wide format color and black and white printing, download the Free Wide Format Printer Buyer's Guide.
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