Independent Consultant Put Print Quality as Consequence of Subjective Choice

Print quality is the consequence of subjective choice, so said independent industry consultant John Marshall at the World Toner Conference in Wuhan China. John concluded that the key element affecting the quality of toner include the design of the hardware, the way the OEM has married their own toner to their printer and also the ingenuity of the aftermarket toner manufacturers to try achieve the same result.

John opines the decisions for assessing print quality output of laser printers quality are mostly subjective and qualitative. Supposed all things being equal, a toner that uses less weight to print a thousand pages is “better” than the toner that uses more and the statement can be backed up with numbers. This is a “quantitative” result. However if the technician is comparing colours and what he “likes” or “dislikes” or is assessing an aspect of colour that looks” good” or “bad”, his judgment and resulting decisions are qualitative and subjective. Also, John said without a full arsenal of very expensive, complicated, hi-tech equipment and the resource to operate and run it all, most assessments of print quality are going to be, as a consequence, subjective. That is, emotive, a function of taste and clearly opinionated.

In this speech, John also introduced several common systems to assess toner quality and ways to assess print background.

He agreed that the ever-heightening industry standard of toner is pushing manufacturers to produce high-quality toner and found the aftermarket is doing a very good job to keep up with the OEMs in their moves, especially the companies in China. “Despite that the skill sets, qualifications, and experience of toner manufacture is universal around the world, I think China has got certain advantages, which Europe and the west don’t have any more, to do with the cost of capital, the cost of labor, the cost of energy. It’s a package which is working very well in China. It doesn’t work very well in America or the west anymore,” said John.

With regard to the future of toner, John thinks the growth of color will be the spotlight. “The aftermarket market share is very low. It’s below 10 percent. In mono area the figure is 30 or 40 percent. So the area is definitely color. And the room to grow is color,” explained John.


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