Volker Kappius delacamp rtmworld

Limited Life for Newbuilt Cartridges

Volker Kappius delacamp rtmworldChange is coming, it is coming fast and it is an urgently needed must that it comes. But it is not the change towards newly build single-use plastic cartridges – it is the change towards a truly circular economy with as little single-use plastic as possible.

It is common knowledge that single-use plastic products made in China are cheaper than most products they are in competition with. The same is true for printer cartridges. But policymakers are starting to ban single-use plastic products such as straws, plastic bags, cotton swabs and plastic cutlery. And there is more to come. Companies who have built or are still building their business models on single-use plastic products are surfing an ebbing wave.

Those who still believe that NBC will take over the non-OEM imaging consumable business only have a temporary point in developing countries where the price is THE only buying decision criterion. In developed societies like the US and the EU, there is a clear move towards locally made and circular economy friendly products. This change is what is keeping the genuine printer cartridge repair industry alive and what will secure its market position for as long as the information is printed on paper using office imaging equipment. Both the OEMs and the NBC manufacturer have to adapt to this change or they will be restrained by regulations.

The OEMs have already realized that their razor and blades business model based on single-use plastic cartridges is dying and have consequently started to care about the End of Life (EOL) of their cartridges by not only increasing the share of raw material recycling but by subcontracting remanufacturing of their products to established remanufacturing companies or by even starting to remanufacture their own cartridges. Those who do not have an EOL strategy and process in place that complies with the regulations of their respective target markets will eventually be banned from selling their products in those very markets.

Possible breaching of IP will end up in civil proceedings but breaching regulations and laws will end up in criminal proceedings. That will be a totally different ball game where IP attorneys are of no help. Even if the IP compliant boxes are being “ticked” by the big NBC players, it is yet a long way to offer truly compliant products in each target market. The only line of defence that will shield the NBC manufacturer from local market prosecution is their local distributors who in some cases do not even know the risk they put themselves into.

But these distributors are beginning to wake up and turning to OEM or reman cartridges.

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