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Toner 101: Everything You Need To Know



Toner 101

One of the most utilized pieces of equipment in office workspaces is the copier, and toner is like the gas that keeps them running. There are many unexpected benefits to using toner that anyone unfamiliar with it might not expect. On the other hand, many copier users might not know some of the maintenance that comes along with it.

What Is Toner?

In contrast to ink, toner consists of plastic particles, carbon, and coloring to create a unique powder. This powder is then melted and applied to the electrostatically charged drum unit inside the copy machine. The drum unit then transfers the melted powder to paper, and rollers fuse it in. This creates the prints we see at the end of the process.

Because of the unique composition of toner, smearing occurs less often than with ink. Perhaps the greatest benefit in the eyes of the user is cost savings since toner has more page yield per dollar than ink.

What Is a Waste Toner/Waste Hopper?

After using a copier or printer for a while, you might encounter an error message stating that the waste container is full. Waste toner bottles are separate from the toner cartridges used for printing.

The specific purpose of waste containers is to catch leftover residue on the drum. A cleaning wiper similar to a windshield wiper scrapes the leftover powder particles into the waste container. Most copy machines that use waste cartridges have sensors that will notify the user when they need to be changed.

If not for waste containers, the inside of a copier would end up filthy in no time. While the waste toner does help keep the device clean, a full cleaning is recommended at least once per year. If your copier or printer is on a service contract, then you may be able to request your service technician to come in and clean the device. 

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When To Change Toner

When it comes to changing out toner or waste cartridges in your copier, the process differs from model to model. For example, Kyocera TASKalfa series copiers will not allow any cartridge to be removed until completely empty. Until that time, the door to the toner cartridge compartment will remain locked. Forcing the door open to change the cartridge will waste toner and lower cost efficiency. 

On many copier models, low-toner notifications or error messages may pop up on the screen. These messages exist simply to notify the user when the toner has approximately 25% remaining in the cartridge. The notifications are a tool that can allow you to prepare for when the cartridge runs out in the future. You will not need to change out the cartridge until the notification says it is completely empty.

A great tool to use when changing out toner cartridges is the resources page on the our website. There are numerous instructional videos to utilize and bolster your knowledge on the topic when needed.  

When To Change the Waste Container

Waste toners have similar notifications but differ in some ways. For one, the notification will tell you that the waste hopper is full rather than empty. The waste container should be replaced at this point. Like toner cartridges, the process varies between models. For specific instructions, the aforementioned resource page on our website is a fantastic information option. 

Unfortunately, waste receptacles cannot be monitored, so it is important to call ahead of time to order one when you need it. However, an option that can help you avoid filling up the waste container and needing one rushed over is Kyocera’s recent eco-friendly features in the current TASKalfa series such as the TASKalfa 6053ci, the TASKalfa 6003i, and similar series. When changing out the black cartridge in these TASKalfa series devices, it is now possible to repurpose the empty black container as the new waste container. In order to change the waste toner on a TASKalfa copier, you can follow the instructional video or instructions from Kyocera’s eco-friendly brochure, both found below:

  1. To replace the waste container, open the waste container cover located just left of the first paper tray and remove the full waste container.
  2. Locate the arrow on the top of the empty black toner cartridge you just removed, and with the arrow facing the device and the flat surface facing up, insert the container until you hear a click.
  3. Close the waste cover. 

Another aspect of the eco-friendly options for copiers is that both Kyocera and Sharp supply recycle boxes for empty toner containers and full waste containers. If you are in need of one of these toner recycling boxes, you can contact your copier provider to request one.

A service/support contract with a copier provider will allow you to request toner or waste cartridge replacements as needed. There is also the option of toner monitoring mentioned earlier that can help you keep your copiers and printers operable without extra hassle. American Office Solutions provides a remote monitoring service for copiers and printers through the use of the Print Audit program. Using this program can allow AOS to proactively supply toner before clients run out.

If you need a copier for your office or would like to invest in a service and supply contract for a copier you already own, American Office Solutions is ready and able to provide prompt responses and quality service to our clients. Our staff members are always happy to answer any questions you might have and are happy to provide the tools and knowledge needed to assist clients. You can call us today at (800) 346-6920.

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Brad McEldowney

Written by Brad McEldowney

AOS has been providing a culture of care since 1969. I have the privilege of following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather in serving as the third generation of ownership for our company. We sell and service office equipment, software and technology that helps your business or organization run smoothly. We are nationally recognized for the level of service we provide our clients and have seen consistent growth as a result.

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