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Difference between refilled and remanufactured cartridges

11/26/2010 by Alex Paransky 

There are two ways to refurbish a printer cartridge.  A cartridge can be simply refilled or remanufactured.  Understanding these differences will help you make the right choice when buying after market printer cartridges.

Refilling vs Remanufacturing ink printer cartridges
Here are the steps involved in refill process of an ink cartridge.

Refill Process
  • Cartridge is electrically tested in a generic tester (30 seconds)
  • Old ink is removed by spinning the cartridge (3 minutes)
  • Print head is cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaner (10 seconds)
  • Generic ink is injected into the cartridge (4 minutes)
  • Cartridge is print tested on a generic tester
  • Packaging (2 minutes)
This process takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete and is what typically done by most refill-your-cartridge shops.  

Here are the steps involved in the remanufacturing of the ink cartridge.

Remanufacturing Process
  • Cartridge is electrically tested in a generic tester (30 seconds)
  • The print head of the cartridge is soaked in a special ink dissolving solution (30 minutes)
  • Old ink is removed by spinning the cartridge (15 minutes)
  • Print head is further cleaned using a specially designed water atomizing gun (2 minutes)
  • Cartridge goes through multiple cycles of vacuum boiling, spinning and atomizing to fully clean out and rejuvenate the cartridge (4 hours)
  • Cartridge is completely dried (24 hours)
  • Ink specially designed for the cartridge which matches original ink as close as possible is injected into the cartridge (3 minutes)
  • Cartridge is allowed to rest and acclimate after the refill process (1 hour)
  • Cartridge  is print tested in the printer for which it was designed for  (1 minute)
  • Packaging (2 minutes)
This process takes about 2 full days to execute and produces a cartridge which is superior in quality in terms of print, color and dependability to the simply refilled cartridge.  

Most of the cartridges produced at Cartridge World Pasadena go through the rigorous remanufacturing process.  Only cartridges that are refilled on-the-spot for our customers go through a refill process with the exception that we use cartridge specific inks and actually test the cartridge on the printer it was designed for.  This is the reason why the quality of a Cartridge World Pasadena remanufactured cartridge is superior to those cartridges which are simply refilled and is covered by our 100% satisfaction guarantee.  

Refilling vs Remanufacturing for toner/laser printer cartridges
Here are the steps involved in refilling a toner cartridge.

Refill Process also known as Drill-n-Fill
  • The waste bin of the cartridge is drilled and emptied a patch is applied to cover the hole (2 minutes)
  • The hopper of the cartridge is drilled, emptied of old toner and filled with generic new toner (3 minutes)
  • Cartridge is packaged for resale (2 minutes).
This process takes about 5 minutes.  Because the components are not removed and cleaned, there is a high chance of old and new toner contamination.  Also, because all old components are simply left in the cartridge the final print and overall reliability of the cartridge is questionable. These cartridges typically produce poor print and may leak during their operation.

Here are the steps involved in the remanufacturing process of the cartridge.

Remanufacturing Process
  • Cartridge is pretested to determine the current state of the cartridge
  • Cartridge is dissembled into a waste bin and a toner hopper areas
  • On the waste bin side the drum is removed and is cleaned and re-used or exchanged for a new drum
  • Wiper blade is removed and is cleaned or re-used for a new blade
  • The entire waste bin area is blown out with compressed air and thoroughly cleaned out of old toner
  • The waste bin area is re-assembled 
  • The hopper side is taken apart and cleaned out of old toner using compressed air
  • The mag roller is examined and reused or replaced as necessary
  • The doctor blade is removed and mostly replaced
  • Toner specifically designed for the cartridge is installed into the hopper
  • The entire cartridge is put back together 
  • Cartridge is tested on a printer it was designed for, if appropriate
  • Cartridge is packaged for resale
This process  takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour to perform depending on the complexity of the cartridge and produces superior results to simply refilled cartridge.  Because critical components are cleaned or replaced as necessary and matched with toner specifically designed for this cartridge, the result is very close or identical to the original cartridge performance.  

At Cartridge World Pasadena we never drill and fill our cartridges.  We believe that a properly remanufactured cartridge will make us a customer for life while a refilled cartridge may loose us a customer.  We have just one location in Pasadena, CA and we care about our reputation and reliability of our cartridges.  

If you have any questions about the specifics of your cartridge call us.

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