Laser Toner Explained

This article explains the difference and origin of dry and liquid laser toner.

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More about Laser Toner

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Laser Toner is a powdery or liquid substance that is used in toner cartridges which in turn is used by laser printers, Copiers and Faxes. Dry toner is by far more common in home and office printer systems than liquid toners.

Dry toner is mainly made up of heat sensitive plastic powder, normally a combination of acrylic and styrene. Pigments, are added so that different colors can be produced by the toner. Finally, carriers are added so that the toner particles are charged and can be attracted to the right spots on the printed material.

Liquid toner is mainly made up of dye or pigmented acrylic resin particles. The added dye or pigmentation is added to form the color of the toner. Added to this are an insulating liquid in which the resin particles are hosted.

Dry toners are generally stronger in the following fields compared to liquid toners:

  • No penetration of the paper fiber is needed. This means that more types of materials can be used for printing compared to using a liquid toner which needs to penetrate the printed material.
  • No “drying” time before using the printed paper which means faster printing and no risk of accidently smearing the printout.
  • Better for the environment and people around the printer since no harmful solvents are needed.
  • More "stable" colors

Liquid toners are generally stronger in the following field compared to dry toners:

  • No warm up of the printer is needed which is the case with dry toner based printers.
  • Since the material is penetrated during the printing process, the printed text/image is much more firmly attached to the paper making it harder to fade.

In the manufacturing process of dry toners, the size of the individual particles that make up the toner goes from pellets size via grinding to becoming a powder. All toner need to be tailored individually depending on which printer model its intended for. Depending on its formula, aspects such as melting point, flow rate and magnetic and thermal characteristics become different.

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