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Solid ink is the ink used in solid ink printers. Before transferring to the printing head, solid ink is stored in a hopper. When it is time to print, it is melted and used to apply the images to the paper. Sold ink sticks are non-toxic and convenient to handle. In addition to being environmentally friendly, solid ink can print on a wide range of media, it is low cost and the printouts are completely recyclable.
Although solid ink remains solid at normal ambient temperatures, it can be melted in the ink-jet printing device and converted into a liquid, and then used like other ink-jet printers. Compared to liquid ink, solid ink does not need time to dry — it solidifies on the cool printing surface.
Solid ink is easy to use and is less expensive than liquid alternatives. Solid ink is capable of producing more vivid colors and thus gives good image quality. It can help in providing an enhanced color gamut with consistency in color print quality, which it makes it good for long print jobs.
As solid ink solidifies on the printing surface, it does not dry out the nozzles of the ink-jet. Unlike liquid ink, solid ink does not stain clothes or skin and is conveniently small, making storage easy. Due to reduction in waste output (no cartridges to dispose of) and the fact that it is mostly made of organic matter, solid ink is considered more environmentally friendly. Apart from being less sensitive to changes in the media type, another advantage that solid ink printers have over laser printers is that they are more durable due to fewer moving parts.
There are a few disadvantages of using solid ink printers, like the time needed to heat the ink, fading of the printed ink in sunlight, the possibility of the printer heads getting clogged and the initial expense of the solid ink printer.
Solid ink technology is well favored for workgroup and office users.