Are HP Cartridges really Re-Manufactured?

I recently spoke to an IT manager at a major University who told me “I only use new HP cartridges!” It amazes me how many professionals who spend thousands of dollars on HP Laserjet cartridges each month still think they are getting a brand new product. Let me be clear, HP makes a great product – but it is not brand new! Don’t take my word for it, grab a box and look for these words, “Designated parts that meet HP’s original design specifications for high quality and reliable performance may have been selectively recovered through HP’s return and recycling program.”

You will find this disclaimer on most (maybe all) of the monchrome (black and white) toner cartridges HP sells. I haven’t seen this on the color cartridges yet but I’m sure it’s close behind. I’ve also included a picture that I took with my trusty iPhone while I was at my local office supply store. If HP did not hold the patents on these cartridges they would have to be called… Re-Manufactured!

What is ISO and why should I care?

Do you want your child’s doctor to be a member of the American Medical Association? Your attorney to be a member of the State Bar Association? Your taxes prepared by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or at least a Certified Tax Preparer (CTP)? The answers to these questions should all be YES!! ISO – International Organization for Standardization, is the world’s recognized association for manufacturing standards. You may be familiar with the certification ISO 9001. ISO was formally created in 1946 with the intention of setting reliable standards for products that are used worldwide.

So Why Should I Care?!

If you are reading these words you probably have something to do with the buying of laserjet cartridges for your company. You are sick of paying the high prices of HP and other OEM brands but are concerned about the quality and page output of aftermarket compatibles (ie: remans, refurbs, recharges…) This is where ISO comes in. HP brand cartridges are ISO certified for quality, waste management, and page output. Instead of using good o’l trial and error, why not use a compatible cartridge that is also ISO certified? After all, they are the experts when it comes to manufacturing standards. If a factory is not ISO certified I have to wonder why. Maybe they re-use too many components to achieve consistent quality and page output. There are four ISO certifications you will want to keep an eye out for regarding toner cartridges. They are: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 19752 and ISO 19798.

How ISO Will Save You Time, Money and Headaches

HP Laserjet cartridges are very expensive, but the last thing you want to do is have some low budget re-manufacture blow up in your printer and cause you a bunch of headaches when you already have a ton fires to put out as it is. So… you continue to pay the outrageous HP prices knowing that you can rely on the same great quality and page output most every time. Right?! Have no fear ISO is here! What if you where able to buy a compatible cartridge with the same ISO certifications as HP, but at a significant cost savings? Would that relieve some of your worries? The answer is YES! Let a 50 year old international manufacturing authority tell you if the cartridge can be relied on or if you should stay away!

Here is what to look for:
ISO 9001 = Certified Consistent Quality
ISO 14001 = Certified Green Manufacturing
ISO 19752 = Certified Black & White Page Yield
ISO 19798 = Certified Color Yield

HP cartridges carry all four. That being said, if you can find a compatible with the same certifications, it will have a higher reliability than one without an ISO cert. So the next time someone tempts you with a super low priced compatible cartridge just ask: “Is it ISO certified?”

The Four Tiers of Toner Cartridge Quality

TIER 1: Premium
Made in an ISO 9001 certified American factory. Other additional certifications – ISO 19752 (b/w yield), ISO 19798 (color yield), ISO 14001 (green company). This cartridge has most or all brand new components. The shell has been used only once before—at the most. The cartridge comes with a multi-year warranty and a printer replacement guarantee. Use this type of cartridge whenever possible!

TIER 2: Very Good Cartridge
Made overseas or in Mexico. This cartridge contains new and used components, the shell may have been used multiple times and typically the warranty is for six months. It is important to have a trusted adviser when purchasing a tier 2 product due to quality variations overseas. Make sure this cartridge comes with a printer replacement guarantee!

TIER 3: Local Remaufacturer
Typically, a small local company will acquire a batch of used toner cartridges and literally refurbish them. The cartridge is taken apart, the components are cleaned, it is refilled with toner, reassembled and then resold. The cartridge may have some new components but typically just the bare minimum. This type of cartridge often leaks and has a very high failure rate. These companies will often sell a maintenance contract so the low quality cartridges can be cleaned up after. Price per cartridge maybe low but price per page will be high!

TIER 4: Drill and Fill
Just like tier 3 but much worse. Get a cartridge, drill a hole, fill with toner, sell for cheap. This type of cartridge is very hard on your printer. Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid!

The Magic Formula

Remember those word problems from math class? Well here’s one for you:
“If toner cartridge A prints 10,000 pages with a price tag of $96.00 and toner cartridge B prints 15,000 pages with a price tag of $125 which toner cartridge is less expensive?” Cartridge B of course! Cartridge B is .0083 cents per page. Cartridge A is .0096 cents per page. To figure this out is a very simple formula: Price of cartridge ($125) divided by the page out put (15,000) equals the price per page (.0083). Stop Looking At The Wrong End Of The Equation! I’m confident most IT managers and purchasing agents can easily do this simple math although, most do not take the additional time because of the high volume of work they are responsible for. Take the time, it can save your company thousands of dollars each year – or more

The question often arises, “How do I know that a toner cartridge really produces what it says on the box / the salesman tells me?” There are three ways:
1) Trust the salesman.
2) Do your own page counts. (Consult your printer’s owner’s manual)
3) Use a cartridge that is ISO 19752 (B/W) or ISO 19798 (Color) certified.

My suggestion is number 3. Your time is valuable and there are many great ISO certified cartridges on the market.

What is an OEM?

An OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) is a company that builds a product that it sells under its own company name and brand. An OEM, such as HP or Epson, will manufacture the product and assign a unique part number to that product. We provide the OEM part number to assist you in finding a compatible cartridge.

What is a compatible cartridge?

There are two types of compatible cartridges: the first type is “compatible” with most Copiers, Fax Machines, Ink Jets, and Printer Ribbons and is brand new, the only difference—it is manufactured by a different company. The second type of compatible cartridge is made from recycled plastic and parts.

What is a remanufactured cartridge?

A remanufactured cartridge is a cartridge that has been recycled to OEM specifications. The process includes inspecting the old cartridge, replacing all worn parts, and print testing the cartridge for quality.

Do compatible or remanufactured cartridges last as long as OEM?

All of our compatible or remanufactured cartridges are manufactured according to OEM specification, and will print the same or greater page yield as their OEM counterpart.

Why should I choose an TMA Laser Group product?

TMA Laser Group offers a wide selection of compatible cartridges from “Apple to Xerox.” Our compatible toner cartridges are guaranteed to perform as well as the originals and will never void your warranty. TMA Laser Group works with many of the top manufacturers in the industry. In addition, some customized  products even outperform the originals. All toner cartridges sold through TMA Laser Group come with a manufacturer’s 1 year 100% warranty.

Will a remanufactured cartridge void my machine's warranty?

No! Your manufacturer cannot void your machine’s warranty for using cartridges other than theirs. However, it may void your contract if you have a binding agreement to use their supplies.

How does TMA Laser Group ensure quality?

All US made cartridges are individually tested during manufacturing and must pass through a Triple Quality Control inspection before they get shipped to you. Our stringent quality standards include testing each component prior to manufacturing, during production, and even after our products are on the shelf. We even subject our products to extreme conditions such as temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, and simulated shipping conditions to ensure the product performs perfectly in every situation, every time. The result is a high performance product that produces darker prints and sharper graphics.