About cartridge remanufacturing

In general
Empty cartridges produce many benefits. The purchase of a brand of printer implies that you are usually forced to also purchase the same brand of cartridges. However, alternative cartridges gives the customer more choice. In addition, they contribute to the environment and offer customers an advantage in terms of the number of prints and/or price.

However, users can only profit from these benefits provided that a sufficient quantity of empty cartridges are received, so that alternative cartridges can be produced. Collecting and handing in empty cartridges is therefore very important! 

The empty cartridges collected by Returklubben are made suitable for re-use via an intensive and well balanced process. Hereunder you will find a description of the remanufacturing process of inkjet and toner cartridges.

Inkjet cartridge remanufacturing

product sorting
It all starts with an empty inkjet cartridge. An empty cartridge is not waste, it is the most important part of a remanufacturing process. However, since the quality of these empty cartridges can vary to a large extent, emphasis is given to the sorting and visual inspection of all cartridges received. All cartridges are sorted according to type and quality before they enter the next production phase. Cartridges that are not deemed to be suitable for re-use are sent to a waste company for recycling instead of remanufacturing. 

pre-inspection
The sorted empty cartridges are subjected to a so-called pre-inspection where the cartridges are cleaned. The cartridges are then visually and electronically tested by means of the so-called shop tester. This shop tester tests whether the electronic circuit in the cartridge still operates correctly. This is done to prevent any defects from occurring in the future. Only the cartridges that pass this check are sent to the subsequent production process. Since these cartridges are prepared to be reintroduced on the market, all logos and other brand-specific parts are removed (e.g. the expiry (‘THT’) date and the production code of the OEM product).

production
The philosophy is to return the empty cartridge to its original condition in as far as is possible. All cartridges and electronic parts are thoroughly cleaned in order to obtain the best point of departure for an optimal end product.

An important step in the production process is the cleaning of the inside of the cartridge. All old ink residues are rinsed away with purified demineralized water. This demineralised water is produced in our own purification system where all ions and other impurities are removed before it is used in the production. The waste water from this  intensive process is then treated in a waste water system, before it leaves the factory. 

After the rinsing, the sponges of the cartridge are dried and water residues are removed using centrifugal force. Hot air is used to blow the cartridge dry. The cartridges are then weighed and sealed before they enter the filling process.

The filling of the cartridges is an extremely  accurate process. The cartridges are filled using a vacuum technique. It is important for the filling speed to be optimal so that air does not end up inside the cartridge. After filling, all individual cartridges are weighed in order to ensure that the ink levels are correct. Each cartridge is tested and printouts are evaluated. If the printout is not of the desired quality, then the cartridge is cleaned using ultrasonic vibrations and retested or rejected. 

Finally, all inkjet cartridges are cleaned. An identification label and a production code are added for tracking and tracing purposes. 

packaging
This is the last step in the process. The cartridges are given brand-specific labels and are packed in airtight bags. The cartridges are then placed in boxes to which instructions for use and return envelopes are attached. The box is then equipped with a guarantee label and an expiry date is printed on it. The packed cartridges are, in turn, packed in outer boxes, identified and prepared for dispatch to the customer.

Look at the following video to get a good view on inkjet remanufacturing with one of our partners:

Toner cartridge remanufacturing

product sorting
It all starts with an empty toner cartridge. An empty cartridge is not waste, it is the most important part of a remanufacturing process. However, since the quality of these empty cartridges can vary to a large extent, emphasis is given to the sorting and visual inspection of all cartridges received. All cartridges are sorted according to type and quality before they enter the next production phase. Cartridges that are not deemed to be suitable for re-use are sent to a waste company for recycling instead of remanufacturing.

pre-inspection
The sorted empty cartridges are subjected to a so-called pre-inspection where the cartridges are cleaned. The cartridges are then visually tested. Only the cartridges that pass this check are sent to the subsequent production process. Since these cartridges are prepared to be reintroduced on the market, all logos and other brand-specific parts are removed (e.g. the expiry (‘THT’) date and the production code of the OEM product).

production
The philosophy is to return the empty cartridge to its original condition in as far as is possible. All toner cartridges are disassembled completely. An important step in the production process is the cleaning of the inside of the cartridge. All old toner residues are blown away by means of air pressure.

Damaged parts are replaced. Components to be replaced can be, chips, drums, wiper blades, developer rollers or any other part.

After the cleaning and taking out the damaged parts, the cartridge is assembled and sealed.

The filling of the toner cartridges is an extremely accurate process. The cartridges are filled using a certain pressure. It is important to have an optimal filling speed , so that the exact amount of toner powder is inserted into the cartridge.

After filling, all individual cartridges are weighed in order to ensure that the toner levels are correct. Each cartridge is tested and printouts are evaluated. If the printouts are not of the desired quality, the complete cartridge is rejected.

Finally, all cartridges are cleaned. An identification label and a production code are added for tracking and tracing purposes.

packaging
This is the last step in the process. The cartridges are given brand-specific labels and are packed in carton inserts. The cartridges are then placed in boxes to which instructions for use are included. The box is then equipped with a guarantee label and an expiry date is printed on it.