HP Launches Its First Laser Tank Printer
The LaserJet Tank MFP 2600s offers another test for the aftermarket
HP recently announced its first laser tank printer—the LaserJet Tank MFP 2600s—for the Chinese market. There is a planned roll-out for rest of world in mid-2022. Another LaserJet, I hear you say? Not quite…
The innovation here is in the refillable LaserJet tank. Where desktop laser printers have traditionally been designed with all-in cartridges (allowing the user to easily replace), the cartridge is now gone—or, better put, the initial cartridge remains in the device and is refilled by a toner bottle called a toner reload kit (TRK). This does away with empty, bulky cartridges along with the recycling process, the resourcing of new cartridges, and the question of is it OEM or from another supplier. It doesn’t entirely eliminate that replacement cycle (the TRKs still have to be collected, recycled, and resourced), but the assumption is that a bottle or TRK is less waste, less weight, and less component-rich compared to a cartridge. In fact, the toner reload kit is small enough to be sent by regular post—which certainly eases the price to recycle as well as lowering the barrier from the user perspective.
The LaserJet Tank MFP 2600s also features a lifetime imaging drum, which lasts for 50,000 pages and tells us more about the recommended monthly print volume of between 250 and 2,500 pages, making this squarely a device for SOHO users.
Less Waste Through Tank Technology Is a Good Thing
Tank printers are not new to our industry. Epson launched the first EcoTank device in 2015 and has continued to expand its portfolio. HP followed suit later that year with the HP DeskJet GT 5800 series, and now has a sizable line-up for home and small business use. Canon followed up with the MegaTank series and then Brother with the INKvestment tank. All of these are, however, inkjet devices and offer higher ink yields, lower waste (bottles as well as packaging), as well as a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for higher volume.
Tank printers are not new in the office segment, either. A sizable number of A3 devices—designed for use by workgroups and higher—all offer a toner bottle refill system that contributes to a lower TCO (dependent on print volume).
However, tank printers are relatively new for desktop laser printers. HP launched Neverstop as the world’s first toner tank in the summer of 2019, using a reload kit that provided hassle-free, fast reloading and a yield of 2,500 prints per reload kit. The LaserJet Tank MFP 2600s builds onto that, extending the tank series out to small businesses offering a yield of 5,000 prints before a refill is required and a drum that lasts 50,000 prints.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
HP gets all the kudos for innovation this time around. The LaserJet MFP2600 comprises all the advantages that were bought to inkjet printers and A3 laser MFPs when tanks were implemented: less waste, less hassle, and a lower total cost of ownership. All of this is great for consumers.
This innovation is also another way to protect the supplies annuity stream against non-genuine supplies, which have been rife since the pandemic began and the majority of purchasing shifted to e-commerce channels. Specifically, protecting against the cloned cartridges that mainly come from Asia is crucial for a vendor like HP to protect image and brand name—two things that could easily be thwarted by less-than-optimal, non-genuine supplies.
Additionally, innovation around recycling is very important as vendors and consumers alike are looking to lessen the impact on the environment. The real question will be: Is the total cost of ownership truly disruptive enough to shift consumer opinions or preferences? We won’t find that one out until street price levels are known.
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