Accurately estimating the amount of image area on a printed page provides a necessary factor for determining the cost of a given printed job. In conventional printing, the cost of the ink is relatively low in comparison to other factors such as paper. In electrophotography, having the cost associated with the colorant is substantially higher per sheet, it is more important to obtain a more accurate estimate of the amount of toner to be used. This higher toner cost often rivals paper for the highest cost-per-sheet item. The scope of this study is to determine what functional relationship exists between the total area coverage (TAC) and the toner used. This study will determine if there is a relationship between the amount of toner transferred and TAC considering factors such as image structure, contrast, and toner-on-toner transfer, and tonal value. The procedures for testing will include printing a variety of test forms on a production quality digital printing engine. The forms will contain three batteries of tests. The first test is of image structure and contrast. This test will determine if there are any edge effects or if the contrast of an image has and effect on the amount of toner used. The second test will deter mine if toner transfers the same on another layer of toner as it does on unprinted paper. The third test determines if tonal values consume a linear amount of toner, ie, a 40% block consumes 2x the toner as a 20% block. In all of theses tests ,the substrate will be weighed before and after the test forms are printed. The resulting data is to be analyzed to determine if a relationship exists. The first two tests showed some unique characteristics to how toner is consumed. In the image structure/contrast test, image structure showed no effect. The contrast variable did show an effect. The test form of 100% contrast used 2x more toner than the form with 0% contrast. Both forms had the same amount of intended coverage. The third test was then developed to determine the amount of toner used to create a full scale of tonal values 0-100%. The amount of toner used to image an 8"x 10" 100% block requires 4x more toner than the same area at 50% tonal value, these results were consistent with the second test. The testing concluded that total area coverage is not sufficient to accurately determine the amount of toner to be used on a given print job.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Department, Program, or Center
School of Print Media (CIAS)
Cardin, Jon, "Toner usage characteristics of electrophotography" (2002). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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