Virtual Tour Questions & Answers
On November 4th, Clover Imaging held an exclusive partner-only webinar. In that webinar, we went behind the scenes of Clover’s North America R&D, Robotics & Engineering, and manufacturing facilities. We ended the presentation with a live Q&A section with the world-class technical team that makes it all happen. Below, you'll see some of the questions that were asked during the webinar, and the answers to those questions.
Launching New Products
What’s the criteria involved for Clover to consider remanufacturing a new SKU?
First and foremost is customer demand; we need to see sufficient demand from customers before we launch a new product. Second is whether we have enough empties on hand to support a production launch. Once these two items line up, we will generally approve a SKU for new product development.
How do you decide which ink or toner cartridges get a patch or new chip?
In general, e-patches go on integrated printhead cartridges and new chips are used on inkjet tanks and laser cartridges. However, in some cases, depending on the OEM chip technology, we are able to reset OEM chips for reuse.
What is the average time it takes to design a new remanufactured laser cartridge, from R&D Day 1 to offering it in volume to your customers?
It all depends on core and component availability; we could have a product in 90 days, or it could take two years. Anytime the OEMs launch a new product with similar architecture as a previous product, the time for development is shorter than an entirely new product. It is also dependent on our ability to convert an older core to a newer model.
When the OEM announces a printer is end-of-life, typically the OEM toners will be discontinued. What is Clover’s inventory life cycle? In other words, how much longer can the customer keep using their printer?
We will continue to manufacture a SKU for as long as we have enough empties to support demand.
What components are reused in a cartridge?
It varies from product to product. In an ink cartridge, almost everything is reused and in a laser, everything except the drum, some seals, and sometimes the chip.
Do you indemnify dealers if there are any IP challenges from OEMs?
Absolutely no question, however, Clover has not been involved in an OEM IP challenge in nearly a decade, and we fully intend to continue that track record.
Has Clover ever looked at molding their own cartridges?
We always prefer remanufacturing, but in a few rare cases where IP rights are exhausted, we have made the conscious decision to use a new shell. An example would be the HP 45 inkjet cartridge.
Why can’t new build compatible cartridges be remanufactured?
New build compatible cartridges come from a variety of manufacturers, are all a little different build, and in most cases use inferior components compared to the OEM. This makes it impossible to develop a consistent, repeatable remanufacturing process for new build compatibles that would deliver a product on par with Clover’s quality standards.
How can customers quickly tell the difference in our cartridge vs. a new build? What is the best way to identify OEM cartridges compared to new build for sending to be remanufactured?
The easiest way is to check for the original OEM logos and product markings that will only be found on a genuine OEM or remanufactured cartridges.
What is an e-patch?
An e-patch is a postage stamp-sized electronic device that we apply to the electrical contacts of an integrated printhead cartridge. The e-patch sits between the printer and the cartridge and manages the communication between them to provide an OEM-like user experience. Without the e-patch, the cartridge may not function at all or may lose ink level indicators.
If the e-patch is patented how come I see it on other remanufacturers cartridges?
Clover has licensed this technology to a few select partners, who are allowed to sell e-patches to 3rd parties.
What is the failure rate on your inkjet cartridges?
Overall inkjet failure rates are 2% or less. With ink tanks, the failure rate is typically 1% or less. With integrated printheads the failures are a little higher as the OEM electronics are not as robust and tend to fail quicker – however the failure rate is still 2% or less.
Do you reuse the sponges in inkjet cartridges?
Yes, we thoroughly machine clean the sponges and then re-use them to keep waste out of landfills.
Does Clover offer wide format printheads as well as inks?
We currently offer wide format tanks but not the printheads, however, we are looking into adding this to our offering.
What is the failure rate on your laser cartridges?
The failure rate on our laser cartridges is less than .35% for mono and .62% for color.
What percentage of components are reused on average in remanufactured toner cartridges?
Although exact amounts vary from model to model, on average Clover’s toner cartridges contain about 90% recycled content and inkjet cartridges contain about 97%.
It seems we are not getting full capacity(yield) on most of our reman toner cartridges. What guarantees does Clover give the dealer to ensure we can get full yields as we are creating service contracts based on your data?
Clover offers a 2-year performance guarantee on all our toner cartridges. If you ever experience an issue, please reach out to our customer service team. Our stated yields are based on ISO test methods, which use a specific set of industry-standard images and prints. Actual yields will always vary from stated yields based on what the end user is printing.
Do you have stats on how much is being recycled annually?
You can always find our most recent environmental sustainability report on our website.
Where do you get your cores or empties from and how challenging is it?
It’s challenging but Clover has the most robust cartridge collection program in the world. If the empties are out there, we will be able to secure them.
What drives core constraints?
The main things that affect core constraints are increased demand; dealers, wholesalers and retailers not maximizing their core collections; and OEMs getting the cores back instead of Clover.
Does Clover remanufacture everything they collect?
We remanufacture what we can based on product demand and what we receive in collections. It doesn’t make sense to remanufacture cartridges that aren’t going to sell, and our collections inevitably include compatibles that can’t be remanufactured. If a cartridge is not re-manufacturable, viable components are harvested for use in the remanufacturing of other cartridges, and remaining materials are responsibly recycled.
Do you only take OEM laser cartridges which have been used once, or do you take remanufactured empty cartridges as well? How many times can you re-use a shell & parts?
We remanufacture both types of cartridges. Typically, a non-virgin (previously remanufactured) cartridge will require replacement of more components. During the R&D process, we determine whether a cartridge is remanufacturable multiple times while still maintaining our high-quality standards. Some particularly robust OEM laser cartridges can be remanufactured as many as 10 times.
Are there any “impending” shortages from Clover as the world continues to see issues with supply chain? Will there be price increases?
Clover prides itself on its North America supply chain and while there has been a lot of talk about chip shortages, so far, we have not seen much of an impact. The good news is that aftermarket printer chips are a pretty specialized market so we are not competing with automotive or computer chip suppliers for allocation; and in many cases, we are now resetting OEM chips so we are not dependent on a third party.
A price increase is always the last resort for us but obviously we won’t be very successful if we sell cartridges at a loss. Our commitment to our partners is that we will explore all other options to drive down costs before we raise prices.
To schedule a private viewing of the virtual tour video, please fill out the form below, and a Clover Imaging representative will contact you to set up a viewing.