How Does a Laser Printer Work? All Your Questions Answered

Laser printers are ideal for businesses with high-volume printing needs. If you’re trying to decide between an inkjet and a laser printer, you may be curious about what sets laser printers apart.

If you’re in the market for a printer for your office, you’ll no doubt want to get the one that’s best suited for your needs. In business and industry, it’s common to get a wide format printer that uses laser technology. If you’re unsure about what a laser printer is or how laser printer technology works, we’ll explain it all below.

laser printer process

What Is a Laser Printer?

You may be more familiar with the inkjet printer that most people have in their homes. These use a traditional method to print ink onto paper. A laser printer uses a laser and electrical charge to get images and text onto paper. These printers typically have resolutions of 600 dots per inch or more and they allow for neater, more sophisticated print jobs. 

Parts of a Laser Printer

How does a laser printer work? Before we discuss the laser printing process, we need to learn about the parts of a laser printer. Modern laser printers have some key elements that work together to produce the high-quality documents they’ve become known for:

Photosensitive Drum

The drum attracts positively charged toner particles to its surface. Once it is adequately charged using a corona wire, mirrors scan the images and guide laser beams onto the surface of the drum.

Power Supply

The power supply converts AC current into the high voltages needed to charge the drum and facilitate the transfer process.

Toner Cartridges

Toner is essentially ink in a powdered form. When it is heated by the fuser unit, it melts and is fused to the paper when under pressure.

Corona Wires

A laser printer has two corona wires which are charged by the high-voltage power supply. The primary corona wire positively charges the drum unit so it can draw the toner particles onto its surface. Meanwhile, the transfer corona wire negatively charges the paper and draws the toner from the surface of the drum onto the sheet.

Fuser Unit

The fuser unit is made up of two heated rollers which, like the name suggests, fuse the toner particles onto the paper. It uses high levels of pressure and heat to melt the particles and permanently bond them to the paper.

Waste Toner Bottle

This component collects excess toner from the photosensitive drum that goes unused during the printing process. The excess is sent to a reservoir and once the waste toner bottle is full, it needs to be replaced.

Stages of Laser Printing

How does a color laser printer work? Let’s have a look at the steps of laser printing.

Sending Document Data to a Printer

When you click the print command, the laser printing process starts with the document being broken down into digital data. It is sent from the computer to the printer which reassembles the data into a printed image. The laser printer captures this data and processes the document. 

Corona Wire and Laser Activation

The next step in the laser printing process is called conditioning. The corona wire heats up and prepares to transfer a positive static charge to the metal cylinder drum. As the drum rotates, it receives the charge. Some laser printers have four drums: one each for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. A laser is activated and it is beamed to a series of mirrors and then reflected throughout the surface of the drum. The reflected beam forms an outline of the text and/or images to be printed through a negative electrical charge.

Development

In this stage of the laser printer process, positively charged toner powder is released from the cartridge to the rolling drum. The powder sticks to the negatively charged areas of the drum and leaves the positively charged areas clear. 

Transferring Data to Paper

In the next step, the paper slides across the printer and gets a positive charge from the transfer belt. As the negatively charged toner moves through the drum, it is drawn to the paper’s surface and takes the shape of the outlined print.

The Fusing Process

The final step in the laser printing process is fusing. The fusing unit applies heat and pressure to the toner and melts it onto the paper. The text and/or images are imprinted onto the page and then ejected from the printer.

laser printer

Common Advantages of Laser Printers

If you need fast, highly efficient printing, you should consider getting a laser printer. The cost per page will be lower than if you purchase an inkjet printer. A laser printer used to be a lot more costly than an inkjet printer, but that’s no longer the case. And while toner cartridges cost more than ink, you’ll be able to print thousands of pages per cartridge. In addition, laser printers are quiet and they produce high-quality text. Also, the toners will never dry out like ink can.

Learn More from the Metro Repro Pros

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of laser printer technology. At Metro Repro, we know all about printers. We don’t do laser printers but we do offer a variety of wide format inkjet printers, copiers, plotters, scanners, and supplies. 

Contact us today to discuss your needs with one of our knowledgeable team members.

Author: Metro Repro