HP builds inkjet R&D centre in Ireland

€21m investment

Hewlett-Packard is to invest €21.4min a technology development centre in Leixlip, to develop new inkjet printer technologies.

IDA Ireland, a government agency, will provide support for the project, which will develop a new generation of integrated circuits incorporated on each inkjet cartridge.

The new centre is expected to collaborate with a number of Irish universities, with proposals being considered from NUI Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University and NMRC in Cork.

"The investment is a perfect fit with the government's policy for the expansion of R&D in Ireland and the attraction of further high calibre, knowledge-led activities into Ireland," said Tanaiste Mary Harney. "The investment is important in moving Ireland further along the way to becoming a leader in next generation engineering, manufacturing and related information technologies."

The centre will be located at Hewlett-Packard's Dublin Inkjet Manufacturing Operation (DIMO). DIMO is one of three inkjet manufacturing facilities worldwide for Hewlett-Packard's Imaging and Printing Group. It was established in 1995 to manufacture thermal inkjet print cartridges for global markets. DIMO employs 1,800 people of the total 4,000 people employed by HP in Ireland.

More expensive than champagne

Along with other printer and cartridge manufacturers such as Canon, Epson, Canon and Lexmark, HP has been criticised for the cost of its inkjet cartridges. Although many printers can be bought for around €100, ink cartridges often cost almost €30.

When asked if any of the proposed research projects would be focused upon reducing the price and improving the recycling potential of ink cartridges, a spokesperson for HP told ElectricNews.net that "it's always something we're looking at, we're very much aware of what our customers are looking for".

In June, a survey conducted by British consumer magazine "Which?" found that printer ink is more expensive per millilitre than vintage champagne.

The EU has introduced an "electroscrap" recycling law includes a ruling directing manufacturers of printers to no longer incorporate chips into their own-brand ink refill cartridges. These chips were being used to prevent cartridges produced by other manufacturers from being used in many printers.


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