Aftermarket BioToners Talk With WPP and Clover
- By Dan Mooney
- Apr 01, 2010
In measured steps, cartridges using bio-based toner are advancing in the aftermarket with two companies. In August 2009 at Recharger’s World Expo, West Point Products launched its AgriTone line of toner cartridges that use bio-based toner. Clover Technologies Group Inc. announced its own line of toner cartridges using BioBlack toner — Responsible Bio Black — in October 2009.
Dan Mooney talks with Scott MacKenzie, director of markteting and market analysis for West Point Products, and Mike Posch, vice president marketing and product management for Clover Technologies Group Inc., about how their bio-based cartridges are progressing. As Posch points out, buying the product largely comes down to “thinking green first.”
How many different toner cartridges is your company offering that contain BioBlack toner?
MacKenzie: West Point Products is currently offering AgriTone cartridges to fit the HP LaserJet 1000, 1010, 1200, 1300, 4200, 4250, 4300, 4350, and 4345 mfp. Our initial launch covered the workgroup printers in the 4200 series, and our second release in December covered the smaller workgroup printers. We are working diligently to develop and test cartridges for addittional printers to expand the line.
Posch: Clover Technologies is currently in the final testing stage on a number of products. We will have eight different SKUs launching that will be comparable to the HP Q1338A, Q1339A, Q5942X, Q5945A, C3909A, C4127X, C4182X, C7115X, C8061X, Q2612A, Q2613X.
What have sales been like of the cartridges since you introduced them? What is the comparative price of these cartridges compared to similar cartridges containing traditional toner?
MacKenzie: Like with all new technologies, adoption of AgriTone premium replacement cartridges was not immediate but has been steady. We have had some good success in our first few months with the product line, however, and are now adding resellers on a regular basis.
More importantly, we have proven that the product is viable, of high quality, and attractive to environmentally-conscious end users. Momentum is certainly picking up, and we look forward to a very successful year in 2010 for AgriTone.
Posch: There has been very strong interest since it was announced we would be offering the BioBlack product line. Pricing is higher than traditional remanufactured product pricing due to the higher cost of materials and the development and manufacturing processes. However, it still offers a significant cost savings over OEM product.
Who have been your main customers?
MacKenzie: West Point Products sells only to resellers, so our dealer base has been our primary target. We have also garnered significant interest from resellers that were not previously doing business with West Point Products, so AgriTone has allowed us to expand our dealer base and reach resellers we may not have been able to in the past. In terms of end users of AgriTone, we are working with our dealers on a wide range of opportunities, from public institutions to private enterprises.
AgriTone has a range of benefits, from environmental sustainability to supporting local agriculture, so we have found that the product appeals to many different types of end users for at times very different reasons.
Posch: Dealers who have public sector customers – universities, hospitals, local/state/federal government. Also eco-conscious businesses and consumers have shown great interest in the product.
Have there been any special technical issues associated with manufacturing these cartridges?
MacKenzie: West Point Products develops our AgriTone cartridges with the same care and commitment to quality as we do our other products, so internally there is very little difference in how we treat the product line. We still test the product in accordance with STMC standards in our ISO 9001 registered facility.
Posch: Like any innovative new product there have been challenges through the long-term development of this product line. Through Clover’s high technical standards and practices we are ensuring our product meets or exceeds OEM performance.
Are there any plans for West Point to introduce inkjet cartridges containing bio-based ink in the foreseeable future?
MacKenzie: Our primary objective is to expand the AgriTone premium replacement cartridge line to fit additional laser printers. Office document imaging has always been West Point Products’ main strength, and that will be our focus in the short term with AgriTone as well.
Posch: One of Clover’s goals is to always be first to market with new product. We will continue to conduct market research to determine if there are market needs for specific products and categories.
How far off is the introduction of color cartridges containing bio-based toner?
Posch: We have yet to establish a development timeline. As we support and grow the monochrome laser product line we will continue to do research to determine the size of the color market opportunity.
This article originally appeared in the April 2010 issue of Recharger.