Selecting printer cartridges with toner performance you can trust is not always easy, but a stamp of approval by the Standardized Test Methods Committee (STMC), makes it easier to narrow the search.

STMC is a global committee that was enacted to promote and find standardized test methods for the OEM-compatible and remanufactured printer cartridge industry. The standards defined by STMC help set performance specifications that make aftermarket remanufactured and compatible toner cartridges equal to or sometimes better than OEM toner cartridges.

Since these are standardized test methods, the test can be performed on any toner cartridge anywhere without bias. It’s important to note these standardized tests measure the performance of the toner cartridges; they do not specify how they must perform. Much like looking for the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on household items, when you find the STMC stamp of certficiation on a toner cartrdige, you can be assured that the cartridge, such as
the LINKYO toner cartridges have been tested using the STMC standards.

The Standardized Test Methods Committee does not take this lightly. Those who perform these tests must first be successfully trained by an authorized STMC trainer to ensure the tests are performed properly. As of publication, there are 250 companies in 50 countries that have been STMC certified. But only 25 people in the whole world are authorized trainers.

Working in conjunction with the STMC is the International Imaging Technology Council or International (ITC), which administers the program and maintains the proper usage and policies against abuse and misuse of the STMC program and logos.

The letter given to the technicians who have completed the proper training must be signed by not only the STMC trainer but also by the ITC.  The certification is good for four years and then must be renewed.

Part of the testing process uses ASTM test methods, such as ASTM F 2036 for image density and background and ASTM F 1859 for yield. The methods involved determine the comparison of a finished toner cartridge to another toner cartridge, usually an OEM or Original Equipment Manufacture.

STMC certification assures the buyer that the remanufactured or compatible toner cartridge they are considering will provide almost the same or even better toner performance as an OEM toner cartridge.

Because these tests are so conclusive in their results, some state and local buying contracts are awarded only to manufacturers who have the STMC certification. There are even private contracts that will only be awarded to STMC certified companies. You can see the list of certified companies at the International ITC website.

The bottom line is if you want quality toner performance and good value, look for the SMTC seal of approval.

+Scott Roy Smith


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