Canon ink cartridges become an unexpected victim of chip shortage

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Canon has become an unusual victim of the global semiconductor shortage as its printer cartridges do not come with chips to confirm that they contain genuine ink from the company.

The global semiconductor shortage has resulted in a low supply of chips used in many different industries, resulting in delays in shipments and increased costs of rare devices for consumers. While computer components, mobile devices and cars are considered to be the major industries affected by the shortage of chips, it seems that printer ink suppliers are also having problems.

The camera and printer maker Canon has found itself in a situation where it has to ship printer cartridges without its usual collection of chips. Seen by Mario W on Twitter, this means that Canon is producing ink cartridges without what it calls “copy protection measures” and is starting to contact customers about a fix.

The chips included in a printer cartridge provide a few functions, including helping to determine how much ink is left to use. It is also generally used to ensure that users are using genuine company cartridges, to try to prevent the use of uncertified and unofficial third-party inks.

A support page on the Canon Europe website lists many imageRunner MFPs that use ink cartridges affected by shortages. Canon warns that there is “no negative impact on print quality when using consumables without electronic components,” but features such as “the ability to detect toner levels” could be affected.

The page then explains how to use one of the company’s affected toner cartridges, including instructions for bypassing a warning about a potentially defective cartridge.

It’s unclear how long the issue will last for Canon, and it’s also unclear if other printer manufacturers are having the same supply issues.

The chip shortage is affecting many industries and device suppliers, with Apple appearing to feel the pinch in September while its competitors fare less well. Chip companies like TSMC have announced major investment initiatives to ease pressure on chip supply chains, but the situation is unlikely to be corrected anytime soon.

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