Should I use replacement refills in my detectable pens?

When considering if we should use refills in food safe detectable pens, we first need to look at the reasons why we should and really check the merit of those assumptions, before we make a decision.

Why would we consider using replacement detectable pen cartridges?

Here are the 3 main reasons:

  1. Cost: By replacing only the cartridge and insert of the detectable pen, you would assume it would be cheaper, therefore delivering cost savings and maximising your budget.
  2. Reduce plastic usage: With the environment in mind we’re all looking for ways to reduce our plastic usage and is of course important to consider. Using pen refills must mean you’re using less plastic?
  3. Increase the life of your factory pens: Some brands of detectable pen are prone to the plunger ‘pips’ snapping. Replacement detectable pen inserts allow you to replace the damaged component only. This further eliminates waste surely?

 

That all seems pretty logical sense, but is it the right assumption, let’s take a closer look:

Cost: By replacing only the cartridge and insert of the detectable pen, you would assume it would be cheaper, therefore delivering cost savings and maximising your budget.

Refills are not cheaper! Many brands that offer detectable pen refills use inferior quality cartridges. Some contain as little as 1km of ink – this is 10x less ink than the Retreeva Global best-selling retractable pen! So, whilst the purchase price is less, they are also less economical.

It makes more sense to buy a quality detectable pen with a higher capacity cartridge in the first case.

 

Reduce plastic usage: With the environment in mind we’re all looking for ways to reduce our plastic usage and is of course important to consider. Using pen refills must mean you’re using less plastic?

By the mere natural of these refillable detectable pens, there’s a far greater risk of foreign body contamination, as they are designed to be taken apart, so are more likely to lose small parts.

If your pen contains a metal spring, this only makes the problem worse! Do you really want your factory operatives knowing their detectable pens come apart? However skilled and reliable your team, the risk is always going to be greater than a self-contained, retractable pen. There is also a significant risk of foreign matter entering the pen when the refill is removed.

 

Increase the life of your factory pens: Some brands of detectable pens are prone to the plunger ‘pips’ snapping. Replacement detectable pen inserts allow you to replace the damaged component only. This further eliminates waste surely?

With all the above said, how long should you keep a refillable detectable pen in circulation? If you’re regularly replacing the ink cartridge, how do you know when to ‘retire’ the pen body? It is likely to become worn and marked with age. This creates a potential microbiological contamination risk when left in circulation too long. Perhaps the answer is to invest in a self-contained detectable pen that’s not prone to snapping parts, and contains enough ink to last 10 times longer than the refillable kinds.

So, are refillable detectable pens as good an idea as they first seem? We will leave you to decide, but at Hygiene Technologies we believe replacing pen inserts is a lose-lose situation. Not only do they cost you more, they also increase your foreign body contamination risk. That’s a risk we believe should be eliminated, which is why we don’t advocate detectable pen refills.

Find out more about detectable pens or contact a member of our Solutions team.