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 Using Alternative Inkjet Inks

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Sandman

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PostSubject: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:56 am

COOL i wrote:
If 3rd party ink is used, you always have to wonder if batch to batch quality and hue are still the same (not similar). My take on the subject of using (or even trying) 3rd party, I'd say don't bother even use...

Original inks are so costly and until the suppliers reduce their markup then we, the end users, will try to find ways of keeping our running expenses to the minimum.

For those who want to test whether these alternative inks can actually be used on the shop floor or as a contract proof, then we may want to consider a structured approach of testing and analyzing our inks' capability of printing ISO colors. Please note, this is not a strictly linear process.

1) DEFINE

who is the customer: intermediate internal (press operator), or ultimate external (clients)
what output is important to the customer; what is their acceptable quality level (critical, not so critical)


2) MEASURE

what are the critical-to-quality characteristics that we should monitor (Hue, Saturation, Gray Balance, Spatial Color Uniformity, Temporal Color Consistency)

can these critical-to-quality characteristics be objectively measured (Delta E, Delta H, Delta C, process capability or Cpk study, Standard Deviation, etc.)


3) ANALYZE

what colors can your inks accurately produce and can't reliably produce
what's your gamut class: class a (contract proofing), class b (shop floor), class c (for mock up only)
which gcr level and ink limit works best for these inks
what are the underlying sources of variability (pigments, paper cast, paper moisture, etc.)
are the interactions between inputs identified, understood and optimized


4) IMPROVE

can we improve gamut size, hue angle and saturation by changing the proofing media
can we share the technical information to our supplier for corrective action
will they change their formulation to meet our requirements

Personally, if more people will work closely with alternative inkjet ink manufacturers I guess we may be able to convince them to alter their formulation to our specific needs. It's good business for them if they start making inks for a specialized market.

5) CONTROL

-- to follow if testing is successful


My thoughts only.


Last edited by larrysison on Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Alex Dulay



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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:30 pm

Quote :
Original inks are so costly and until the suppliers reduce their markup then we, the end users, will try to find ways of keeping our running expenses to the minimum.

I was once tapped to do a mini exhibit in a trade show using Epson compatible inks for desktop printers ( I used Epson 810 and 1290). And I think we were successful as many people bought their inks in the exhibit. Very Happy

Maybe Epson should reduce the 100 years lightfastness to 10 years to reduce the cost, eh. Very Happy At least for pre-press proofing.
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Sandman

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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:38 pm

Alex, at that time you were still promoting EPSON compatible ribbons for dot matrix. Laughing

Kidding aside, we're not questioning EPSON's capability of meeting class A requirements....bow ako diyan. But it is obvious for simple proofing needs medyo mapapamahal tayo sa inks if we use EPSON's.

For those who know color all they have to do is to test the alternative ink/s and compare the 2D or 3D gamut plot vis-a-vis ISO 12647. It's okay to have your color gamut a little smaller than ISO...or any other standards, provided na ang mga corners ng dalawang gamut eh naka-align in a uniform direction. Kindly see the screen grab: (NOTE: sample lang ito just to show you the corners that I'm talking about)


Let's assume na ang smaller gamut with green borderline ay ang color gamut ng alternative inkjet inks na balak natin testingin. Yung mas malaki ay yung actual inks sa press.

As you can see, medyo magkalapit na ang corners nila. Remember na we have to respect the alignment....kaya make sure na hindi dapat malayo ang skew ng mga kanto para maiwasan ang color shifts.

If this is the case, with a little improvement on the reds & greens pwede na siguro natin gamitin ang murang inks for class B proofing para sa press kasi the proof will produce the same Hue naman but with a lower saturation nga lang.

The idea is how to move the colors para ma-align natin ang corners ng gamut ng alternative ink sa corners ng gamut ng ISO. Yun ang challenge para sa atin.

Linawin ko lang na ang ideal situation is to have the gamut of the proofer bigger than the intended job and that using original manufacturer's inks & proofing media is still the best way to go for critical proofing requirements.
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CIECAM

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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:55 pm

I have started my research on inks and substrate interaction a couple of years ago. some of the secrets of ink formulation and where color matching involves. I've found the answer from the home of color scientist, the rochester institute of technology. Some of the important things to consider in formulation of ink is color constancy ( consistency is different). Color constancy is the opposite of metamerism. With genuine inks, you can be sure of high color constancy (level is depending on the brand). What about generic inks level of color constancy? one of the reason why genuine inks are being used for certification. While printers are modifying and improving the quality of inks and medias,why we need to go into trouble and have more problems later by using generic inks. Cheap and Good will never come to our way. Just like buying a car, can you get mercedez like performance with the price of a suzuki alto?

Gamut and consistency for generic inks is possible to know.
Permanence and durability are other things. Only those who have knowledge and test equipment can test. I consider for my proofing and photoprinting ( photographer din kasi ako) a genuine ink. Generic inks are for document printing only.

If generic ink is possible for proofing, you are bound to have a generic quality. Not ISO quality. Was there a certified proofing system using a generic ink? Wala. Only those who are using genuine ink and paper.

I have read an article from RIT about proofing.
Things to consider:
Uniformity> The print should have a uniform print accroos the sheet. It involves the ink and the printhead firing the ink. The head compatibility with the ink is very important since the nozzles is the one lading the ink. What if the pump of the printer is having a hard time pumping the ink, can you expect uniformity? What more if you are using a thermo technology printer head? Can you boil a water consistenly @ a temperature of 60 deg accross 40 minutes? Of course not, kaya nga may fan yong radiator para pagdating sa boiling point eh palalamigin at di mag overheat.

Accuracy> ( printer driver 0r SW RIP) - Printer drivers are connected with printer head - installing the printer head requires code, this code ensures shakehands with the printer driver, teknikaliti na ng printer ito na binaklas ko. The Rip knows what printer and ink you are using. Ink and head are partners, the ink composition will damage the nozzle. Invest on genuine and have no problems rather than save on ink and put you in trouble later.

Guys, just a reminder. We know for a fact that Philippines is behind when it comes to technology, information and training in printing.
Some variables are already controlled in our workflow. If you put a generic ink, you are adding a variable into your workflow.

Practical suggestions can only make sense when it improves the original.

Gamut can not be enlarge unless you tweak the profile by editing. But you can only do much. This because of the color exemplification of the ink being formulated.

You might also consider the Spectral distribution of the illuminant against the generic Ink.
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Sandman

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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:49 pm

CIECAM wrote:
Some variables are already controlled in our workflow. If you put a generic ink, you are adding a variable into your workflow.Practical suggestions can only make sense when it improves the original.

Hi Sir CIECAM. I agree that adding another variable into our workflow will pose some problems in the output. But it does not mean that we cannot improve and control it. In every process the output (y) is deterministic as long as all the critical characteristics of all our input parameters (x) are known and within the variation tolerance.

I would also humbly disagree that practical suggestions to improve generic inks doesn't make sense. I believe it's the other way around.

CIECAM wrote:
Gamut can not be enlarge unless you tweak the profile by editing. But you can only do much. This because of the color exemplification of the ink being formulated.


Agree. As an end user we can only do so much. That's why we have to test several inks to see which produces the biggest gamut. Then we can work from there.

CIECAM wrote:
You might also consider the Spectral distribution of the illuminant against the generic Ink.

Of course. The proofing media, our illuminant, should always be included in the testing. It's always part of the equation.
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CIECAM

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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:07 pm

Hello sir Larry,
What I am trying to say is practical suggestion does not make any sense if it does not improve the original idea. Sorry if I mislead you.
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Alex Dulay



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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:09 pm

Ciecam

I also print my pix using original epson inks Very Happy. But I'm more fan now of fuji frontier.

Anyway, do not underestimate the third party inks. Research and development are not exclusive to brand names. I know you know, even some branded names are now making third party inks. It is now more of a price war and meeting customer needs accordingly -- and "only" third party manufactures can provide "spcialized" products.

Warning to void the warranty for using third party inks is all brand names can do unless cost of original inks are reduced significantly.

Just my 1 cent.
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CIECAM

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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:30 pm

Hello Alex,

I will only vow to your claim if a third party ink is use for fogra certification.
But for now, let us use genuine ink for proofing since color is critical.
There other things where generic inks can be use like content proof or hard copy proof but not contract proof.

Are you offering a third party inks?
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Sandman

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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:54 pm

Alex is Prepress Supervisor of a newspaper publishing and printing company in Manila.
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Sandman

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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:06 pm

CIECAM wrote:
If generic ink is possible for proofing, you are bound to have a generic quality. Not ISO quality. Was there a certified proofing system using a generic ink? Wala. Only those who are using genuine ink and paper.

Hi Sir CIECAM. You are stating that "only those who are using genuine ink and paper"....can be ISO certified. I believe this conclusion is false.

You are trying to mislead the common users into believing that ONLY branded inks will be certified.

If your expensive inks have a huge gamut, it only proves that you are capable of printing all the colors of ISO -- nothing more. The same can be said of our cheaper alternative should it share the same gamut size as the branded ones.

Does that mean if I use original inks and original proofing paper....I am already ASSURED of ISO conformance? Of course not.

Because ISO Quality is not simply a conformance issue....it is also a calibration issue. Both are equally important.

As you know, the gamut size of the ink, be it original or generic, has nothing to do with ISO Quality. The gamut of the ink should be independent of the actual job to be simulated. That's why we would rather have an ink set with a gamut big enough to accommodate any kind of job specification (i.e. Japan Standards, GRACOL, ISO, SNAP, etc.).

Anyway, I tested one generic ink this morning on our production paper (SAPPI paper conforming to ISO values)using an inkjet printer worth roughly P6,000. I did not use any RIP to print the test patches...just the printer driver.

After printing, I let it dry for some hours and then I measured several samps with our EyeOne spectrophotometer. I then averaged the measurements and calculated a four-component icc profile using ProfileMaker Pro.

I compared the color gamut of the Generic Ink with those of IsoNewspaper26v4, ISOUncoated, and USSheetfedUncoated. Kindly check out the chart. The gamut in white border is the Generic Ink. TAKE NOTE: Generic Ink nga ito...pero imported naman from India.

GenericInk vs ISOnewspaper26v4 (Click image to enlarge)


GenericInk vs ISOuncoated (Click image to enlarge)


GenericInk vs USSheetfedUncoated (Click image to enlarge)


It can be seen that even with Generic Inks and Regular Paper we can produce a fairly large gamut that could accommodate certain jobs. Therefore we can use this icc profile for proofing. Correct? Actually....NO...not quite.

We're just looking at the a*b* axes and it does not include the L* which represents the brightness and depth of the color.

If you look closely at the 3-D image you will see that our Generic ICC profile is still not that good for contract proofing as it lacks the bright yellow, yellowish-green and yellowish-orange. Plus there is a slight shift in the gray balance. But the grays can be adjusted by tweaking the profile. Dark colors appear to be okay. The gray color engulfing the smaller color gamut is the Generic Ink. Inside it is USSheetfedUncoated. Can you see the yellows protruding?

3-D Generic Ink vs USSheetfedUncoated (Click image to enlarge)


This icc profile lacks the real estate to house some of the brighter colors of USSheetfedUncoated especially in the yellows. With the ink set, proofer, and the absence of a RIP altogether I was not able to simulate the ISOCoated since its gamut is much, much bigger than the inks that we have just tested.

But given time I'm certain if we use a more durable inkjet proofer, a RIP, and a print head that could spit out smaller droplet sizes...and with improved formulation of the inks, we can push our study a little closer to our expected results.

Peace!
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COOL i

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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:30 pm

Hi Larry, there is nothing to stop anyone from using 3rd party. Like I stated in the other thread, we all would like to narrow down or minimize the variables. Anybody would agree they would trust the original ink supplied by the printer manufacturer, but would you put 100% trust on 3rd party ink? Obviously the answer is no. And that is the reason why one would need to go through all the tests for the stability of the ink, the gamut, how it reacts with the substrate, etc. But is all these tests really worthwhile, maybe it is for a very small fraction of people but most would not even take the time and effort. Let us just stick with the practical aspects.
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COOL i

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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:05 pm

Alex Dulay wrote:
Quote :
Original inks are so costly and until the suppliers reduce their markup then we, the end users, will try to find ways of keeping our running expenses to the minimum.

I was once tapped to do a mini exhibit in a trade show using Epson compatible inks for desktop printers ( I used Epson 810 and 1290). And I think we were successful as many people bought their inks in the exhibit. Very Happy

Maybe Epson should reduce the 100 years lightfastness to 10 years to reduce the cost, eh. Very Happy At least for pre-press proofing.

Alex, the comparison you stressed here is very flawed in every sense. The sales success of the 3rd party ink you promoted at that time is not a good measure that this ink is comparable to the Epson original ink. The audience of the 3rd party ink is clearly for consumer use and clearly they are not color critical. Please put things in order particularly when comparative arguments like these are discussed otherwise we're not serving the purpose of a forum which is for the unlearn to learn, the uninformed to be informed.

If the point of comparison for the ink will be in the consumer application area wherein it doesn't cost anyone business, I'm on your side. 3rd party ink is good enough and has a lot of cost advantage. Just a word of caution, one must pick the 3rd party ink cautiously since not all 3rd party inks are created equal. However, if it's for contract proofing, it would not be wise to take unnecessary chance.
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CIECAM

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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:11 am

larrysison wrote:
[
Does that mean if I use original inks and original proofing paper....I am already ASSURED of ISO conformance? Of course not.

Because ISO Quality is not simply a conformance issue....it is also a calibration issue. Both are equally important.


My basis of saying that is only genuine colorant are certified by fogra, there is no generic ink til today.

The process of calibration is diffrent with what you know, i beg to differ.
One conformance is gamut - define as a capability of a calibrated device to capture colors. They go together. Try to check the exemplification of your gamut too.

Anyway, Goodluck to your adventure and reasearch.
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Doctor Blade

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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:15 pm

i know a lot of printers who use third-party inks and some of them are able to maintain their color managed system but a lot of them fails and complain to the supplier of the inkjet printer...
ganyan talaga ang pinoy hahanap ng paraan para makatipid tapos magrereklamo kapag nagkaproblema dahil lalong lumaki ang gastos nila ta maraming nasayang na oras.
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Sandman

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PostSubject: Re: Using Alternative Inkjet Inks   Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:03 pm

Doctor Blade wrote:
....but a lot of them fails and complain to the supplier of the inkjet printer...ganyan talaga ang pinoy hahanap ng paraan para makatipid tapos magrereklamo kapag nagkaproblema dahil lalong lumaki ang gastos nila ta maraming nasayang na oras.

You're absolutely right, Doctor Blade. Hindi siya madali. And medyo magastos din sa simula.

One has to have measuring tools, in-depth knowledge of colorimetry, a reliable RIP, and also a profile editing software, to do such tests. To add, the experimenter should also be knowledgeable in Design of Experiment procedures (i.e. 2k factorial design).

Kung subjective testing kasi mahirap talaga ma-attain ang goal na gamitin ang cheaper materials for contract proofing.

My thoughts only.
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