There are no grey areas when it comes to colour

If you purchased a Porsche or an Aston Martin, you’d make sure you used the best possible fuel and best grade oil recommended by the manufacturer for maximum performance, right?

So why not invest the same care and attention when it comes to the ‘fuel’ for your printing device – a business tool that is intrinsic to the success of your company?

The truth is that the ink used in printers of today is so much more than just a consumable – it’s in the ink where most of the research is invested, and where ongoing development is a priority. 

It’s the ink that determines the vibrancy of colours on a print, how long-lasting and smudge-proof the images will be, and how clear the detail in a picture is – it’s no longer just about the chips and processors nestling in the electronic heart of the device.

Epson has provided an overview of this liquid gold so that consumers can learn a little more about ink before making a purchasing decision when it comes to their next printer.

The two main types of ink – which is best for your needs?

Most inks can be loosely grouped into pigment-based inks and dye-based inks, each type being suited to different printing applications.

Dye-based inks

Most printer manufacturers use dye-based inks, which are great for printing on glossy photo media, but which tend to soak into normal paper, causing ‘bleeding’. With plain paper, which is very absorbent, the bleeding can be extensive, giving spidery edges to text and photos, and images may appear blurred as the colour soaks through the paper rather than sitting on the surface.

However, dye-based inks are more vulnerable to environmental conditions such as humidity and sunlight. The challenge is finding a dye-based ink that offers the quality and longevity that you need. Look for an ink that offers increased permanence and resistance to light and oxidation. One such product is Epson’s Claria inks, which the company maintains will keep your prints bright and lively for up to 200* years.

Pigment-based inks

Pigment-based inks are much more stable and can last more than 2001 years on some paper types under ideal (museum-quality lighting and framing) conditions, according to testing done by Wilhelm Imaging Research. Pigment-based inks contain droplets that don't dissolve in water, and the ink doesn’t penetrate the paper it’s printed on, making the image appear brighter. The droplets rest on the surface making these inks ideally-suited for plain paper printing.

If you want the brightness and water fastness of a pigment-based ink, then look out for a product that has extensive research behind it, to overcome these practical issues. The ideal should offer the bright benefits of a resin encapsulated pigment that helps fix the colour to the paper, with hardware technology that prevents any print-head clogging.

 One such product is Epson’s pigment-based, resin-encapsulated ink, called DURABright. Working with Epson’s Micro Piezo technology, the ink is fixed to the paper with the resin. In this system, the print head fires ink droplets onto a surface by applying an electric charge to Piezo-electric elements. The ink droplets are then propelled, instead of being heated, as many other inks are – and it means that the technology can be used with heat-sensitive liquid materials.

This kind of ink technology means that you could print in superb quality and colour or monochrome in a wide variety of commercial and industrial applications, from fabric painting to printing circuit boards.

Genuine vs generic inks

All inks are certainly not created equal – the amount of research and development that each manufacturer invests in ensuring that the best printed results are achieved takes much time and resource. It’s this investment that makes genuine inks more expensive than all the compatible generics on the market.

However, compatible does not mean comparable. As Epson researches, designs and develops its own paper and ink for its printers, it cannot make promises about the quality achieved from remanufactured and compatible consumables.

For example, Epson inks come supplied with handling instructions to help the user obtain optimum results. The only way Epson can ensure end-users achieve the results the company claims, and more importantly, the results they expect, is by recommending genuine Epson inks.

Yet, the cost difference often results in people choosing the cheaper, generic inks over the inks that are manufactured by vendors. In a competitive marketplace where commercial relationships are differentiated and maintained through service delivery and superior quality products, there are simply no grey areas on the matter of colour: understand the technology, and buy the real deal.

It’s what you, your customers, and the art of printing deserve.

Notes to Editor

1Print permanence ratings are based on accelerated testing of prints on specialty media, displayed indoors under glass or UV filter or stored in archival sleeves in album storage. Actual print stability will vary according to media, printed image, display conditions, light intensity, humidity, and atmospheric conditions. Epson does not guarantee longevity of prints. For maximum print life, display all prints under glass or UV filter or properly store them. Visit www.wilhelm-research.com for the latest information.

About Epson

Epson is a global imaging and innovation leader that is dedicated to exceeding the vision of customers worldwide through its compact, energy-saving, high-precisiontechnologies, with a product line-up ranging from printers and 3LCD projectors for business and the home, to electronic and crystal devices.

Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation,the Epson Group comprises over 70,000 employees in 106 companies around the world, and is proud of its ongoing contributions to the global environment and the communities in which it operates.

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About Epson Europe

Epson Europe B.V., based in Amsterdam, is the Group’s regional headquarters for Europe,

Middle-East, Russia, and Africa. With a workforce of 2,400 employees, Epson Europe’s sales for fiscal year 2009 were 1,875million Euros.

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About Epson sub-Saharan Africa

Epson’s operations in sub-Saharan Africa were established in 1997 with headquarters based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since then, Epson has established a panel of distributors and resellers throughout sub-Saharan Africa who are dedicated to serving Epson’s end-consumers with the highest quality products and levels of support. Epson now manages sales and support in 21 sub-Saharan African countries including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Malawi, Angola, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, Eritrea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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