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Inks: Liquid Gold

(October 2011) posted on Tue Oct 25, 2011

More than 70 suppliers of inks for wide-format.

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Like oil is to industry, inks could be said to be the “liquid gold” of the printing market. Yes, it’s sometimes all too easy to neglect the costs of inks when compared to the costs of rigid substrates, direct labor, and so on, but pull out your records and see what you spent on ink last year – it adds up.

In fact, when you consider the amount of ink that’s used per job coupled with the consumable’s rising costs, it’s a wonder that ink suppliers haven’t begun delivering this valuable commodity to print shops via armored car these days. And since very few business costs once elevated to a certain plateau ever significantly drop, it’s safe to say that print providers should be closely analyzing their ink usage and their supplier roster on a regular basis.

Of course, price isn’t the only factor when choosing an ink. There are several variables to consider when selecting inks including qualitative issues like color gamut, jetability, elasticity, adhesion, abrasion-resistance, lightfastness, and warranties, to name just a few.

This year’s Ink Sourcelist is a comprehensive directory of nearly 80 suppliers of inks for wide-format printers. The list includes printer OEMs who are branding their own inks, ink manufacturers, and suppliers of private-labeled/branded inks. Note that we have not included companies who are only selling other companies’ branded inks (unless it is an exclusive arrangement).

Aldura solvent-based inks; Anapurna, Agorix, and Anuvia UV-curable inks; Grand Sherpa dye and solvent inks; ABISS bulk-ink supply system; AquaJet Pro inks (aqueous-based, disperse dye) for the Jeti AquaJet.

American Ink Jet
Inks for Canon, Epson, HP, Roland; new are Eco-Jet mild-solvent inks for use in Roland printers.

Bulk ink systems for Mimaki, Roland, Mutoh; inks for fine-art/archival applications.

Bordeaux Digital PrintInk
Eden water-based inks, Prime-Eco mild-solvents, Prime solvents, Clear oil-based and sublimation inks, plus Plasma UV and UV LED-compatible inks. Also: Prime Green environmentally friendly inks for Mimaki JV5 and JV5 printers.

Budget Inks
Sam Ink solvent, mild solvent, UV, and latex inks.

Lucia aqueous pigment inks.

CET-branded UV inks include High-Adhesion, High-Pigment, and Flexicure flexible inks.

Coast Graphic Supply
Cartridges and bulk inks; plus sublimation inks.