Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Will different wide-format, Memjet-powered printers really require different ink for each different brand that comes to market? And, will ink used in small-format Memjet-powered printers be usable in wide-format, Memjet-powered printers?

Well, I’m certainly not an expert when it comes to print-head or ink technologies, and that, for sure, is an understatement.  So maybe one of you, who understands how all this stuff works, will step to the plate and educate the rest of us!

I’ve been posting on the Blog, for at least two years by now, if not longer, about “Memjet” printing technology and “Memjet-powered” printers (both small-format and large-format.)

The other day, Ed Avis, Managing Director of the IRgA, put up an absolutely outstanding article on IRgA.com; that article was Ed’s interview of the guys at Xerox who are leading Xerox’s launch of the new Xerox IJT 2000 wide-format, Memjet-powered, printer.

Ed asked the guys from Xerox a question about the ink that’s used in the new Xerox IJT 2000:

Avis (of the IRgA): What about inks?
Graupman (of Xerox): Because of the uniqueness of the head technology, we require the purchase of Xerox inks.
By my count, there are now (or soon to be) six different brands of “Memjet-powered” wide-format printers on the market;  Fuji Xerox, Xerox US, Xante, OCE and one from a UK company and another from a Hungarian company.  Could it be that all of these memjet-powered printers will be using different ink?  The “Memjet” printing process was invented by Silverbrook Research (an Australian company) and it is the U.S. arm of that company that’s licensing manufacturers who want to build printing systems that use Memjet printing.

Or, could it be that a Memjet print-head uses only one type of ink, but manufacturers who are making Memjet-powered equipment want (for very obvious reasons) everyone to think that “their ink is different from the other guy’s ink?”

And, if I’m right in my thinking – that ink in one Memjet device can be used in any other Memjet device – will that not spur an enterprising importer to begin importing Memjet ink from China to the U.S.?  One of the first small-format Memjet-powered printers was introduced, a couple of years ago, in China (I think it was that far back, but maybe it wasn’t until last year), and, if I’m recalling this correctly, the cost of ink was said to be less than 5 cents per page (letter size) for full-color prints.  In the interview Ed conducted with the guys from Xerox, they said that at 85% coverage, it will cost around $.20 per sq ft for ink and print-heads and service.  An 8 ½ x 11 print is only a bit less than one square foot.  So, why 5 cents per square foot on a small-format Memjet printer but 20 cents per square foot on a large-format Memjet printer.  The answer may prove to be:  “because we can get that.”

Which brings to mind OCE and “copypress” technology (the latter, a remarkable advance in wide-format plan printing).  I can remember, years ago, when we found out that we could buy OCE Toner for the OCE small-format 3165 copier/printer and use it in our OCE 9800 wide-format systems, saving money (lots of it), because even though OCE said that OCE 3165 toner wasn’t designed for an OCE 9800, it certainly worked just fine.

It’ll be interesting to see IF there’s really a difference in the ink that’s used in the different brands/models of Memjet-powered wide-format printing equipment.

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