Did you ever wonder why inkjet ink is so expensive? Is it because the
manufacturers are gouging their customers? NO! First off, from a business
standpoint, selling the ink is what allows printer and ink manufacturers to
continue to develop new technology, enhance new printer engines with greater
speed, provide better image quality, and higher reliability. But also,
high-quality inks are more expensive because of the rigor with which they are
Recently I went to visit an ink
manufacturing facility in Europe and I got the chance to ask one of the world's
leading ink manufacturers a lot of questions around the issue of products and
prices. Of course the top question I had was the tile of this article - Why is
inkjet ink so expensive? There are a lot of reasons but let's start with the
In many cases inkjet ink is
water-based. The water they use to make inkjet ink has to be extremely pure -
much purer than drinking water. If it isn't there would be extensive inkjet
head clogging. What that means is that really high-quality inkjet ink
manufacturers have to have very high-level water purifying systems.
IT'S NOT LIKE
Here's another thing - I always kind of thought of inkjet ink like Kool-Aid, it
has a color and some other chemicals, and if you add water all of the
flavors/colors act the same. However this is not the case with inkjet ink. Even
if the different colors of inkjet ink are being used in the same printer, there
can be a huge difference between the formulation of the Cyan versus the Magenta
or Yellow. This is because the colorant (dye or pigment), of whichever color is
often a natural compound, so it acts and reacts differently with other elements
of the ink formulation.
I could go on, because there is a lot more, but while high-quality
inkjet ink manufacturers have these issues worked out, there is no getting
around the fact that precision, environmentally-sustainable, highly-regulated,
high-quality ink manufacturing is an expensive process.
Why Does A Dealer Like
Yourself Need To Know This?
As a practical matter, if you are a dealer of wide format printing equipment
and supplies it is imperative to both understand and be able to communicate the
qualifications of the high-quality inkjet ink suppliers that you represent. It
can be very tempting to engage a supplier of low-priced inkjet inks who offers
great margins. Dealers should understand that price can be indicative of
performance because ink manufacturers will ask dealers to support their
marketing efforts and the dealer is often "on the hook" to support
equipment in the field.
. It may be easier to sell a
low-priced ink, but that could be short-sighted, because your company may have
to support users who may complain about the lack of consistency from
batch-to-batch or printhead-clogging. High-quality inkjet inks have been
fine-tuned over a number of years to work well with embedded printhead
technology, assuring consistently good ink performance. Dealers serving the
wide format market should ask the representatives of any ink manufacturers who
approach them for their ink manufacturing qualifications and certifications,
get references from other dealers, maybe even tour the factory if you can.
Strong ink manufacturing
partners will be more than happy to provide whatever information dealers need,
and your investigation will be well worth your time.
As a dealer in service to your
customers, you no doubt want to know the best and to represent the best!