Ink Supply Changes

Updated: 18th June 2015
New section on manufacturer transparency added

Originally Posted: 12th March 2015

In mid to late 2014, Image Specialists was merged into STS-inks in Florida, USA and, as you would expect, a number of changes have taken place to rationalise the number of products available and resolve pricing differences.

At the same time, the raw materials market for pigments and dyes have undergone some substantial changes with environmental legislation increasing costs, price increases being released to market and restrictions on supply being applied. All in all the changes have added significantly to costs, forced changes in products available and this has all been passed on to suppliers like OctoInkjet.

The key changes are as follow:

  • Image Specialists pigment inks are slowly being phased out in favour of STS-ink formulations that meet or exceed the original specification. This is particularly relevant to customers using K2, K3 and K4 equivalent inks as well as the standard Durabrite and Durabrite Ultra compatible blends.
  • Costs for inks have increased substantially in the last 6 months with changes of between 25 – 200% applied.
  • Manufacturers have also changed pricing systems. Previously we were able to source inks at a single/standard price for each ink type but now many inks have been price linked to raw material costs. This has effectively doubled the cost on some inks.
  • Currency fluctuations across the Euro and Dollar have also added a wobble factor.

All of these changes have had a knock on effect to suppliers with many switching to new manufacturers/suppliers or simply terminating product availability.

With all this in mind the following changes are being introduced at OctoInkjet:

  • Epson compatible pigment inks are now being replaced by STS inks as stocks run out.
  • We now supply an alternative K3 ink from Inktec (Powerchrome K3) which provides an excellent result for glossy media users.
  • Prices for all inks are being adjusted to allow for the pricing changes applied by suppliers.

As with anything of this nature we’re also considering other suppliers, other inks and finding a balance between what we’ve supplied in the past, what has replaced that and what else would be a comparable alterative or possibly a better solution.

As a last resort, we are also considering ending support for some inks where minimal demand makes ink supply non-viable. This is likely to have an impact for particularly old printers like the Canon i9000 but we will contact existing customers first to see if we can find a solution.

As with any change, it’s important to note that we’re resolving and adjusting to each challenge. If you have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to provide the answers and/or information you’re looking for.

Added: 18th June 2015

Manufacturer Transparency

To date, OctoInkjet has maintained a policy of providing detailed information on the manufacturers we source specific inks from but we are now in a position where we are having to reconsider this approach.

While existing inksets are unlikely to have this information removed from listings we will not be indicating it for future products.

The reasons for this change in policy are varied but to give a brief explanation in bullet point form:

  • Some inksets now combine multiple suppliers/sources to get the best results
  • We are now developing value added resources for some inks such as profiles and results specific to test media
    • Recovering the costs of such resources comes from ink sales
    • Making it possible for customers to purchase from competing suppliers while utilising our resources is not a good business model
  • Allow us to develop the OctoInkjet brand based on our products, service and support rather than that of our suppliers or competitors
  • Allow us to provide clear “warts-and-all” appraisal(s) of our products without affecting manufacturer brand image

That said we continue to practice:

  • Transparent reporting of any/all issues with inks and/or batch related issues as appropriate
  • Clear indication of changes to ink formulation, manufacturer and/or supplier as/when we are made aware of them

In short, we will continue to report which manufacturers we work with but we won’t be linking them to individual inks or inksets as we add them to our product portfolio.

Updated on 11 February 2022

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