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Compatible vs' Original ink

The cost of original inks from a printer manufacturer are often the primary reason that many customers seek out an alternative ink but there are a few things you need to consider when purchasing compatible inks.

Commercial Printing with Compatible Inks?

If you are selling or thinking about selling prints using compatible inks, please read the key information at the end of this article.

 

Dye inks (Epson Claria, Canon CLI-XXX, etc..)

Dyebase inks use, somewhat obviously, dyes and like almost all dyes they will fade over time, so from an archival point of view prints created using a dye ink will need to be protected from strong light or direct sunlight. Originally even OEM inks would use naturally occuring chemicals as their core formulations but over time it become apparent than they had limitations and were difficult to stop competing ink manufacturers from using them too.

As a result, companies like Epson and Canon have invested heavily in synthetic dyes created by companies such as Fujifilm to create branded inks like Claria and Chromalife100 brands. Critically, because these dyes are synthetic it is possible for the respective creators and/or license holders to patent them. This makes it nearly impossible for third party consumable manufacturers to match the performance without incurring significant R&D costs or risking legal action. The issue of development cost in particular is a key concern as customers (like yourself) are unlikely to buy a third party ink that costs almost as much as the original...

Short Version:

Any compatible dyebase type ink will not have the same light fast qualities as the higher end OEM/Original inks from Epson, etc... If lightfastness qualities are of particular importance to you, I would recommend considering a pigment ink printer (see below) or the use of the original inks for any work/prints that require the same level of longevity. Compatible inks are much more suited for draft work, tests or any material that will be protected properly.

 

Pigment inks (Epson Durabrite, Canon PGI-XXX, etc...)

Pigment inks, are considerably more resilient to fading and as such much more suitable for archiving purposes or display in environments where harsher light sources are found.

Pigment inks are considerably more expensive to produce and, because the recipes used by the OEM's are patented, a different blend/approach has to be employed by third party manufacturers to achieve a close matching result.

It's also worth noting that many so called "compatible inks" sold for pigment ink printers, such as the Canon Pro-10, are often dyebase alternatives with fancy marketing terms that attempt to hide their true nature. Our inks almost always match the type of ink used in the printer originally, unless clearly indicated.

Paper Variation, Ozone, UV, Acidity, etc...

It's critical to note that ink is just one ingredient in your printing recipe. The printer model, capabilities and driver limits are relatively easy to identify but other variables exist in terms of the physical print media (eg: paper, canvas, etc..) with the variety of materials, substrates, coatings and composition that they comprise of. To tackle this variation, OEM manufacturers such as Canon tackle this by licensing or manufacturing their own media types which they then guarantee against thanks to significant testing during ink and printer development. Third party media/paper manufacturers then use these as benchmarks for their own products.

Difficulties then arise for third party ink manufacturers as compatible inks are never identical to the OEM ink. Chemical composition, concentrations, acidity can all be different and each variable affects the way the ink will work (or not) with the different papers. One key area that this is most evident is in terms of fade resistance. This is where the type of ink, paper acidity and how the recipe reacts to Ultra Violet light and/or ozone exposure comes into play.

 

Close Equivalents? Not Exact Copies?

One of the key reasons why compatible inks are called "compatible" and should never boast that they are exactly the same as the original/OEM inks, is because of the legal departments tied to all printer manufacturing companies. Patents, copyright, etc... are all designed to protect the investment in time and money that these companies have put into their inks and whilst there's a big debate as to the "fairness" and pricing models used, it's a reality that all consumable manufacturers must work within.

The net result is that any third party ink will be unable to completely match the original qualities exactly. The good news is that our emphasis is on the closest possible match within the constraints imposed on our manufacturers.

 

The Bottom Line

Whilst it would be ideal for any of our manufacturers to produce compatible inks with the exact same, if not better, qualities on every aspect of their inks, it is simply not possible for legal and cost reasons. The inks re-sold by OctoInkjet are good quality, close match to the originals and will provide you with a low cost means of producing good quality prints.

If you require prints that match OEM output across all factors, without taking additional precautions such as protecting against sunlight, etc... then you should purchase original cartridges.

Printing Commercially (Selling prints and/or print services using third party inks)

The very short version to this is that we do not warranty our inks for use in a commercial scenario. If you are selling your print results commercially, we would always recommend you use OEM inks for these purposes, particularly if you are using a dye ink printer.

For all the reasons, provided above, it is nearly impossible to ensure that our compatible inks will provide specific fade resistance and due to the large variation in papers, and lack of a formal lab we can't feasibly or economically test these directly.

So, if you wish to make savings through third party inks, papers, etc... the emphasis is on direct testing before committing to using ours or any other third party ink. We do actively curate and share the information gathered from our customers who feedback and we use this to identify any issues and/or solutions so if/when a good mix is identified we will share it.

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