|FLAAR Reports visits ink factory of STS Inks to begin evaluation|
Starting in June 2014 we are evaluating the ink of STS Inks
Our long-range goal is to assist print shop owners and distributors around the world to have a reasonable range of after-market inks to choose from. Many distributors come to FLAAR to ask what ink brands should they distribute. Print shop owners around the world also ask for help.
It is bad PR for printer manufacturers to block or even hassle end-users who prefer to use after-market inks. Actually in China Mimaki and many other brands intelligently remove any obstacles to using after-market ink.
And some of the ink companies who are providing ink for OEM printer manufacturers also sell comparable ink as after-market! So you might as well study which after-market ink will work acceptably.
After getting to know the staff of STS Inks and after visiting their factory, we have now initiated an evaluating of their inks. This page is mostly about their ink for Epson DX printheads in Epson Stylus Pro 10000. In the future we would consider evaluating their UV-cured inks, but that is a longer more expensive project. So let’s start with ink for Epson DX printheads.
Epson Stylus Pro 4800, 4880
I have noticed that often the same Epson Stylus Pro printer has a slightly different model number, especially the models exhibited in China.
Epson SureColor printers (the new low-bid ones made in China) have a rather iffy record, and are not mature enough to be evaluated. The earlier Epson printers, such as the Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 were better and more robust (these were manufactured for Epson by Mutoh in Japan).
How do we select an ink company to evaluate? First step is visiting the company headquarters
We have visited ink company factories around the world. We are under NDA (non-disclosure agreement, usually verbal handshake on being discrete) when we visit their R&D labs, but it helps to know whether an ink company is actually manufacturing their own ink, or not.
Visiting the company booth at a trade show is second step.
After we have visited the factory and headquarters, then we get to know the ink company further by visiting their booth at trade shows. We have inspected the STS Ins booth at printer expos in many countries. Indeed to show the coverage of this company around the world we are producing a photo essay on their booths.
Third step is visiting end-users (customers, meaning a print shop)
We call this a site-visit case study. We will undertake this step later this year. A site-visit is visiting a print shop or in-house printing department, who is using the ink we are evaluating.
How do we select an ink company to evaluate? The staff, the managers, the team, are also important
In addition to visiting the booth, naturally we learn about the company, and their staff. A fact of life that we rate highly is whether individuals (sales reps, managers, booth personnel) are hospitable, pleasant, etc. Or are they unhospitable or simply not the kind of individuals we would recommend. Frankly we rate the staff and booth personnel of STS Inks as at the optimum level: knowledgeable as well as hospitable.
First posted June 2014
Wide Format Printers