Dozens of brands of third-party Chinese ink at Shanghai sign trade show Print
InkWin, OEM ink brands
InkWin booth at Shanghai 2008.

Huanmei (Sino-US Shandong Limei Jet Ink Co., Ltd,) Doozon (Shanghai Doozon Advertising Material Co., Ltd), Enkle (Shanxi Kinghua Science, Technology & Trading Co. Ltd), Bema, ShinyColor Inks, Guanyu (Weifang Guanyu Digital Technology Co., Ltd), Ink4You (Hongsam Digital Color Technology Co., Ltd),are just a few of the dozens of Chinese ink after-market ink companies that exhibited.

The nicest brochure cover was of Treasure Dragon (Suzhou Cheng Feng Plastic Co. Ltd.). I liked the graphic design because it expressed Chinese artistic quality.

But how in the world is a printshop owner anywhere else in the world going to be able to understand which of these inks is safe? And which has hazardous chemicals that are banned in the US or banned by new EU regulations (such as REACH)?

But more than that, how do you even begin to distinguish one company from the other? Which of these inks do you trust in your Mimaki JV3, Mutoh, Roland, D.G.I. or other solvent printer?

FLAAR gains knowledge about inks by asking around, so we can learn from the experience of others. The first successful Chinese ink company that caught our attention was that of InkWin. I noticed that wide-format inkjet distribution company owners that I knew were visiting the InkWin booth at FESPA Digital '08 in Geneva. This suggested that InkWin was a known ink manufacturer.

Visiting InkWin’s factory

I have spent a day in InkWin's factory in Jinan, and have seen their new factory next door: twice the size of their current facility.

InkWin, OEM ink brands, Chinese ink
Outside one of several testing facilities at the university: one building is for chemistry testing; another building is for textiles and textile inks.

Visiting InkWin’s main office

Then I visited InkWin's main office in the middle of Shanghai. After that I visited their popular InkWin booth at Shanghai sign trade show; it was adjacent to the Triangle booth (which was empty almost all four days). Teckwin UV printers was a booth on the other side of InkWin. The number of people from dozens of different countries that I saw in the InkWin booth every day, and the almost totally empty other ink company booth next to InkWin, suggested that InkWin was accepted and preferred by printshop owners.

InkWin, a high quality after-market ink for eco-solvent
Chemistry laboratory test room; each kind of testing equipment has it's own staff and its own space; floor after floor after floor, in several buildings. In most cases the main instrumentation is in a clean room. The entire test lab (all dozen+ rooms) will be presented in a forthcoming FLAAR Report.

Visiting the university testing labs that back-up the quality of InkWin ink

And it was possible to spend several hours in the university testing labs of Prof.Dr. X. Q. Wang, the wife of Dr Li (Dr Li is owner of InkWin, has experience at InkWare (EFI-VUTEk and has a PhD in ink chemistry). Dr Wang has an PhD in ink chemistry from the prestigious University of Kyoto, Japan.

InkWin´s main offices
Dr Li is at far right; Dr Hellmuth; Dr Wang in the middle; in one of almost 14 rooms at the university, each one of which has the latest German, Japanese, and US testing instruments.

Not many ink companies outside Europe or the US have this kind of top people in their company.

But…. How do we know that this ink really functions adequately? Best way is to visit a printshop that is using this ink for a year or more. So, I flew to Guatemala where it turns out one of the regular readers of the FLAAR Reports has a printshop in the center of the city. I visited his printshop in mid-August 2008 and asked about the ink. Here are the comments: “Bastante bien, no problemas.” Roughly translated: “better than good and with no problems.” The owner went on to say that he had tried Lyson ink but it clogged his printheads. He switched to InkWin ink and found this worked better.

InkWin a high quality after-market eco-solvent and bio-solvent wide-format printer ink
Here is the printshop in Guatemala where Dr Nicholas Hellmuth inspected to check on how well Inkwin lactate solvent ink functioned in the real world. The owner was pleased with this ink. He said it worked both in his Chinese printer and in his Korean printer (from D.G.I.).

What more can I say: here is an ink made in China that is rated by an end-user as better than an internationally known brand of ink originally made in the UK. As a result, we feel confident to issue our FLAAR Report which covers our inspection of their factory, main office, and testing labs.

InkWin, a high quality after-market ink for eco-solvent, bio-solvent, and mild-solvent inkjet printer
InkWin allowed Nicholas to study the ink chemestry.

FLAAR visits the Inkwin Factory a second time

We revisited the factory of Inkwin a second time circa 2011, and also revisited their world headquarters in Shanghai.

Plus we have inspected their booth at D-PES 2013 and in a few days will be visiting with Inkwin again, at ShanghaiTEX 2013.

InkWin, a high quality after-market ink for eco-solvent, bio-solvent, and mild-solvent inkjet printer
Inkwin booth at D-Pes 2013

Most recently updated May 30, 2013.

Updated August 14, 2008 after inspecting a printshop in Guatemala that was using Inkwin ink.

First posted July 8, 2008.