Category Archives: printing

printer ink expensive wine

Printer Ink: More Expensive than the Finest Wine (and No Buzz)

Printer ink price per ounce is insane: Do you realize just how much name brand printer ink costs?

“very elegant on the palate, with rich, ripe but tightly wound cassis and chocolately flavors nicely framed by silky tannins. Finishes lively, floral and long…”

Ah, yes; Chateau Petrus, which has a reputation for being one of the best, and most expensive vintages of wine available.

In fact, silly humans can pre-order a bottle of it for about $1600 online, although don’t plan on bringing it to dinner next Friday night (to compliment Mom’s meatloaf?) as it might not ship for a few months.

“Wow, I would never splurge on something that decadent,” you say! Something so extravagant is surely only bought by fat cats who wear monocles and light their cigars with $100 bills, right?

Name Brand Printer Ink Can Cost $70 Per Ounce!

printer ink expensive

Actually, depending on how you price it, you might already be buying something just as lavish. As you can see in the graphic above, the price per ounce of printer ink is actually more than this legendary wine.

For the more expensive name brand inks, you could be looking at over $70 per oz.(and, it doesn’t have a lively, floral finish)

Printer Ink: The Most Expensive Liquid You’ll Ever Buy?

Anyway, the point being illustrated here is that printer ink is probably the most expensive liquid that you are ever going to buy.

Companies like EpsonHP, and Canon are willing to actually take a loss when they sell you the printer itself, because when you need replacement ink, they know you’ll be back. (This is the same business model as the razor industry, which is built on you needing replacement blades.)

Stick it to The Man, Buy Generic Ink Instead

One way to stick it to The Man is to consider opting for “name brand compatible printer ink,” (aka “generic”) which can cost less than half as much as the “OEM” genuine ink. The market for it keeps growing, and it has become a billion dollar industry, to the dismay of those big printer companies.

Don’t just buy generic ink anywhere though. Like that ink you see displayed in the window of that stereo shop in Chinatown? (with a crudely drawn “Tony the Tiger” on the packaging) Skip buying that brand.

To ensure quality, you’ll want to be sure to buy ISO 9001 certified ink (meets quality standards) from a reputable online store like 4inkjets and 123inkjets.

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how printer ink cmyk made

How is Ink Made? This Fascinating Video Shows You Exactly How

How is ink manufactured? Maybe it’s not as fun as learning how chocolate bars or beer is made, but there is an incredible science to the art of making 4-color, CMYK, process ink(This would be such of a nightmare job for me, being colorblind!) Although companies have their own unique manufacturing techniques, they all have a similar process.

I came across this truly fascinating video from the Printing Ink Company that illustrates the process; from the raw ingredients and mixing process, to the final ink that is sold. Seeing the video makes you feel even worse about how much ink is wasted in your printer! (Click below to view, & please share this page!)

How Ink Is Made: (Video)

Highlight of the video: Essentially, four base colors are made, from which all other colors are derived through mixing. These colors are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black; commonly known as CMYK color.

How Ink is Made:

  • guyPrinting ink is used for a wide variety of things; everything that you see with color on a paper like substance has been printed, including all of the packaging and print material that you see
  • Printer ink is composed of 2 primary things; the pigment (giving ink its color) and the vehicle, which is the carrier of the color
  • The pigment, a colored powder, is incorporated into the vehicle, which is a sticky varnish (like honey) that varies in thickness
  • First the vehicle is heated in order to thin it, so that the pigment can be incorporated. The pigment is then grinded in a bead mill, and then smeared in a 3-roller mill to reduce each pigment particle to its smallest size in order to maximize the color within
  • Quality control (QC) now becomes hugely important, ensuring that each batch of ink is the same
  • The ink is then subjected to a number of rigorous tests, including a grind test, and bleach test, which checks the color strength
  • Once approved, other ingredients are added, including waxes (for rub resistance) driers (so that the ink can dry quickly on paper)
  • The tack (stickiness) is tested, as it must be controlled so that the printer transfers it properly to paper
  • The ink is run again through another 3-roller mill, refining it further and adds more gloss and polishing
  • Before the ink is poured into a can and packaged, it has been through grinding mills, mixers, and a number of quality control tests.

how ink made

Ink Manufacturing & Quality Control

Not only is the ink subject to internal quality control and scrutiny, but also must meet rigorous standards like ISO 9001.

Before buying ink or toner of any kind, make sure that it meets these industry standards. Drums of this ink may be sold to printing services like Shutterfly, or companies that sell inkjet cartridges.

The generic and OEM printer ink featured on this site from companies like 4inkjets, Clickinks, and 123inkjets, all meet these high standards. Remember to always look for a coupon before you buy ink anywhere.

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iso 9001 ink

What Are ISO 9001 Quality Standards for Ink? Here’s the Answer:

What are ISO 9001 standards for ink? How do you know that the quality and performance of that remanufactured inkjet cartridge you are about to buy is really as good as the more expensive name brand ink?

The process that ensures quality for remanufactured and compatible ink is known as ISO 9001. Most ink that meets these tough standards will actually have an ISO 9001 seal on the packaging, meaning that they have been manufactured under ISO 9001 standards.

While all of your top ink brands like Epson, Canon, HP ink, and Lexmark (genuine ink directly from the manufacturer is known as “OEM ink”) comply with these standards, you’ll want to make sure any generic ink cartridges that you buy comply as well.

The coupons for generic ink that we feature on this site (click for 4inkjets.com coupons or 123inkjets.com coupons) all comply with these quality standards.

hp oem ink

History of ISO 9001 quality standards

In 1978, a Swiss organization known as the International Organization for Standards (ISO) created a set of quality standards, known as ISO 9000. This set of stringent quality standards are universally accepted and were created to ensure that a specific product or service will consistently meet their expectations every time.

ISO 9001 is a specific set of standards under the broader global standards (known as ISO 9000) that monitors the quality of design, development, and production. In this case, the ISO 9001 standards apply to compatible inkjets and remanufactured inkjets.

The ISO 9001 certification process

The process for obtaining ISO 9001 certification is a very rigorous process. With the end result guaranteeing that you, the customer, are getting a very high quality product. Some of the requirements in ISO 9001 (which is one of the standards in the ISO 9000 family) include:

  • a set of procedures that cover all key processes in the compatible inkjet cartridge manufacturing process
  • monitoring all manufacturing processes to ensure quality of inkjet cartridges
  • checking inkjet cartridge for defects, with appropriate and corrective action where necessary
  • regularly reviewing specific individual processes as well as the quality system itself for effectiveness
  • facilitating continual improvement for inkjet manufacturing process
  • New: Get 500 business cards for only $10 + shipping! – Vistaprint

In general, a company or organization that has been independently audited and certified to be in compliance with strict ISO 9001 standards may publicly state that it is “ISO 9001 certified” or “ISO 9001 registered”. (as seen on the side of many inkjet cartridges) Certification to an ISO 9001 standard certifies that formalized business processes are being applied for consistency.

Buy generic ink that is iso 9001 certified for quality

Some of the top names in generic, ISO 9001 certified name brand-compatible ink online are: 4inkjets, 123inkjets, and Clickinks.

Although the ISO 9001 standards originated in manufacturing, they are now employed across several other types of organizations. A “product”, in ISO vocabulary, can mean a physical object, (such as inkjet cartridges) services, or software. Learn more about ISO 9001.

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non oem ink

What is OEM Ink? The Difference Between Name Brand & Generic Ink

Buying replacement ink for your printer? You should know the difference between “OEM” and “non-OEM” ink. Essentially OEM comes directly from the original manufacturer, and “non-OEM” is the generic equivalent. Here’s a full explanation:

So, What is OEM ink?

OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer.” It’s just a fancy and confusing way of saying that it is “genuine brand name ink.”

OEM ink comes directly from manufacturers like Canon, HP, and Epson. OEM ink is always more expensive than it’s “non-OEM” equivalent.

Then, what is a “non-OEM ink” cartridge?

A non-OEM ink product is a generic, or “compatible” version.

Compatible ink is essentially ink or toner manufactured by a third party that is designed to work with specific printers. The concept is very similar to that of generic drugs, as name brand compatible ink is much cheaper than what is known as name brand “OEM” ink.

Compatible ink has been a thorn in the side of big brand names like Canon and Lexmark, as it has grown to a multi-billion dollar business; commanding about 25% of the replacement ink and toner market. This has spurred a number of lawsuits from large brands claiming copyright infringement and unfair competition against companies like 123inkjets and 4inkjets 

The result of  a 2007 lawsuit against 123inkjets brought by Epson reaffirmed that these “compatible” inkjet cartridges must be labeled as such (or as refilled, or remanufactured) so as not imply that they are being sold or endorsed by the original company. It also restated that a number of regulations be enforced against compatible ink including manufacturing, quality, and import laws.

How is compatible ink different than recycled ink? 

The two products are actually similar in a lot of respects, but the main difference is that compatible inkjets are made with all new parts and materials, whereas recycled, refilled or remanufactured” ink is sold in the reused containers of name brand ink.

Reusing these mostly plastic containers allows purveyors of recycled ink to make the claim that their product is friendly for the environment.

Is compatible ink as good of a quality as name brand ink?

Most third party tests show little difference between compatible and OEM ink, but there is debate among some customers as to whether they are equals.

Although most compatible ink performs to high quality standards, (known as iso 9001 standards) a number of the negative reviews that I have found claim that the color prints and copies from compatible ink are not as bright and durable as OEM inkjets and toners.

OEM Ink: Our conclusion

I think that it is a personal choice whether to buy name brand or compatible ink the same way there is often a choice between name brand and generic at the drugstore. If you are printing photographs or high quality glossy images, I think you should lean towards paying extra for the real McCoy, even though they are excluded from coupons.

If you are like me and mostly print out things that won’t be scrutinized for quality, you should lean towards the cheaper compatible inkjet alternative.

Also, if you run a small business or print a large volume of pages each month, the cost difference becomes more of a factor, as that 20-50% that you save with generic ink could mean hundreds of dollars.

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