Ink Different – A New Model for Costing Color

By | April 11, 2013

Every single person sees color differently, as does most every single press. That reality presents an ongoing challenge for manufacturers, particularly when asked by customers to quote prices for ink and coverage.

“It’s one of the most important conversations we have with customers,” according to Guy Broadhurst, VP Technology and Client Solution for Canon Solutions America. Guy led a CSA Press Go webinar on February (date), entitled “Ink Coverage and Ink Cost – An Approach to Standardization.”

The very terms – “ink coverage” and “ink cost” – often get mistakenly interchanged, according to Guy. He cited common requests, such as, “Give me a price for 5% coverage or with this media,” or “What’s my cost per copy?”

Good, Better or Best?

There are no stock answers. The influence of paper on ink coverage is the biggest factor in inkjet printing, Guy notes. “We must ask, ‘Do you want good, better or best paper?’”

Interestingly, the cost per impression rises as quality of paper decreases.  Multiply that difference over a 5-year period, and your ink cost rises considerably as quality of paper decreases. 

The Only Option

Guy now injects “an objective component” into what has traditionally been a subjective decision. His new standardized approach uses these criteria:

  1. Provide the best fidelity — the paper that offers the greatest color gamut.
  2. Print a defined color patch using all colors as a defined percentage of the sheet, and provide the exact cost. This becomes the control for comparing vendor to vendor.
  3. Ask for a targeted color and variance allowed, measured by a deltaE. The difference of 1 DeltaE can mean hundreds of thousands in extra costs.

Subjective measurements have skewed the conversation for too long, Guy asserts – much to the customers’ detriment. It’s time introduce objectivity into the equation for measuring print quality.

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