What is the difference between using new sublimation ink cartridges versus refillable ones?

Desktop-format printing systems come with sealed cartridges, and the end user may decide to put a bulk ink system or refillable cartridge system on the machine to bring down the ink costs. It’s important to know what you’re getting into though.

By putting a bulk ink or refill system on a small-format printer, you will be introducing opportunities for air to get into the system, which will likely end up drying up and causing clogs, which makes it necessary to perform head cleanings and nozzle checks often. This, in turn, will drive your costs up.

The sealed cartridges that are available for the desktop-format printers will be lower maintenance, but your cost-per-square-foot will be considerably higher. The printing platforms, as you grow to larger format systems, come with larger capacity cartridges. This means lower square-foot costs. When you get to the 44-inch printing systems you will be running bulk liters or bag systems, and your cost will, again, be much lower. In those cases, the true wide-format printers (44″ or wider) are robust enough to handle bulk ink without any of the high maintenance issues you see on the small systems. The sealed ink cartridges are best from an efficiency and maintenance standpoint on desktop- and small-format printing systems (24″ or less).

—Johnson Plastics Plus

Allee Bruce

Alexandria Bruce

Alexandria Bruce is the former managing editor of GRAPHICS PRO magazine.

View all articles by Alexandria Bruce  

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