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Aftermarket Ink? Need Advice?

Discussion in 'Roland' started by PrintWorkz, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. PrintWorkz

    PrintWorkz New Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    I've seen on multiple sites of aftermarket inks for my SC-540 EX PRO II. I've been using only Roland inks but the prices are very attractive for the aftermarket stuff. I need some advice on whether to go the aftermarket route or not.
  2. thesignguy1986

    thesignguy1986 Member

    Oct 23, 2006
    76 E. Market
    I have a versacamm and was always hesitant on switching to 3rd party inks and honestly when I switched to Lyson Inks by Nazdar I've never looked back. You will get mixed reviews but I have never had an issue with them and I pay about 40% less with the same quality and durability.
  3. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

    Jun 4, 2007
    Home Office
    Here it what I know from experience. When we switched to 3rd party inks we used more, a lot more. Which in turn minimized savings. Overspray caused by particle containing VOC's literally stopped our printer. Absolute mess and hours upon spent cleaning just to get it to function.

    Carts would never empty completely or cease to work altogether further cutting into savings.

    If you have a belt driven Roland you will eventually have to replace the belt from overspray collecting on it. This tidbit came from our tech that has replaced a bunch of belts on rigs with 3rd party inks. Belts are about 400 bucks then you have to pay a tech to install.

    Lines, captops, pumps and dampers will get used up far faster. Again cutting into the 40% savings.

    Ask the guy selling you the ink to give you an iron clad head replacement warranty in writing. If he won't that should tell you something right there. AFAIK there is not one 3rd party ink vendor willing to back up anything.

    There is a whole raft of data I collected. Even going so far as weighing cartridges before and after the exact same print.

    I could go on and probably write a book.

    Vendors will always paint the best possible picture to get your money, period.

    Here is the absolute truth: If you are not going through at least four 440ml carts a week do not even think about switching. You need be printing 5 to 6 days a week a minimum of 6 hours a day to even think about making it work. This is how you will amortize all the parts you'll be replacing that you would not normally have to.

  4. synergy_jim

    synergy_jim Very Active Member

    My advice…….. Don't.

    We used them for a while…. Any savings up front were ate up by additional cleanings and headaches from beating my head against the wall….
  5. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

    Oct 19, 2009
    I use Triangle inks in my Roland...you do clean more, but they are a lot cheaper.
  6. Robert M

    Robert M Very Active Member

    Jan 23, 2007

    If you decide to try Bordeaux inks, we have them at www.solventinkjet.com for $69.95 for a 440ml. Stick to a name brand ink that is supported by a company located in the USA. Try aftermarket inks in cartridge form that require no system flushing. While refill cartridges may sound great, they do tend to cause lots of problems by not being a sealed system.
  7. Jackpine

    Jackpine Major Contributor

    STS pigment and eco solvent have worked flawless in both of my printers.
  8. DoubleDiamond

    DoubleDiamond Member

    Nov 26, 2012
    We tried solaris and for one year we had no problems, then the black/cyan head dropped out. Many little fixes and the problem just worsened. Our supplier gave us a roland black and cyan, the ink actually wiped the problem away... their ink is thinner I guess, but the problems just went away. I have noticed from many of the responses though this one consistency, if you are a high volume printer and your printer runs all the time, you have less issues. If your printer runs less often or not every day, you are more likely to have problems. I think the aftermarket inks are too thick and less filtered so they coagulate IMO damaging print heads, lines, pumps, etc. I dunno
  9. InstantOneMedia

    InstantOneMedia Member

    Aug 22, 2013
    We were using the bulk Triangle System for our JV3, and when we switched to the JV33, we switched to Triangle cartridges after about 2 months and have had no issues.
  10. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    In regards to 3rd party ink, I was about as skeptical as a person could be. I read lots of horror stories, knew of the expense and hassle of people having to change heads, dampers, ink lines, everything under the sun from crappy 3rd party inks. For the longest time I said I would have no part in it. Then, I was told that the inks used for the Mutoh VJ line are basically identical to the Ecosol Max inks from Roland. (Both originally developed by Epson to use in Dx4 & Dx5 heads..)

    Anyway, about 3 years ago I was on a mission to find an ink that would work well with my Mutoh 1204. (Which by the way IMHO, has one of the worst designed drain line systems of any printer I've been around.) The small tubes are prone to clogging, even with OEM ink, especially in the black and cyan channels. After speaking with a number of different users all over the country I settled on JetBest ink and 3 years later I am more than pleased with the results and savings over OEM. JetBest seems to have slightly more solvent in it's ink and as such has more smell, but on the plus side, helps keep the head and drain lines cleaner than OEM. Their ink is plug-n-play, if you are using OEM ink now, you just plug JetBest in behind it. I experienced no noticeable color shift, didn't have to make new profiles and in fact the only change I noticed was slightly better reds. Now both my printers (1204 and 1604) run JetBest ink on bulk systems and I buy it by the liter. Savings are roughly 1/2 the cost of OEM, which adds up to quite a bit even if you only use 1 set per month in your printer.

    There are many people out there running 3rd party inks successfully, just as there are many people who have had problems. If you are looking for a 3rd party ink, do your homework and talk to other users that have the same or similar machines. I am not trying to sway anyone to 3rd party inks or particularly JetBest, I don't work for them, but I will stand behind their product based on my experience. Their product has been consistent, their service has been great and they always ship my inks the same day I order them. I have helped a few on this board with the switch and gave honest, unbiased feedback on my usage of this ink. Anyone can PM me if they have questions about my experience.
  11. Biker Scout

    Biker Scout Very Active Member

    Jan 24, 2008
    Las Vegas
    FatCat, you may have seen my posts from a few years back describing all my issues with the 1204, and subsequent fixes? That ink line blockage you mentioned brought back flashes of those long nights with syringes and stained fingers.

    I would agree on JetBest for 3rd party. I was having issues well before I ever switched. And honestly, the extra solvents seemed to make some of my clogging issues go away by using JetBet as well.
  12. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

    Jun 4, 2007
    Home Office
    Answer this question truthfully: How many actual square feet are you getting per 3rd party cart?
    Square footage per cart was way down in our experience.

    When I get calls to use someones ink they are quick to say: "It's exactly like OEM". So I ask them if they'll warranty like OEM. Seems they are suddenly struck mute.
  13. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    Very hard for me to determine accurately because I really don't worry about ink usage anymore. I might be persuaded that you could see a difference of 10-20%, but even then I would be doubtful. FWIW - I don;'t run carts, I buy ink by the liter.

    I run cleaning cycles more often, I don't charge any more or less for heavy or light coverage because I'm not trying to squeeze every last penny out of an OEM cartridge. At $90 per litre (1000ml) it is the equivalent of 2 full 440 carts plus a good bit more. If you're paying $140 per OEM cart you can easily see the savings, especially if you use multiple carts per month. But in the end, even if I was using double the ink (which there is no way in heck) it is still cheaper to run 3rd party...as long as you have a good quality, reliable ink. :wink:

    *Oh and in regards to warranty, I understand where you're coming from, I really do. If you have a brand new machine that is in warranty it might be a concern. However, even OEM won't warrant any damage to a head or ink system after the warranty period is up. But I would also ask likewise, how many would take advantage of that situation and blame the ink when they already had problems before using it? It's a crap shoot really - this is why I stress that you have to do your own homework and talk to actual users, not salespeople.
  14. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

    Jun 4, 2007
    Home Office
    Holy Smokes ink by the liter! Baller status right there.

    There was one ink that our tech said looked promising, but he had a melt down and is no longer a tech. He never said what it was because I think he was involved with its development. It's a shame. Guy was a genius when it came to printers. Fairly certain his ink would have knocked it out of the park.

    At this time however the only way I would trust an ink is to have a full lab analysis comparing OEM to whatever ink we decided to use.
  15. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio

    Lol, no hardly "baller" status.

    We're a small company, only have 2 printers (1204 and 1604). I think what really helps is that both printers use the same ink. (I often wonder about the logistics of other shops that have different brand printers, say a Mimaki and a Roland in their shop - buying all those different consumables seems very inefficient.) Personally, having 2 printers that print almost identical, use identical inks and parts is just production efficiency IMHO. If one printer goes down, the other is still working and vice versa. Most common parts and printhead are interchangeable between the two, etc.

    Anyway, getting back to going 3rd party. Yes, JetBest makes 220ml & 440ml carts, has a special 500ml snap on ink system and also sells bulk in 1 liter bottles. Liter bottles are priced the best so that is what I buy. For us to be stocked for business I would have to have each printer with 4 carts in the machine, plus a spare for each color on the shelf. The 1204 only uses 220ml carts and the 1604 uses 440ml carts.

    220ml carts @ $70/ea x 8 or $560.00 in ink for the 1204. 440ml carts are $140/ea x 8 = $1120.00
    Total cost to have carts in each machine plus 1 spare each on the shelf for each printer is roughly $1680.00 in ink :omg:
    (Also that is a total of 5280ml of ink on hand so cost is roughly .32 cents per ml.)

    Now, take JetBest bulk ink, if I buy 2 liters of each color @ $90/ea x 8 = $720.00 ($400 savings over OEM) :omg:
    (Meanwhile that is a total of 8000ml of ink cost is roughly .11 cents per ml AND using bulk cartridges I can pour ink into either machine at any amount I want.)

    We typically buy 2-4 liters per month but have bought as many as 6-8 per month depending on our volume.
    The savings for us are several thousand dollars per year, and we're just a small shop.

    Again, this has been MY experience with 3rd party ink - maybe I just got lucky and picked a good one from the start...
  16. iladi

    iladi Member

    Apr 23, 2007
    Happy jetbest ink user for 6 years. Roland sp540v printer. Now I use 0.5 sealed bottles, clean, cheap, with my own profiles better prints than original ink. The print head lasts about 2 years, about the same as using original ink.
  17. premiercolour

    premiercolour Sales and services from S. California

    1. The ink is 100% compatible to factory Roland, Mutoh eco solvent inks. Plug and play
    2. Use the same factory profile
    3. The ink will not do any harm to your printer as long as you give enough maintenance according to the direction of the manufacturer.

    For Four Color Printers - Roland and Mutoh
    Four liters or 4,000ml eco solvent ink and setup cartridges for $400 shipping.


    Still not sure how it works? Give us a call - No obligation to purchase.

  18. Fatboy

    Fatboy Very Active Member

    All three my Rolands are on 3rd party ink. No problem. I have been running JStar for 4 years now with no problem at all.I ask you this....with all the money spend in manufacturing a ink,why will they make a bad ink knowing that the end user will only use it once? There money is in repeat business so for any ink manufacturer it is crucial to get repeat business.
  19. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    We've been using Bordeaux cartridges for years.
    No problems. In fact I think the heads are lasting longer than with OEM ink.
  20. Digital D-Signs

    Digital D-Signs New Member

    Aug 23, 2011
    Switch to 3rd party!

    Add up your yearly ink cost and divide by 3, then try not to choke when you see the difference. You are seriously minimizing your profits by utilizing those overpriced oem inks. Do be careful though in which brand you choose. Many of the aftermarket inks we've tried have very different color and smell than the oem's they are supposed to replace. Stay away from obvious suppliers of Chinese inks from sites like alibaba, lava ink, and ebay. Most of the Chinese inks are actually light solvent inks beings sold as eco solvent. They will require very different color profiles and will also make your shop smell horrible if not properly vented. We've been using a very good pour over ecosol in our printers for over 5yrs now from a company named Cuantek. This ink is so close to the Mutoh/Roland ecosol that I have a suspicion it is coming out of the same factory. We currently run between 4 to 6 liters a week through our trusty old 1604 and 2 1624's. The 1604 is 5 yrs old, has probably run an average of 4 to 6 hrs per day over the yrs and is only on head #3. Some of our customers have wraps that have been in the Texas sun for over 4yrs with almost no fading. This is the best performance you can ever expect from any ecosol ink so I'm very happy with the ink. The big deal is that the 3:1 oem to generic ink pricing currently equates to a difference of over 40k per yr in ink cost for us! One additional consideration is printer manufacturers will attempt to void the warranties on any machine you put 3rd party ink into. This makes having a true pour over very convenient. It makes it easy to remove the bulk ink system and plug in some oem carts when the printers are being serviced under warranty.

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