Inkjet media from China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan.

Media testing at tradeshows
Media demo at a tradeshow

The biggest single complaint of users of wide format printers is the high cost of inks and media. As soon as inkjet media becomes a generic commodity, the prices will collapse.

The result will be many more inkjet printers sold; lots more ink, and ironically, more high-priced media. So traditional companies, especially manufacturers, should not freak out so quickly. Besides, it's bound to happen no matter what. The only question is how long can the traditional ink and media price structure hold up.

Crucial will be evaluation of low-cost media. If this stuff is junk, it is not a good return on investment. I have tried some name brand media that turned out to be fit mainly for lining the garbage pail (albeit the origins of the material was not designated so I don't know what country it came from). Some of the early media from China and Taiwan was rather iffy as well.

These off-shore media companies are catching up in quality control. So FLAAR is working hard on standards of evaluation to be fair to all factions:
" To assist end-users learn how to trust the media they select
" To assist traditional media companies protect their standards of excellence
" To document at which point the off-shore media is truly acceptable as a possible low cost alternative on a use-by-use reference system.

As we learn more about the situation relative to off-shore wide format inkjet media we will report back in the report series in PDF format. This is because it is so much easier to present documentation in PDF format, rather than on short web-site pages. Thus all the full-length FLAAR reports on inkjet media are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format for easy download via e-mail.

If you wish to learn more about inkjet media, FLAAR offers the following reports.
" Standards for evaluation of inkjet media
" Inkjet media for photo-realistic and fine art giclée quality
" Inkjet media for signs, posters, banners,
" RIPs (the software you need to handle the inks and media)
" Inks and colorants (rather handy to know about inks if you wish to print on your inkjet media)
" Color Management, FLAAR Fast Facts (you need color management awareness to get your RIP to work with your inks to produce the colors you desire on your media).
All these FLAAR Reports by Nicholas Hellmuth will be available shortly on www.wide-format-printers.NET. This dot.NET site is new in the FLAAR network.


Most recently updated Aug. 19, 2002.