Analyze the Total Cost of Ownership for Different Wide-Format Inkjet Printers

Wide-format inkjet printers have changed and improved considerably since they first became commercially viable in the mid-1990s. Thermal (or bubble jet) systems were the original inkjet printer class in the wide-format marketplace, but new categories of printer have been introduced over the years with varying degrees of success.

For the beverage wholesaler print shop, the question is: What technology is out there now that can make my output more efficient, cost effective and visually appealing? In this analysis, we’re going to look at some of the major benefits and drawbacks of current inkjet categories for operators in this highly specialized business.

Minimizing Downtime of Your Wide-Format Inkjet Printer

As your inkjet printer continues to crank out job after job, day after day, it’s easy to forget that someday your trusty old workhorse might just decide to quit one day.  In order to be prepared and to get production running again as quickly as possible, here are four important questions to ask yourself:

1.       Do I have the warranty hotline number and printer’s serial number readily accessible?

Write these numbers down and keep them where they can be easily found. Then, as you work with the manufacturer on the service/warranty issue, write down all the details, including the name of the person who helped you with the problem. In a nutshell: Document, document, document.

2. Do I have a manufacturer’s warranty or is my existing warranty through a third party?

Surprisingly, you may get on-site service more quickly through a third party. If you have a newer printer, and your issue is deemed non-fixable over the phone, you can usually expect someone to show up within 48 hours. Of course this time frame will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some third-party warranty suppliers with more service technicians at their disposal can have someone at your door within 24 hours.

3. How old is my printer, and is it still under warranty?

The age of your printer will most likely guide your decision about whether or not to sink more money into it or to simply replace it. If the answer is to replace it, the good news is that the cost of aqueous wide-format inkjet printers have decreased dramatically in recent years. Printers that once cost more than $10,000 can now be purchased in the $5,000 to $7,000 range. If you’ve let your warranty expire, it might be worthwhile to spend a little extra for a new printer instead of paying for parts and labor from a service technician.

4. Can I trade in the printer or get a free one somehow?

During the course of the year, printer manufacturers sometimes run promotions that give you cash back when you trade in your old printer for one of their newer models. LexJet is an excellent one-stop source for this information. So call a LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538 if you’re interested in a trade-in. Be sure to ask about any special programs or deals that LexJet may be offering on printer purchases.

Being prepared to deal with repair issues can save time, hassles, and money down the road. If you ever experience difficulty with your printer or need guidance on repairs, warranty, or replacement, your LexJet account specialist is happy to help. Call 800-453-9538. If you have questions regarding any of the information in this post, ask away.

Printing Tips from the Canon Digital Learning Center

At LexJet, we’re encouraged to see the growing range of educational resources now available for photographers who want to print professional-quality images. We plan to start featuring some of those resources on this blog.  

For example: if it’s been awhile since you visited the Canon Digital Learning Center, check it out! In addition to providing excellent advice on shooting different types of photography, you can learn more about color management and how to print from Canon’s wide-format imagePROGRAF printers and 8- and 10-color PximaPro printers.

You can download a copy of this guide in Canon's Digital Learning Center.

The instructional resources highlight some of the lesser-known features of the printers. For example, the author of an article on how to create Custom Profiles for Canon Printers points out that if you’re printing a bunch of test prints and want to remember which settings you used for each print, you can print a label directly onto your test print.

“You can actually do this right in the Canon Print Plug-In when you export an image to print. Just go up to File>Export>iPF5100 Print PlugIn (for example).  Once exported, click on the Print History tab.” Then, click on Edit Comment to create a custom label that will output directly on top of the test print.

Another useful tip from this article on custom profiles:  Before you scan your printed test charts, let them sit in a dark, dust-free environment for at least 30 minutes after printing.

An article on Basic Color Management explains a profile this way: “Basically, a profile creates a mathematical equation for my monitor to communicate to my printer and produce as close to the same printer as possible. That is why calibrating monitors is so important.”

After briefly discussing the fundamentals of color spaces, the author asks and answers this question: “Which color space should you be working in with Canon printers?” For Canon printers, Adobe RGB is recommended because “You want to capture and work with images that are close to your output device as possible.”  

With Canon’s total input-to-output solution, you can capture images in Adobe RGB on your Canon DSLR and print them in a color space very similar to Adobe RGB on the Canon imagePROGRAF printers.

The Basic Color Management article includes other useful tips, including how to soft proof in Photoshop and see when your printer can’t reproduce some of the colors you see on the screen. This enables you to make the appropriate adjustments on screen before you waste time, money, and materials making multiple test prints.

If you want more information than is presented in the articles, you can download a 21-page Digital Color Management Guidebook for your Canon cameras and printers. Also featured in the Canon Digital Learning Center site is a series of podcasts that you can view on screen or download. The podcasts range from 4 to 15 minutes, and cover topics such as:

  • Basic Color Management
  • Custom Profiling
  • Media Selection
  • Printing from RAW using Digital Photo Professional
  • Setting up Your iPF5100
  • Setting up Your iPF6100
  • Image Optimization and Soft Proofing with Photoshop
  • Using the Photoshop imagePROGRAF Export Plug-In

If you want to learn more about the Canon iPF printers that LexJet sells, or have any specific questions that aren’t answered in Canon’s Digital Learning Center, please feel free to call a friendly LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538.

Every week, we help dozens of Canon-printer users learn how to get the most from their wide-format imagePROGRAF printers, and we can help you, too!