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Do Printers Still Need Service from their Ink Supplier ? ?

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Post time: 2013-4-18 13:33:33 |Show all posts
It will be interesting to see if the layers of ink on paper still value the service of a qualified experienced ink technician to help them solve difficult problems and situations. Someone that performs both in a proactive as well as a reactive manner. Or is selling price the key and only component that may interest you? Thank you for letting your replies flow freely.

Post time: 2013-4-19 16:18:34 |Show all posts
@ d ink man
As I wrote before, there is a very wide variance in the quality of ink vendor's field technicians.
Information that is acquired in the field tends to stay with that individual - it is not sent back to head office for interpretation, testing and redistribution back to the field personnel. I.e. you can have an individual good ink technician at a certain vendor but that does not mean that the other vendor's technicians are any good at their trade.
Experience does not automatically result in greater knowledge or understanding.
I've had to fire in-shop vendor ink technicians. I've also seen how individual big name vendors have not been able to understand and formulate an ink to specification that a different ink vendor had no difficulty with.
There seems to be a lack of training and accreditation with ink technicians. Couple that with a lack of internal vendor knowledge base and training and it's basically every one's on their own. Some are good, some are bad, and others just get by.
Best gordo

Post time: 2013-4-19 15:07:36 |Show all posts
You sir are an experienced, knowledegable and seasoned veteran of the trade from what I can ascertain.
You may have 25 years of experience at the same company. If so, that means you have 1 year of experience 25 times. This may not be the case in your situation, but trust me, that is the case for many press room personnel histories.
The service and technical know how of a travelled Service Technician is invaluable to the layers of ink on paper. These ink technicains may have only 2 years of experience. However in this case, they have about 400 experience cases in that 2 year span. The point is that an experienced Technical Service Ink Representative sees thousands of different consumables, thousands of different press room conditions and countless problems and proper working parameters. A Technician that records this data and accumulates it over time, becomes somewhat of an EXPERT in the problem solving field. Combine that with a Technician that completely understands the nuts and bolts of his products formulations, well than you may begin to see the VALUE of what I am trying to get across here.
Your conclusion that I am looking for praise is 99.44% incorrect. What I am looking for in the total industry, the ink manufacturers as well as their customers that purchase the product, that Technical Service is a missing key ingredient into the way they do business that will create maximized profitabilty.
I hope that is clear and understandable to you, respectfully TheProcessISthe product.  

Post time: 2013-4-19 13:49:15 |Show all posts
original post was a question, and in my opinion in the current climate I would rather have a good product at a low price (Or is selling price the key and only component that may interest you? Thank you for letting your replies flow freely.) that is my opinion, don't ask for opinion to flow freely then say it is wrong (My belief is that you are wrong). I think you are looking for praise rather then discussion...

Post time: 2013-4-19 12:37:21 |Show all posts
Excellent try, TheProcessIStheproduct, but I believe your reply and opinion are 180 degrees different than the purpose of the original post. But thank you for your input, some may latch onto it and believe. My belief is that you are wrong, 100%. Happy motoring!

Post time: 2013-4-19 10:45:50 |Show all posts
You can demand boots on the ground service, blaa blaa blaa, but I think times have changed and for general commercial printing, I would much rather have a strong ink company making a consistent quality product at a low price and have 800 service, then a company that is stretched thin trying to keep local techs on the payroll who half the time come in and talk up the press ops and don't solve any problems other then advising to try a different lot #, because they are cutting corners on raw materials because the prices keep going up...

Post time: 2013-4-19 09:41:24 |Show all posts
The ink company should be willing to give you a certificate of analysis verifying GRACoL 7 conformance versus GRACoL standards with each new supplied batch.
The original case scenario documented by MacTwidget said the magenta was tweaked. Tweaked is the key word. This should be an adjustment that was made by the introduction of another formula, using either an alternate pigment or flush color. Keep in mind, that Process Magenta can run a multitude of shades, even though it is classified as Lithol Rubine Pigment 57:1. The shade can go from a very warm hue (like old AD-76 for example) to a very blue shade like most of the European and Oriental offerings that are out in the marketplace.
BUT, and most importantly, once you have a standard ink formula that is GRACoL 7 certified there is no legitimate reason the ink company can offer for deviation of hue/grayness. I have personally seen deviation caused by an ink company because of the addition of work off material into a batch of process ink. Work off is a commonly used item in the manufacture of ink and is OK, as long as it is properly controlled. The responsibilty falls on the quality assurance lab at the ink company to properly check color, batch to batch, for exacting matches.
That is why I say that you develop a relationship with your ink supplier to provide meaningful assurance alongwith each shipment and/or batch to verify compliance. Particularly if you have experienced deviation, from one batch to another batch, interfering with your print productivity because of an inabilty to match your proof. Magenta, cyan and yellow are the ones thta need the most scrutinizing.
I believe this an exception, rather than a rule, but do not let your ink supplier off the hook if you've experienced problems. Quality assurance, quality control and consistency of all inks from batch to batch is an ink suppliers responsibilty. This is all part of that SERVICE thing you know. Men of print, keep your suppliers hopping and compliant. Remember you are the customer paying for the product. It must be right!

Post time: 2013-4-19 08:14:14 |Show all posts
I went through this recently with a customer.  They were using a custom series of 4 color process and applying G7 to it.  The series was created before G7.  It is held to very tight tolerancing both for color as well as other physical properties.  Needless to say, they had difficulty achieving G7 metrics.  We adjusted our series to conform to ISO 12647-2, created new formula numbers, and everything fell into place.
I guess my point is, the Ink Systems series was quite possibly and probably matching to the original intent of the series when it was created.  Times changed, G7 came along and the series needed adjustment.  This does not mean they were putting out inconsistent product.

Post time: 2013-4-19 06:48:34 |Show all posts
"My shop just went through period where our press sheets were running way too warm compared to the proofs." MacTwidget
It does sound like your ink company came through for you to fix your problem but my concern would be why did it every happen in the first place.  In my mind the incident you just described says your ink company has very loose quality control for them to let ink get out of their facility being far enough off on huge causing you to run your magenta density down to 1.15.
You wasted countless hours and paper trying to get the problem under control on your own it sounds like.  I would be having a conversation the your ink company regarding how are they going to tighten up their quality control so you don't get any bad ink again.   Your manufacturing process is only as good as your raw materials coming in IE ink, fountain solution, solvent, paper ...   If they change and it changes your print characteristics you can through color management out the window.  Who knows when your ink will change again.  Maybe next time it will be your cyan.
I have seen this many times and it seems like our industry is very willing to just accept these variations in our raw materials and cover the issues up with more donuts, ball game tickets, lunches...
We need to demand consistent products from our vendors and expect it.  I know my clients do of me.

Post time: 2013-4-19 05:45:25 |Show all posts
Bad guess on my part, but honerstly, I should have known. Ink Systems is one company certainly holding on to the traditional values that breeds profitabilty, SERVICE. Again, keep them and cherish them. They are a gleaming stainless steel example of PROFESSIONALISM. Mr. Hirsch and Mr. Jilek have it figured out, imho. Shiny Bright!

Post time: 2013-4-19 03:53:30 |Show all posts
Actually, it was Ink Systems Inc.
They are very responsive to our needs. Their regional mixing facility is about 2 miles from our shop.

Post time: 2013-4-19 02:42:48 |Show all posts
Just being picky...I think you mean ISO 12647-2 certified rather than G7 (which is a grey balance methodology).
Why didn't this ink supplier already have their inks formulated in accordance with ISO 12647-x? Or have identified an ink series that conforms. In fact, do any ink manufacturers list which of their inks conform to ISO 12647-x?
best, gordo

Post time: 2013-4-19 01:14:03 |Show all posts
MacTwidget, That is a good example of an ink company responding properly in not such an urgent manner, but in one, that they better fix the magenta shade (either warmer or colder), before another ink company supplies one that is G7 certified. The ink company did right and they protected their business and served you, the printer well. I trust and hope you receive the same type of service, 24-7-365 for even less complex issues, i.e. critical shade adjustments to say a tint spot color, just as example. If so, keep and cherish that ink supplier. Gonna take a wild stab, why not, was this GANS inks? Just a guess. Thank you for your input.

Post time: 2013-4-18 23:18:22 |Show all posts
My shop just went through period where our press sheets were running way too warm compared to the proofs.

Our pressman were having to run the magenta as low was 1.15, with the C, Y and K at proper densities. We eliminated any plating, proofing or press variable that we had any control over.
We had a G7 expert in and we put an IDEAlliance test form on press. Once we got a decent sheet off that was run to standard densities, the G7 guy informed us that any swatch on the target that used magenta failed. He determined that our magenta ink was of a slight different hue.
We are in California and we use one of the major ink manufacturers on the west coast.
We contacted the ink company and they were receptive. They made a tweak to their standard magenta and sent us 25# of it.
A few days later we had the G7 guy and the G7/Press Tech from the ink company here and we put the same test form on press.
The tweaked magenta made a HUGE difference.
Bottom line is that I got immediate service from the ink company. They did not get arrogant and say, "It cannot be the inks". They were willing to come to that table with an open mind and look at their own house for problems, not assuming that the problem has to be elsewhere.
They are even going back and investigating whether or not this change should be the new standard for their magenta ink.
YES, service from the ink companies, as well as all our vendors is important.

Post time: 2013-4-18 22:07:01 |Show all posts
Boots on the ground are actually more important than ever, imho. With diminished print, high competition for that print job, now is the time to demand a partnership with a willing ink supplier that will stand with you in overcoming problems in your pressroom. It is these type of relationships that built the industry and was a significant vehicle in providing profitabilty, for the printer as well as the ink companies. If you can't find this kind of service, please keep searching, it will come. The ink companies will again wake up and discover that SERVICE is an attribute that will keep them in business. In recent years they have squeezed just about everything they can from cheaper raw materials, low & slow transportation costs and the reduction of their work forces, many times, good key experienced people that were part of the solution, not the problem. The ink leaders may eventually open their blinded eyes and realize that SERVICE is an entity that nurtures prosperity. For the ones who lay ink on paper, I would demand SERVICE, with boots on ground methodologies. Because no matter how cheap the selling price of that ink is, no matter the time frame for deliveries, no matter how tasty the donuts and no matter how good those seats are for the upcoming Football game; partnering with a SERVICE providing ink company is a key element directly proportionate to whether a printer will be able to keep his doors open. Yes, ink is normally 3-5% of a print job's cost, but the expertise a qualified ink technician can give is PRICELESS. Some CEO and leaders of layers of ink on paper have again realized it, and will not settle for lip service or an 800 number. Please do not be shy in asking or demanding service of the technical nature from your ink supplier. DEMAND IT!

Post time: 2013-4-18 21:03:43 |Show all posts
It has been a couple years since I had to call an ink tech, they are all gone in town now, so if and when something comes up it will probably be a 800 call. Seems like boots on the ground is not that important any more...

Post time: 2013-4-18 19:37:09 |Show all posts
I have to agree with you. I have worked for several ink companies over the past 30+ years, and only my current employer has such an extensive data base.
If ink companies had this data readily available, most technicians wouldn't be able to use it. This is primarily due to the fact that most of the problems encountered, in or around the press room, can be caused by any number of factors. Additionally, the quality of technicians out there with the aptitude to understand the data and/or put it to use, is few and far between. But don't get me wrong, there still a hand full of really good ink techs out there who haven't yet retired.
Unfortunately, ink companies have either laid off and/or haven't replaced any of the quality technicians over the past few years. Due to the current economic conditions, printers demanding lower prices, and the inflow of offshore inks I don't think we are going to see the change anytime soon.
D Inkman has asked a good question. My answer is, you should only expect to get what you pay for.
Sorry for half way hijacking the thread. This is just one of my pet peeves.
My .02 cents!

Post time: 2013-4-18 17:40:51 |Show all posts
I agree with Cornishpastythighs. That being said, in my experience, there is a wide variance in the quality of ink technicians and the companies that employ them. One of the things that I discovered is that most ink companies do not have a central database that their technicians can draw upon. Each field technicians gains experience and knowledge independently - it is not shared so that others can draw on it.
best, gordo

Post time: 2013-4-18 16:21:36 |Show all posts
Mr. Cornishastythighs, thank you very much for you honest and I am sure for some (not the layers of ink on paper), a very eye opening discovery. You are a gentleman, a scholar and an enjoyer of fine women, fine wine and song. God bless you. D

Post time: 2013-4-18 14:38:20 |Show all posts
I think in these times of Quality,Low Price,Delivery that are all 'givens' that one of the criteria I have always looked to an ink company for is technical support from a person who has a broad knowledge of the various processes. These are a valuable resource. They see many different problems in other factories and can share that knowledge (as long as it is not a confict of interest) with us. I enjoy it when they visit us and we can talk shop rather than just a sales guy who wants to sell me something.
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