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Author Topic: Inkjet Archival Dye Technology  (Read 5725 times)
MyPix2
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« on: October 01, 2013, 11:43:10 AM »
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Wondering if anyone have investigated the latest in inkjet archival dye technology, like the Epson SureLab or Canon DreamLabo.
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John Nollendorfs
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 12:06:25 PM »
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Most "archival" dye print technology is tied into paper/ink combinations. I haven't looked specifically at the ones you mention, but individual dye inks have a tendency to attack  once another. So, companies are always on the hunt for specific ink colors that are compatible, and for inkjet receptor coatings that tend to isolate the color droplets from one another. (swellable polymer)

Remember, the old film/paper, analogs had the colors separated into descrete layers of gelatin?

Dye inks tend to clog a lot less, and have much less "build-up" problems, associated with pigments in printers. They are also more transparent, which leads many to favor them.

Under proper conditions, and optimal dye/paper combinations, dye prints can easily last over 100 years--pretty comparable to pigmented prints. The proper condition most vital is "low humidity". With low humidity, the dyes are much less likely to migrate in swellable polymer ink receptor coatings.

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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 06:34:33 PM »
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SureLab is geared toward the market that currently uses traditional chemical  processes such as Noritsu.  Noritsu sells a dye based printer as well, I think the current is the D703. It most likely uses epson heads and perhaps even epson inks. (I've been out of touch with that part of the business for a couple of years now, but I assume their partnership with Epson is still going).

Epson's claim of "generations" maybe somewhat valid since they are comparing this product to chromogenic prints  from these chemical printers, which aren't stellar longevity performers, although proper display and uv protection will yield decent results.  Of course the same protection on pigment inkjet also yields better results, so same condition testing and the traditional photo papers won't perform as well. "Generations" seems to imply 40-50 or more years which the chemical prints may be OK under some conditions.  (I'm old enough to now have 40 year old prints, most in albums look fine, some of my larger prints look O, others showing more obvious signs of aging).

Here is one of Epson's statements on SureLab.

"Print permanence lasting for generations is based on accelerated testing of prints, on specialty media, displayed indoors in a glass frame or stored in an album. Actual print permanence will vary according to media, printed image, display conditions, light intensity, temperature, humidity and atmospheric conditions. Epson does not guarantee the permanence of prints. For maximum life, prints should be displayed under glass, UV filter or lamination, or properly stored."

However they do not offer the details of those tests nor a source, which implies they did their own testing.  The "specialty media" comment is somewhat suspicious so while the product may be competitive with chemical based photo prints, it seems the statement doesn't offer much assurance it is competitive with pigment processes.

That being said, the vast majority of the market ordering prints aren't really concerned with multi hundred year longevity, and this product is designed with them in mind. Most given the choice of inkjet over chemical prints in my little shop will opt for the chemical prints because they are substantially cheaper and usually can get them faster.  This process is to compete for that market.

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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2013, 03:37:17 AM »
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Most likely all the Epson head technology dry-minilabs (Fuji, Noritsu, Epson) use a dye ink that is like Epson Claria.

That said and "Close to Claria" in mind, there is strong evidence that Claria is roughly the same "dye" ink as used in Epson, FujiFilm, Noritsu dry minilabs. Big carts and by that a much lower price per ML. You could refill from carts like that. Papers meant for the same minilabs are priced at $ 0.55 per square foot for the heaviest papers but they go in larger quantities. I think you can find Wilhelm tests of the dry minilab prints. Possible source of the inks are FujiFilm dyes but that is more speculative:

http://www.fujifilm.eu/fileadmin/products/Imaging_Colorants/Data_Sheets/Dyes_Sep._2011/Pro-Jet_Black_CBA.PDF

Whether Canon DreamLabo (7 inks I think) makes it in the marketplace is hard to say. The machine is expensive and the the minilab market not that healthy. The Epson model is far less expensive but one wonders how Fuji/Noritsu react on their heads supplier bringing competition. All use page wide inkjet heads and for that Memjet and HP may have a good alternatives with their page wide head technology.

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Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
July 2013, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 03:41:19 AM by Ernst Dinkla » Logged
Wayne Fox
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 05:51:35 PM »
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My Noritsu rep stopped in today to show me prints from their new QSS Green printer ... basically the next generation of their dye ink printer.  It cost a little more than Epson SureLab printer but can handle single sheets and thicker media when needed, also can print duplex (books, cards etc).  About 40k for the printer. He claims they do not use Epson ink or paper.  When asked about longevity, his claim was competitive or better than their wet processes (with no source).  I asked specifically how that compares to pigment ink, and he wasn't sure, but it seems pretty clear they are trying to be as good or better than chromogenic prints, normally considered to be in the 50 year range, (give or take a couple of decades.  Cheesy )  Still not up to the higher end pigment printers from Epson/Canon/HP. 

As I mentioned, for the intended market for this printer (which is huge) this is satisfactory and their goal is to replace wet printers.  Cost wise however they are still not there (about 60% more for materials than wet chemcal processes), and speed wise are not even close for high volume operations (at equivalent resolutions a chemical Noritsu produces over 400 8x10's/hr vs 86 for the Green printer). 

But they are competitive enough now for lower volume operations and are headed into walgreens/rite aid type of retailers, perhaps Costco (although rumor is Costco may be pulling their labs out because they can generate more revenue with the space with other retail. )  We considered one for our shop, but opted for the Chromira 30" printer because it can handle large prints as well as small.
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tektrader
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2013, 05:12:09 PM »
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We have already lost our Costco labs here in Australia.....  They pulled them out a few months ago
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Paul Roark
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2013, 04:16:30 PM »
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Sorry I missed this thread earlier. 

I'm using Noritsu dyes (which appear to be Claria but in large carts) in black and white inksets with very interesting results.  See http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/4000-Noritsu-5K-Plus.pdf for an explanation of the setup I used for an entire show this September, using a 17" roll of Red River Polar Pearl Metallic paper <http://www.redrivercatalog.com/browse/66lb-polar-pearl-metallic-inkjet-photo-paper.html> in an old Epson 4000 with a B&W dye inkset installed.  While the prints don't show very well in fluorescent light (greenish), in other light sources, including the LEDs, they are spectacular -- really a unique medium for high impact, un-glazed display.  For protection and preserving the unique look, the prints are sprayed with Lascaux fixativ (Print Shield interferes with the unique surface).   I've also used the B&W dyes for cards with success, although Red River sadly stopped making the card stock.

Anyone with an Epson 1400 can get a good idea of what the results look like.  While I made a dedicated B&W inkset for the 1400 <http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/1400-Claria-Noritsu-2K2LK.pdf>, I also made a QuadToneRip profile that does a very good job with the OEM inkset as is.  See http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/1400-Claria-BW.pdf .

As to longevity, part of the attraction of the dyes to me is that they are not in the same class as carbon pigments.  That allows me to separate the markets, with a lower cost product for the walk-by wine tasters in my market (Los Olivos, CA), and a higher end carbon pigment print for the fine art types. 

Mark at http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com/ has done some fade testing of "black only" Claria dyes.  The one to take special note of is the black only print on Canson baryta that was sprayed with Print Shield.  It leaps up into the color UltraChrome class.   The dyes appear to react very strongly to protective sprays.  As also noted, the dyes are probably more susceptible to paper variations.  So, there are a lot of variables, but for cards and prints that are made to look the best and not necessarily last the longest (I call them "eye candy"), the dyes are a fascinating complement to our usual pigment processes.  They are now sharing wall space in my office with the carbon prints, and I must say, I've never seen any medium that shows off my B&W files as well as the dyes on metallic paper.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com
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