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Ink Isn't Just Ink . . .

May 1999
There's more to this critical printing ingredient than what comes in the can—tons of trust, good communication, lots of technical support, a competitive price and, of course, quality.


Ink isn't just ink. One size doesn't fit all. Otherwise, there wouldn't be thousands of formulations—each with its own set of requirements, which may vary depending on the type of press, printing process, product and substrate used, as well as the product's end use and the environment in which it will be used.

With so many applications and different ink formulations, how does a printer know which ink to buy? Which is the right ink for his presses, his processes, his products? What about service and support after the purchase?

While most printers have the same goals in mind—quality, price, availability, service, technical support—those goals may be in a different order of priority, to meet a printer's individual needs.

For example, a printer who produces direct mail (a high-volume, disposable product) would probably be less concerned with quality than a printer who produces high-end, color-critical promotional materials. Two different printers, two different market niches—two different requirements for the ink. The direct mail printer's top priority may be service and technical support to obtain maximum ink mileage, while the promotional printer must be concerned with quality above all.

Crown: Absolute Quality
A true-life example of the latter is Crown Printing—a four- and six-color commercial sheetfed operation that generates $3.5 million in annual revenues.

"At Crown, we stake our reputation on the quality of our work. Our success is driven on the methodology that we're only as good as our last job," says Steve Kadolph, Crown's pressroom foreman, who doubles as the firm's purchasing authority. Kadolph has been purchasing Signature Series process inks exclusively from Van Son Holland Ink for the past 18 months.

A 24-year veteran with Crown, Kadolph says he's grateful to work for a company whose management "understands the value in their employees' expertise." And when it comes to working with ink, who has more experience than the guy running the presses day after day?

"Some purchasing agents make their decisions based on price. They look at price as the biggest issue, yet they fail to realize that a few dollars spent on quality repays itself over and over again," adds Kadolph, who emphasizes that getting the lowest price might mean the printer pays more in the long run.



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