One of the things we set out to do with our business was to bring production quality sublimation to the craft and small business market. We have achieved that with our dpiSub Premium Sublimation Ink for Epson Eco-Tank printers because the ink matters. Historically, many people have purchased sublimation ink from Amazon and other places that has been quite problematic, causing clogs, inconsistent colors, and even heavy magenta tints to the prints when pressed. Most of these inks are made in China and not only do they often contain contaminates, they are not designed for any particular printer. They simply put any available sublimation ink into a bottle designed to make it easy to put the ink in an Eco-Tank printer.
Country of Origin
What’s more disturbing when it comes to quality control, or lack thereof with products like this from foreign sources, is you may not even get the same ink each time under the same brand. The same inks may also be used across different brands as Amazon sellers from China often use different accounts and brands to sell the same products. Though I have not been to China, I have quite a bit of experience dealing with products and manufacturing in China as well as having worked with many people who have much more experience than I do. The consensus is that whenever corners can be cut to save costs, they do it and sacrifice quality.
Very few sublimation inks are made in the United States and my sources tell me that some that claim “Made in the U.S.A.” are skirting rules on the country of origin and able to make that claim based on the work they do once the product is received to get it to a sellable form. Another company was asked where their ink was made and they responded that they “are a U.S. company” and they avoided answering the question, but on their website they show pictures of their receiving area which clearly shows boxes shipped from China. Our dpiSub Premium Sublimation Ink is 100% made in the United States by a U.S. laboratory with extremely high levels of quality control, research and development, clean rooms, and more. They review millions of points of data from testing every lot of ink produced to ensure quality control.
The Technology and Physics
Epson Eco-Tank printers have piezo (pi-eezo or pee-ay-zo) print heads have thousands of nozzles that run at a specific frequency and for best performance the ink must be specially formulated. The heads run at a specific frequency which means each of thousands of nozzle openings sprays a droplet of ink thousands of times every second. To accomplish this consistently, ink qualities and viscosity must be correct for the frequency and waveform. Viscosity is a liquid’s ability to remain consistently fluid across temperature and environmental conditions. Our dpiSub Premium Sublimation Ink is designed specifically for Epson consumer-grade Eco-Tank printers to meet these requirements when ink matters.
In the video below I use a straw and water in slow motion to simulate what actually happens at a much faster speed at a microscopic scale. Notice after the water drips how the water retracts into sort of a dome around the straw’s opening from the vacuum I’m creating by closing off the other end of the straw. Imagine that instead of water, I’m trying to create a droplet of a thicker fluid like oil-based paint. In this scenario if the viscosity isn’t correct, instead of expelling a perfectly round droplet of fluid, it is a “blob” coming out because the liquid tends to gather around the edges of the opening until enough comes out the weight pulls it off the opening. This type of inconsistency can cause print quality degradation but can also cause excess ink buildup around the nozzles and require more cleanings and maintenance.
The video below is a nice animated video from Epson outlining the evolution of their industrial print head technology and how they work for reference.