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   Partners - Review of Epson R1900 Ink System

Aug 7th, 2008

Martin Weigel
Newnan, GA 30265
MDT Mueller Design, Inc.

This system is nothing short of amazing. I am a 100% satisfied customer and anyone who would not buy this is just plain nuts. I print in high volume , going through several 1000 13x19" sheets a year and I have tried quite a few things in the past. I was recently plagued with deciding on a new printer and 2 things are relevant for deciding on new hardware: 1) performance of the printer and 2) associated cost of ink.

The Epson R1900 is an excellent machine and reviews can be found all over the Internet. It is comparatively new but the technology is essentially based on the R800/1800, so it's been around a while. However, you will still be hard pressed to find a reliable and worthwhile source for a CIS system (Continuous Ink System).

I am a first time InkRepublic customer and my purchase decision for the R1900 was in large part based on independent reviews in various forums about InkRepublic as a source for an R1900 CIS system.

ALL professional grade large format printers are ink guzzlers and the trouble is getting around the original cartridges with which you will print yourself into the poorhouse. Another concern are the continuous cleaning cycles all modern printers routinely undergo as you replace cartridges...if you only print enough the internal "waste ink tank", essentially typically a felt in the bottom of the printer's casing, will get saturated fairly fast. It is a huge undertaking and very messy to access this and clean up.

All of this is solved with IR's system. The inks are excellent and fairly true to original specifications. For general use none will ever know the difference to Epson inks, if you need to, you can play with PS or whatever you use and adjust color management accordingly. This is a separate issue but in essence, excellent and true prints are no problem. The system itself can be installed easily, it's a bit of work but the instructions they are sending are comprehensive and conclusive. Basically, by using their dampers (ink reservoir hooked up to the outside tanks and placed inside the print head slots as cartridge replacement) in lieu with a chipset that emulates the original cartridges chip you will never need to change cartridges again. This is a huge advantage as it is typically time consuming and the newer generation software doesn't allow anymore overriding and "empty cartridge" signal from the printer. That means you need to throw away a cartridge that is signaled empty by the printer but in essence still holds at least another 10% of its typical content. The software still indicates an empty condition as it measures the amount of ink used by the nozzles and "calculates" a theoretical value for the cartridges status. After installing IR's system, you simply hit a reset button that is attached to the new chipset (installed along the dampers in the print head's slots that take the cartridges/dampers) and that's it. A huge time saving.

Another huge advantage is the removal of waste ink during the ever present automatic cleaning cycle as you reset the cartridge after the empty display of the software. The ink gets sucked out and is stored outside in a waste tank they also deliver, it looks just like the ink bottles they supply.

The one time purchase for the set + ink is a joke compared to instant savings from heavy printing. Long term the cost of ink is relevant. You can get inks anywhere but I have found that IR's inks are performing excellent which is very important for long-term colorfastness of the print.

In my experience, printing multicolored 13x19" prints with heavy graphics, one can expect at the least app. 200 prints before replacement ink is needed. Your mileage may vary as this all depends on the involved graphics and choice of paper etc. I am using Premium Photo Luster Paper.

Now, when I say "ink out", I actually mean that the Yellow, Orange, and Cyan inks as well as the Gloss Optimizer need replacement. The other 4 ink tanks will last app. Another 200 prints. These numbers are approximate as I am writing this review only after app. 200 prints.

At the replacement cost for inks ordered from IR, we are talking a per page 13x19" cost of app. 50-55 cents. Now, you try to beat that.

Long story short, here is the summary:

  • System is easy to install and works maintenance free

  • No more changing cartridges and the easy reset procedure after a software indicated "ink out" condition for any given cartridge makes for huge convenience and time saving over using standard cartridges

  • Inks are performing excellent

  • No waste ink issues

  • Easy ink replacement by simply getting new 100ml bottles from IR

  • Cost app. 50-55 cents with heavy graphics and 13x19" Premium Photo Luster paper, in all likelihood even less. Again, I have only made app. 200 prints so far.

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