Each time we sell and install a large format plotter, we make sure the end user gets a supply re-order form to make supply orders quick and easy. Depending on the size of the large format plotter, the price of inks can range from around $70 per ink tank to more than $250 per ink tank. If you have a plotter that uses 6, 8 or 12 ink colors, your supply order can become costly quickly. As a result, some customers have looked for cheaper replacement ink tanks. While this may be a good idea initially because it saves you money upfront, it could end up costing you much more in the long run.
We did some research and verified that name brand inks such as Canon and HP are specifically formulated for optimum large format plotter printing. The inks are designed to work with the plotter's specific print heads, inks tubes and holding tanks. You're guaranteed that they are the right formulation as well: pigment-based inks are different from dye-based inks and those types can't be interchanged.
So why are we talking about this? We have had instances of customers who do high volume large format printing using non-name brand inks in their plotters. The plotter worked OK in the beginning but then they started to have issues and the plotter became inoperable. A technician had to go out to their location, drain all of the ink from plotter, flush the ink lines, replace the maintenance cartridge and install a new set of name brand inks. By trying to save money on the front end, these customers ended paying more.
In the end, it does matter if you use name brand inks in your plotter.