Advice on long-term strategy for business currently using Canon Pixma Pro 100s

Roberto Smith

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Hello all,

I currently run a small business in my spare time making custom Lego stickers and have x2 Canon Pixma Pro 100s printers. Because Lego bricks are specific colours I have had a company create custom ICC profiles that for my combination of (refill) inks, vinyl sticker material and printer, the colours I print exactly match the colour I need for the Lego bricks. The feature is pretty much vital to my business as my customers expect the colours to match.

I currently have two 100s printers that are working fine, plus x2 spare print heads (intending to buy some more soon just in case!). I also understand that the Pro 200s also uses the same printhead as the 100s so *in theory* the printheads should be around for a while yet. But at *some* point the printers I have will break and there won't be any workable ones left to buy, or the printheads won't be available, or some other reason why I can't use these printers any more.

I want to get ahead of the game before that happens and ask people's advice as to what I should do. The main issue for me is the quality of the print (excellent with the Pro100s) and the specific colours. I have literally thousands of files of artwork so I can't realistically go through them all and change the digital artwork to match a new printer with a different print profile, what I need to be able to do is when I HAVE to get a new printer, to be able to adapt it so it prints the exact same colour profile that my current 100s setup does.

I need advice on the best way to do this and is it even possible? Since I had custom ICC profiles created already for my current set-up, I would assume there is the expertise out there that could create a profile that would replicate the current colour output with my current setup.

Any new printed would need to have good refill inks available. Currently I'm using a set I get from OctoInkjet in the UK (comparable to the Precision Colors ones from the US. I don't know if a good refill set is even available for the Pro 200 yet or if one will become available anytime soon).

Also would it be worth just stocking up on the current 100s printheads just in case? I do not know how long they last for if unopened up I would expect realistically many years? Price is an issue at the moment - the only reliable supplier I can find in the UK that sells genuine Canon ones is charging £180 per printhead now!). Given they are also used for the 200s I would think they will keep producing them but it won't be forever (anyone got a lead on when production is likely to stop?)

Anyway, my main concern in about how I would maintain the quality of printing I get from the 100s and how I would replicate the existing colour profile / output without having to redraw all the artwork. :)
 
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Artur5

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According to forum member Websnail (owner of Octoinkjet) it seems that Canon Europe decided some time ago to stop supplying printheads for the Pro series (and maybe other models too). Even dealers have trouble getting right now spares from Canon. Obviously they intend to repair the machines themselves instead of give the profits to independent repair centers.

Possibly the situation is better in North America because Canon USA and Canon Europe have totally different policies and market strategies. Recently I read about users in the USA purchasing printheads directly from Canon with no trouble at all.

Instead, in continental Europe printheads for the Pro series printers have been out of stock for months at reliable suppliers. Therefore, I suspect that this UK vendor gets them somewhere in the USA, which would explain their over the top pricing because of added costs of shipping and/or import taxes.
 

Roberto Smith

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Yeh I expect they import them, hence the recent price hike. About a year ago I was able to get them for about £100 each and now they are more like £180.

Do you know if the Pro 200 uses the same printhead? If so then I would have thought the printheads would be officially available in Europe / UK as the Pro 200 is still a *fairly* new printer!
 

Roberto Smith

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Just been told by someone who creates custom ICC profiles that it's impossible to create one that will match (or even attempt to match) the output of one printer with another. Kinda seems strange you can't do this with an ICC profile though. Maybe I'm misunderstanding how they work but I thought that the big colour grid you print out when making an ICC profile was a set of pre-agreed colours (by the ICC members) and that ideally, for each colour grid, you try to get the printer to match the AGREED printer colour (as close as a specific printer can get anyway).

Is this not how it works? I kinda assumed the ICC grid was basically like a Pantone swatch where each colour is a known quantity (in terms of spectroscopy...) and that the ICC profile tries to replicate the agreed upon colour.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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Just been told by someone who creates custom ICC profiles that it's impossible to create one that will match (or even attempt to match) the output of one printer with another.
That's some unqualified hearsay, Epson and Canon or HP are supplying plenty of profiles with their printers, and all are supposed to produce the same color output with these profiles, and that's thausends and millions of printers. But you need to assume as well that there is some variation between these printers. You may accept that or do more stringent color management control, one approach could be that you run linearization files per printer if you have several in a pool at the same time. This allows you to get equal output from all printers - with the same profile. And you can do more steps for the quality control of prints - proofing - you could get a printer with a built-in spectrometer which let you easily print and verify proof patterns to measure color accuracy, and there is more you can do for the quality control/color consistency or your prints.

Just google for 'print proofing', there are plenty of methods, programs, workflows etc posted and advertised. It's all about quality control methods that the printed colors are printed correctly - today and next year.



Just a word about icc-profiles - they don't necessarily guarantee color fidelity - the rendering intent can modify colors to the rules of this rendering intent. A profile is made for a particular paper/ink/printer/driver setting combination; there is no reason at all to change anything to your graphics/images.

You indicate that you are doing refill on your Pro-100, I just need to mention that 3rd party refill inks tend to have a weaker performance of longevity than OEM Canon inks, this can already become visible after a few months. I would recommend you to use the inks of the G550 instead - the GI53 inks which are real Chromalife inks. You may either use the original inks/cartridges for those inks which are not available as GI53 inks, or use a dilutant for the light inks. I remember some postings about this in the forum.
 
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