Evaluating Print Quality

  • Defining Print Quality - The biggest problem in defining and evaluating print quality is that manufacturers quantify the quality of print in different ways and even when they seem to be singing the same song, they may be doing it in different languages. So, how do you distinguish and compare print quality of various pieces of digital equipment?
    Here's how.
  • Addressability - While no single standard exists, there are several variables that help determine the print quality of a printer. List them.
  • Resolution - The most difficult area to quantitatively measure is print quality. Some manufacturers try to define this as a figure relating to dots per inch (dpi), but dpi is not a real measure of print quality. While dpi should not be ignored completely, it will not give a true indication of the printer' s ability to reproduce fine detail.
    Learn Other Resolution Issues.
  • Registration - All inkjet printers, no matter who makes them, will print better quality at lower speeds - none of them will print at top speed and top quality simultaneously. What is vital to achieving fast printing speeds with high quality is a machine that jets small drops (less than 30 pico litres) at a high frequency, combined with the ability to handle the data and ink to get the most out of the print head. Learn More.
This is a highly magnified view of 25 ink droplets (piled one on top of the other) from a test file demonstrating drop placement repeatability.  The image is clear proof of drop placement repeatability of just a few microns. This is a highly magnified view of 25 ink droplets (piled one on top of the other) from a test file demonstrating drop placement repeatability. The image is clear proof of drop placement repeatability of just a few microns.

Demonstration Proof Points: Determining the print quality of the printers you are considering is extremely critical. It is best accomplished by printing the following during your demonstration session:

  • Print a standard test file at each print mode on each printer and document the print speed (as measured by you with your stop watch)
  • Print graphics with a variety of typical files you plan to produce on the printer. This should include graphics that incorporate the following:
    • A range of colors you will need to provide to your key customers
    • Large areas of heavy ink lay-down (dark colors)
    • Facial tones and tonal gradient
    • Text and/or bar codes
  • Fully document the print time and specific modes used to produce each graphic and any thing that was done to reach the quality level you require (examples would be increasing ink saturation or use of smoothing modes)
  • Other Important To Do's

 


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