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Wide Format Glossary

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Glossary Of Terms For Wide Format Ink Jet Printing


ARCHIVAL

The property of withstanding the effects of time. In the case of printed matter, archival refers to the ability of the images to retain their colour or blackness over long periods of time without fading.

BANDING

Banding is a printing defect characterized by light or dark lines in an image in the direction of the printing. The usual cause of banding is clogged or partially clogged nozzles in the print head. Run cleaning cycles until banding clears up.

CAPILLARY FEED

A method used in some inkjet systems to transfer ink from the primary reservoir to the print head. This feeding mechanism uses the natural attraction of the ink for the tubing to keep a constant ink flow. Other systems use a pump to achieve the same results.

COLOUR CONSISTENCY

The ability to print the same colours in a particular print job, from print to print and from printer to printer.

DOD

This stands for Drop-On-Demand and relates to an ink jet printer that prints only as it is needed or demanded by its system.

DPI

This term is an abbreviation for Dots Per Inch. It is a measure for the number of drops of ink an inkjet system can print in one linear inch. It is usually measured in both horizontal and vertical directions. (i.e. 300x300 dpi, 1200x1200 dpi)

DRAWDOWN

A test procedure comparison of an ink to a standard or OEM by "drawing down" the ink sample side by side with a standard sample on standard paper and comparing them visually. 

DRY TIME

The time it takes for a non-porous ink to withstand incidental contact or rubbing without smearing.

DYE

One of the colorants used in all types of ink.

GAMUT

The range of colours and density values reproducible on an output device, such as a printer or monitor.

HEXACHROME

The set of six process colours (cyan, magenta, yellow, orange, green and black) designed to widen significantly the colour combinations possible when compared to the combinations available with the standard four process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, black).

INTERNATIONAL COLOUR CONSORTIUM (ICC)

A Group of companies that have agreed on a common standard for colour profiles.

LIGHTFASTNESS

The durability of a print when exposed to light. When ink is lightfast, it has fade resistance. It is generally thought that pigments have improved fade resistance over dyes. Archival prints strive to be lightfast.

NOZZLE

The area in some inkjet systems that directs the flow of ink immediately before the opening or orifice of the print head. It acts as a channel for the ink to use as it leaves the reservoir.

ORIFICE

The opening of the ink jet print head where ink shoots onto the substrate. Print heads contain a multiple of these openings and are arranged to give a set area of coverage as the print head moves along the print cycle.

OPTICAL DENSITY

A measure of the blackness of a printed image.

PANTONE

A company that prints precise colour match material used by the ink industry as standards for research and manufacturing.

PHOTOQUALITY

This term is used in the printer industry to describe the photographic type quality being addressed by some printers. Manufacturers are trying to achieve this quality in a number of ways including smaller dots, improved dpi, and coated substrates.

PIEZO

A shortened term for Piezoelectric Ceramic Crystal. This material has the ability to expand and contract with the application of electric current. This ability allows a piezo to be the engine in a very small pump. Since it has no moving parts, the durability of the material is extremely good.

PIGMENT

A solid colorant used in various inks. Unlike dye, this material does not dissolve in the inks solvent but remains a particle. Because of this, it gives improved coverage over certain substrates and usually has improved fade resistance.

PLATEN

The flat surface within the printer over which the paper passes while it is being printed on.

PRINT DISTANCE (GAP)

The distance between the orifice of ink jet printer and the substrate itself.

PRINT DRIVER

Software that converts a print job in a generalized format into data suitable for a particular printer.

PRINT HEAD

A removable printer component that takes ink of one or more colours from the corresponding ink cartridge(s) and deposits it on the paper, through a cluster of nozzles.

RASTER IMAGE PROCESSOR (RIP)

Interprets the data from an image file into a form that a printer can understand. This translated information tells the printer how to lay down dots of ink to reproduce your image on the printed page. 

SOLVENT

The primary ingredient in an ink that is used to dissolve the dye

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  • Clive Harper