All printers will vary in colour and output between individual devices, even when they are identical printers, inks and substrates.
In cielab’s testing across identical Roland printers we have been surprised at just how substantial the colour difference is. Our testing was comprehensive and included 4x SJ740 printers and 2x SJ-745 printers, all with identical inks and print media, but with printheads of varying ages. We found that in most cases spectral calibration with external equipment did bring this into line, but it does show that generic ICC profile and media settings provided by vendors (not generated in your office with your printer and then calibrated into the other printers) will only get you so far. This is better than nothing however it’s unlikely that you will see consistent results unless you calibrate each individual printer onsite with high quality external measurement spectral equipment.
We have continued testing these mentioned printers for calibration and have noted a substantial colour shift in these printers as the printheads age.
In only 4 weeks from the previous calibration at a very high volume production site on a SJ740, the colour had shifted so much that it was no longer producing accurate Pantone colours (this customer exclusively produces digital spot colours).
Re-calibration did bring this again into line, but please be aware that if you are a high volume production site with one of these printers you need to calibrate potentially very regularly
Its also important to point out that some ink or substrate are not consistent
I find that some vendors can not produce ink or the substrate 100% accurately. As each batch is created we shift the hue slightly.
Another little issue is the age of ink and the substrate. Storage and transportation are other problems.
An example is dye sublimation the ink is subject to heat but also cold, this will effect the output.
It all comes back to our point of calibrating the device regularly.