A single-footprint system with color scanning at an affordable price has been the biggest technological advancement, said Denisse A. Ypina, sales associate, Seiko Instruments USA, Inc., Infotech Division, Escondido, CA.
“Over the years, the demand for color input and output of documents has pushed the price down on new engineering copiers, which has shrunken the gap between black-and-white systems with color scanning and color inkjet systems,” she said. “Seiko I Infotech has responded to this demand with several new technologies.”
The current family of Teriostar printers includes integrated Parallel-Processing technology, which allows one file to be processed while another one is printed.
“This means double the productivity of old LED single-processing printers, allowing businesses to accomplish more in less time,” said Ypina. “Also, because many times the contractors only receive digital files, it is now increasingly necessary for them to print from their offices. These all-in-one devices make local printing quite convenient.”
Most devices now contain color scanners, which are important to capture field markups and to be able to easily send these marked-up documents digitally (usually in PDF form) to other project team members. However, according to Fitt, this trend has actually hurt reprographic business’ profitability because the large bid sets that used to get paid for by the general contractor and shipped out to the subs no longer exist.
“The subs receive the digital files and can print them in their offices or go to the reprographer of their choice,” said Fitt. “This has forced many reprographers to pursue this decentralized print volume and call on subs or resell printers into these accounts. Either way, it’s an increased sales cost to them to obtain smaller-sized jobs.”
On the other hand, Rich Gigl, vice president of marketing, KIP America, believed products such as the KIP Color 80 have greatly improved both the productivity and profitability for reprographic shops.
The KIP Color 80 prints five “D” size prints per minute regardless of media, quality setting, or coverage, meaning it offers “while-you-wait” printing and color copying.
“In the past, many repro shops turned down large volume color (or mixed mono/color) work because it was too costly, too time consuming or it turned off the customer because they had to return one to two days later to pick up the job,” explained Gigl. “Now, print-for-pay organizations can complete the job while the customer waits.”
Recently, a prospective customer came to KIP with a big problem. The customer came in on a Wednesday at 3 pm with a task that they said was impossible for them, even though they were running five high-speed solid inkjet printers. They had 49 originals (six black and white, 43 color) and needed five sets of 36”x48” and two sets of 24x18-inches by noon on Thursday.
“They estimated it would take them 30 to 40 hours of printing on one printer or 20 hours if they used all five printers—mainly because their printers weren’t capable of both collating and stacking this many prints,” explained Gigl. “They e-mailed a link to the job to our office and after a couple test prints, we began the printing…98 minutes later we were done!” The average cost of toner, according to Gigl, was $0.025 per square foot.
Gigl said you can’t beat the savings (be it time or money) offered by these new devices. An average heavy coverage poster (around 105 percent coverage) costs less than $0.18 per square foot (including toner, service, heavy weight media at MSRP), about 10 to 20 times less than inkjet, according to Gigl. “Even if the costs were as high as inkjet or solid ink technology, the production value alone justifies the investment,” he stated. “Imagine the new customers (schools, theater organizations, retail establishments) that can now afford large-format color printing.”
The Xerox Wide Format 6622 Solution is another new product making a difference. The black-and-white digital printer with on-board color scanner prints 22 D/AI (24x36-inch) prints per minute and offers 600x1800 dpi printing and 600x600 dpi scanning options.