Monday, April 4, 2011
Considering buying a Colour laser printer?
SalesServiceGuy been a valued member of the P4P Hotel forums for quite a few years!
Hopefully this will wake up a lot buyers!
Cost Per Page - Toner only
Let’s assume we are going to calculate the price per page for a colour laser printer called ABC.
ABC claims that their laser printer offers 7,200 prints based on the printer industry average 5% page coverage of their coloured toner. If the cartridge costs $199.95, this manufacturer will claim that their cost per page for toner is $199.95/7,200 or 2.77¢ per page for a single colour. This number is multiplied by four (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black) and becomes 11.08¢ page cost for 20% toner coverage. On the Toshiba e-STUDIO colour copier, assume a list price of $139.95 for colour and $99.95 for black and white (price may vary). The same toner coverage based on the copier industry average of 6% is 3.7¢. For every page printed on the Toshiba, the customer saves almost 300% per page on toner alone!!
Did you know that many laser printer manufacturers base their page coverage on a page that is 8 x 10 inches in size and not 8.5 x 11? The reason for the smaller size is to allot for margins or non-printable areas on many laser printers. For most copier manufacturers selling colour laser devices, they base their coverage on an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper. Using the same example as above, ask the colour laser printer vendor if the toner coverage is based on an 8 x 10 inch area or 8.5 x 11 inch area. In our example, if the print area was only 8X10, the percentage coverage falls to 7200 prints at 4.27% on an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper. This increases the cost for toner on the laser printer to 12.97¢.
Cost Per Page - Consumables
Toner pricing is the only cost per page some laser printer vendors want to discuss because it makes their device sound very affordable. What usually are not discussed are the additional items associated with a colour laser printer which can add significantly to the cost per page.
Fuser cleaning roller Fuser kit Transfer Rollers Imaging Unit
Oil bottle Waste toner kit Belt Cleaner Drum(s)
Transfer belt(s) Photo Conductor kit Supply Start Up kit Developer (each colour)
Some of these items are pricey (eg: a Supply start up kit of four required toners can cost $1,000.00 or more). Other Customer Replaceable Consumables (CRC’s) can add 10¢ or more onto the cost of a page coming out of a laser printer. These costs can actually double (or more) depending on what you are printing and what type of paper you are printing on to. The true costs can be difficult to calculate but the costs are real and add significantly to the cost per page. Unlike the service contract on a copier where your costs are very predictable, colour printers can vary greatly.
A significant cost concern when purchasing a colour printer with many experienced colour printers users is the industry approach to fixing an image quality problem. The typical solution will be to switch out the suspected consumable item with a new one, which the customer will have to pay for. This is a VERY EXPENSIVE WAY TO MAINTAIN QUALITY ON A COLOUR PRINTER.
Many printer manufacturers will claim that a user consumable item such as a fuser will have a life expectancy of 60,000 prints. The sales representative will base all of their cost per page calculations on this life expectancy. Rarely is the customer informed that, “If you print more than 5% toner coverage on the page, the fuser life is decreased. Other consumable items have their life expectancy shortened as well when more than 5% toner is printed on the page”. Additionally, if you print on other paper stocks or media like transparencies, the fuser life will be reduced. Thicker paper, larger paper (legal or 11 x 17) or even letter paper fed in landscape (sideways) can reduce the life of major consumables such as drums, developers and fusers. When a user reduces the life expectancy on a consumable they are significantly increasing the cost per page.
A frequently overlooked fact about laser printers is their speed. Many laser printers today claim to have 15, 20 even 35 pages per minute printing speeds. Printers typically must print the same page over and over again to achieve their maximum speed. This speed is only ever achieved when a user requests multiple prints of the same page. Today’s colour copiers are document printers and will offer you a completed set of your document printed at the maximum speed of the colour copier. It is clear to see which one of these technologies would be more productive.
While it is common in the copier industry for customers to expect the vendor to deliver, unpack, install and integrate the copier/ printer into the existing LAN, the same is not true in the printer industry. Most printers are shipped in the box to your location. You must unpack and set up the printer yourself. If you do not want to integrate the printer into the LAN yourself, you must purchase an optional installation fee. (approx.. $150.00 -$350.00 for two PCs only). If you do not want to service the printer yourself you must purchase an optional on site next day service contract (approx.$600.00 -$800.00 or more per year). If you expect the same kind of four hour on site service that your copier vendor provides then you must purchase a Premium priced service package. (approx $700.00-$1,700.00 or more per year). This all adds up and should be included in your cost comparisons. These extended warranties or “Care Paks” are in addition to any Customer Replaceable Consumables (CRC’s) you must purchase.
Many of these issues should be clarified by anyone considering a colour laser printer.
Speed of printing heavier stocks How is printer repaired when consumable replacement fails
Duplexing speeds Finishing options (staple, hole punch, booklet making)
Heaviest stock to duplex - automatically or manually Maximum paper size
Ease of access to remove paper stoppages Maximum paper thickness
Maximum paper capacities Remote access and control of printer
Longest job that can be printed unattended Calibration and consistency technologies
Speed of RIP Time to print each page
Page printer or document printer Number of pages printable from driver
Job logs and charge back Network traffic created (spooling of jobs)
Dept. Codes/ Print Limitations
Total Cost of Ownership
In the final analysis before purchasing a laser printer, one needs to do a careful analysis of the true costs of printing a document. Many studies have shown that printing documents is the third largest expense in many companies, right behind Human Resources and rent. Many companies underestimate their actual printing costs by 50%. While the initial low acquisition cost of some colour laser printers may seem appealing, one soon learns that the running cost of a laser printer far exceeds it’s purchase price over the life of the printer’s useful service.
Note from Art: SSG, thanx for a great post! BTW you read more of what Derrick posts on the Print4Pay Hotel forums which is the only Global social site for Imaging Professionals (2,300 members) in the World!
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