Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Digital A3 Envelope Press from Ricoh? I Think....

I've been around this business long enough to know a good thing when I see it.  My roots are in the Print4Pay market of the office equipment business.  My first introduction to the Print4Pay business was when I began selling the Minolta 450Z analog copier to print shops, advertising agencies, newspaper and basically any company that needed to reduce or enlarge a document by 1/10th of 1%. Gosh darn those where the good ole days right?

In the past few years dedicated "digital" envelope presses have emerged from the likes of Xante, Oki and a few other third party suppliers.  If you're not familiar with these devices I'll make it short and sweet, it's a tweaked OKI  Color LED (Laser Emitting Diode) print engine with A3 (up to 11x17 print) print capability.  These LED (technically not laser, but is laser quality or better, depends on who you ask) are then married with an envelope feeder attachment   and then an exit conveyor attachment.  The feeder feeds envelopes into the by-pass area of the paper feed system.  There you have it, a digital press that can produce 4 color envelopes with for consumables of about 2 cents each.

Price...., the systems are pricey, with  most models that will range from $16k-$22k per system.  You have to see a whole lotta envelopes to make up that kinda cash.  If the price was right for these systems, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that every print shop and CRD would have one.  The fact is the price is not right and not every print shop has one or can afford to have one. 

So...where am I going with seems that a high percentage of the envelopes that are printed on these devices are never any bigger than a #10 size envelope.  Sometimes you need to match corporate colors and sometimes you don't. You need speed, reliability, quality and a low cost of total ownership in order to make a decent profit. 

So, I hope you engineers at Ricoh are reading this.  Why can't you take your flagship 431DN Color Laser Printer and marry it with a small color fiery for color matching and an envelope feeder. Do some testing and bring the first Color A4 (non 11x17 size)  Digital Envelope Press to market?   What's the BIG deal? 

From my years of experience (I got too many of those), I'm figuring you can probably come up with a system for about $8-$9K with everything that I mentioned.  Another bonus for the end user would be the speed of the device and the low cost per page for consumables (lower than the oki).  If you wanted to get fancy you could have these work in tandem and get some really incredible speeds.  But most important is the price point.  With a price point of $9k the digital envelope press can serve two roles in the print shop, one as the digital envelope press and the other as an A4 comp or proofing system..

You're a company that puts toner on paper, you still need to capture clicks while you make the migration to MDS. The time is right, the market is ripe and take it from me the product would be a home run.

Well to say the least,  I approached some people at Ricoh about a year ago with this idea and well,,,, let's say that no one ever got back to me.....shame on them because someone else will probably read this and say, WTF, this is a really good niche market to attack.  Me, I'm thinking the time is right for Seine (Chinese Laser Printer) to make a move on this. 

I had fun with this I hope you enjoyed and I appreciate all comments!

-=Good Selling=-


Anonymous said...

You cannot feed #10 envelopes crossfeed through an A4 printer. If you feed it lengthwise you put 9.5 inches of wear on the drum/tranfer belt and fuser vs 4 inches feeding crossfeed. Also feeding lenghtwise the envelopes are more prone to wrinkling than when printing crossfeed.

Art Post said...

Thanx for the reply! True, however with the low cost per page of consumable on this device, it won't be a big deal because the cost per page is more than half the cost of the Xante Envelope Presses. Compare this solution which could come in under $8K to that of the Xante which is over $17k.

HP devices have been feeding envelopes lengthwise for years with no ill effects. I expect nothing less from this printer.