You've made the decision to purchase a large format printer, taking into account the top four considerations discussed in Part 1 (www.oceusa.com/NB1) of this news brief series. Now it is time to go one level deeper to help ensure you have selected the best quality large format printer that your work deserves.
Océ, a Canon Group company and an international leader in digital document management, highlights below the final five considerations for making a truly informed purchasing decision.
Ease of Use
There is more to ease of use than the user interface of a large format printer – screens, previews and wizards do not tell the full story. Instead, base your investigation on how you need the printer to work for you, taking into consideration:
Type of Print Jobs: If the bulk of your print jobs are standardized, look for automation possibilities using templates. If your print jobs are specialized, look for possibilities to maintain full control and adjust or set parameters.
Number of Users: For multiple users, templates and a self-explanatory user interface is critical. Specialized users that are used to a high degree of automation need full control to run complex jobs.
Consumables Loading: Look for capabilities to exchange ink cartridges or refill toner during large runs, as well as the number of media rolls in the printer and if they can be exchanged on the fly.
Ergonomics: Check to ensure printer design eases the burden of replacing empty paper rolls, makes it easy to access prints and that the operator panel is at an appropriate angle.
Large format printers, especially those with a USB port, are an integral part of your IT infrastructure. More than just virus protection, infrastructure security includes protecting your company's intellectual property. Therefore, when selecting a large format printer, security issues should be taken into account:
Service Packs: Look for a system that is compatible, for example, with Microsoft® Service Packs. This offers updates for system reliability, program compatibility, virus protection and more.
Unauthorized Use: Ensure that unauthorized users can be locked out of the system. Usage logging can make it possible to track and trace misuse.
Overwrite Options: Often companies will want to be able to overwrite digital data from the hard disk using e-shredding or even remove the hard disk when needed.
Safety applications: Network providers can assist with a variety of safety applications and features, such as integrity, authentication, and certification processes.
A large format printer is a long-term commitment, which is why it is critical to select a machine that can be easily adapted to a business' changing needs when they occur. Field upgradability and financing of field upgradability are two things to consider when looking at product options. For example, can hardware (e.g. scanner, folder or additional paper rolls) be added in the future; does the manufacturer offer firmware updates; is it possible to change your service contract if a shorter response time is needed.
When evaluating your floor space needs, the physical dimensions of the large format printer is just the first step. The operational floor space of the equipment is just as important as is balancing the cost of floor space versus efficiency cost. There are significant consequences to not having enough space, such as: damaged prints and originals and the cost of incomplete sets.
Keep in mind that even if the printer is touted as a single footprint multifunctional solution, you must take into consideration the additional floor space needed to fully operate the system. To make the best use of your space, evaluate the benefits of a single footprint solution versus a dual footprint solution.
The large format printer you select can have a direct impact on your company's sustainability performance, potentially leading to unnecessary waste and high energy consumption. When shopping for a large format printer, consider the following:
Waste: Disposal of ink cartridges and residual toner is important, but do not forget the waste that is generated by poor quality prints that cannot be used or trimming scraps when the wrong media is selected.
Recyclability: Remember, just as ink cartridges and residual toner, the printers themselves can be recycled. Consider if the printer manufacturer has a remanufacturing program in place, so that old printers can be refurbished, reused or remanufactured.
Energy Consumption: To get a complete picture of the amount of energy that a printer consumes, consider how the machine is used on a typical day. Estimate how long the printer will likely be in sleep mode, how often will it be used per day and what type of printing it is doing. Also, evaluate if the room in which the printer is placed will need to be cooled – the energy needed for air conditioning can increase your energy costs.
In combination with the four considerations presented in Part 1 of this series, you now have a more complete overview of the nine most important things to evaluate when shopping for a large format printer.