Big Business Printers

Office PrintersFor busy offices, it is essential to have a reliable printer that can keep up with the fast pace, handle the daily volumes and still fit within the confines of a tight office budget.  There are a number of manufacturers that are putting quality products on the market, but what should you be looking for if it is your job to find the best? Below is a list of some of the key elements that enterprise machines should include, as well as the reason each feature is important to the success of your office:


Feature Relevance
Size Some business printers are compact enough to fit on a small desk or table, while others will require an entire wall of space.  Of course, a company that prints mostly invoices will not require the same size printer as an advertising company.  Be aware of your needs as well as the available space in the office.
Speed/First Page Out The first page out rate is a measure of the length of time it takes a task to start printing once it is sent.  Obviously speed is important in a busy office as wait-around time is limited.  There are machines out there that can print a page in one second or less.  Speed is measured by pages per minute (ppm).
Duty Cycle This basically measures the stamina of a device.  The duty cycle represents how many pages can be printed each month without burning out the machine.  This number can range from 10,000 to 300,000.  There is no need to shoot too high, but you certainly don’t want to shoot low or you may be on the hunt for a new printer in less than a year.  Keep in mind, manufacturers will provide a “recommended” duty cycle as well, which will be significantly less than the maximum duty cycle.  For optimum life, stay within the recommended range the majority of the time.
Functions Multiple functions are all but standard at this point.  Having separate machines for various office tasks is time and space consuming.  Most big business printers are a one-stop-shop for printing, copying, scanning and faxing.
Management Tools Management tools include security features, status updates, toner level tracking and internal cleaning cycles.  Having a strong set of management tools will make setting up a network and monitoring usage simple.  It will also keep you up to date on maintenance requirements and production rates.
Finishing Options These are not a necessity, but depending on your line of work, they could be beneficial.  Finishing options include stacking and sorting of documents, hole-punching, folding, stapling and even saddle-stitching for booklets.  If any of these are up your alley, imagine the manpower and time that would be conserved by getting a device with built-in finishing features.
Duplex Automatic duplexing is a strong selling point for many large office printers.  This entails being able to print simultaneously on both sides of a piece of paper in one pass.  This feature can reduce paper costs and save time, and many of these machines offer duplex scan and copy features as well.
Built-in modes This could be a number of things, but focus on modes like “Toner Save” that slightly reduce the amount of toner used per print, which will speed up production and extend the life of toner cartridges.  Another helpful mode that does not come with every big business printer is the idle mode, which will automatically shut off the device when idle for an allotted amount of time.  This will save energy.
Memory Ample memory can make or a break a big office printer, especially one that is shared by numerous people in a network.  If 15 people are sending print jobs simultaneously, the memory needs to be big enough to hold the 14 that are in line to print in a queue.  Insufficient memory will lead to slow production rates, errors and possibly lost tasks.
Paper Capacity This is another important feature for printing at heavy volumes.  When thousands of documents are being printed a day, a machine that holds 250 sheets will be insufficient.  Many enterprise printers can hold thousands of sheets of paper, so reloading will only be necessary once or maybe twice a day.
LCD/Control Panel Being able to navigate through the printer menu, various functions and features like duplex printing, it is crucial for a machine to offer a big LCD screen and simple control panel.  Many management tools are accessed through the printer’s menu (others can be accessed on connected computers).  The control panel is also used to run diagnostics testing, troubleshoot errors and bounce back and forth between functions.
Cartridge Yield For affordability, this might be one of the most important aspects.  A machine that uses cartridges (color or just black) that can yield 25,000 to 40,000 pages, such as Kyocera Mita FS-9120DN toner, will require much less maintenance and minimize the overall cost per page.  If you are printing 3,000 documents a day and you have a cartridge that yields 7,000 pages, like the Xerox 106R01085 toner, you will need at least two replacements per week.
Expandability Just because your printer can sufficiently handle your needs today does not mean it will be able to next year.  Hopefully, business is increasing, and it can be truly beneficial to have a device that can expand with it.  Many big business machines offer upgrades for memory and paper capacity, as well as finishing options or a larger internal hard drive.

Using this list of important features for big business printers, decide which are the most relevant to the line of work you are in and try to find a machine that offers a balance of those elements.  It may be impossible to find a machine that is perfect in every way, but there are enough options on the market that you should be able to find one that will perform at a high level and increase the overall productivity in your office.

Greg Gladman
Greg Gladman has two degrees from the University of Cincinnati and prides himself on managing the operations and customer service at Ink Technologies. With a mind like a vault, he is full of useful and useless information, making him an asset to the company and to his Tuesday night trivia team. When he is not working, he spends his time bowling and playing golf. Greg dedicates much of his free time to raising money and awareness in support of the fight against blood cancers.

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