Which Printer? Right Technology, Right Choice

Whether you are responsible for a small home-based business, or a large company with many departments and workgroups, there are continuous choices to be made on the procurement of office equipment. Not least amongst these, is the selection of the appropriate printer technology for your business needs? Here in outline are the various technologies and their appropriate environment.

Personal Ink-Jets

Useful for one individual or a workgroup with a minimal colour printing needs, a low-cost personal ink-jet will be the best choice. Personal inkjet printers offer a low initial cost, plus the flexibility to print on a variety of media, such as promotional materials.

Business Ink-Jets

In a bigger business environment, or one where colour output is a major requirement, the workload is likely to be too great for a personal inkjet printer. Thus a unit designed specifically for business will fit the bill, offering a lower cost per page. Many business inkjets employ ink-saving technology and modular cartridges, which avoid the need to change the colour when you change the black and white cartridges, for example.

Laser Printers

Large companies demand more output of all kinds. Perhaps also the demand for colour output on standard-size paper may be addressed with a laser printer

Laser printers have invariably offered monochrome output in the past, but more and more colour-capable lasers are coming onto the market. For organisations with a heavy black-only output though, they still offer the lowest cost of monochrome printing, as opposed to ink-jets which offer a lower cost for colour output. Even so, the picture is changing, and there are some surprisingly low-cost colour lasers available.

Large or Wide Format Printers

Design work or over-size documents for displays require a special kind of printer – a large format printer capable of printing on very large paper (and sometimes other media too) sheets. Factors to consider here are quality of output, colour capability, speed, networking capability and additional functions such as scanning and copying.

Photo Printers

A photo printer is essentially a personal colour ink-jet with a higher capability for printing on special photo paper. Naturally useful in the home, such printers have their use in the business environment – for example when there is a need to include quality photos in presentation packs for marketing purposes, or for use in training materials.

Business Colour or Full Colour?

For businesses requiring mission-critical exact colour reproduction (such as in the preparation and delivery of colour magazine and booklets), then it is important to differentiate between machine which offer Black and Business Colour as opposed to the higher quality Full Colour specification.

Multifunction Printers or MFPs

The Multifunctional, All-in-One device combines print, copier, scanner and fax capability in a single machine. These systems are surprisingly compact and can be easily stored or transported to the site where they are needed. However, for reducing the overall footprint, a higher output on more traditional desktop printers might be a better solution.

Dense Matrix Printers

Dense matrix printers can lay out and collate more than 200 pages an hour, compared to a desktop printer’s 30 pages an hour. The reason for this is that the barcode scanning circuitry of these printers is designed to read labels from the same area of a chip. This means that the scanner is effectively “looking” the chip itself. Unfortunately, this means that some labels, being difficult to read, are not scanned by some systems. These are non-functional in terms of marketing, because the label will not be read.

ribbon printers

In terms of output, a ribbon printer has many options, but generally uses metallic-core ribbon cartridges, which are a metallic-core Pricelimetric Scanning Waveriter, having a diameter of 1.75mm. These use a process called TFT-S SIGMETRICS, which uses a phase change mechanism. The output area is a metal core, and the scanning area is made from a clear plastic film. The invention of this process allowed for a greater number of labels to be printed on the same piece of media, and since the early 1980s laser printers have been used with this technology.

High Speed Printers

Desktop laser printers generally print text and graphics at a download speed much higher than 5mbs, these are great for printing out barcodes, etc. These are great for use in any work place, business, etc. Most iPrinters print up 1200dpi, which is good for printing on a good quality T-Shirt.

Laser printers have been improving over the years and now produce an almost double of the amount of pages a traditional desktop printer can produce.

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