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What medium-duty digital press to buy? (Small print shop)

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  • What medium-duty digital press to buy? (Small print shop)

    So our little print shop just got a grant so that we can upgrade our digital press scenario. Wahoo! We're looking to get an upgrade to our primary MFP, a Xerox DocuColor 242 (with high capacity tray and professional finisher), which is over 13 years old and driving us mad. This primary printer would become our secondary.

    We're a very small staff and frankly, are struggling to make ends meet. We own our printers and have no service contract on them. Both the DC242 and our Canon IR7086 are "unserviceable" by our local tech shop, which isn't really local or fast to respond. We may get a tech here in 2-3 days and that's a lot of downtime. I've been servicing the machines myself with (mostly) success. This is important to note as I'll probably continue to self-service whatever new machine we purchase.

    So what are we printing?
    • 95% full-color, color and image quality is very important, lots of color depth needed.
    • Color calibration every couple weeks, so should be easy-ish.
    • Size-wise: small A7 cards up to 12"x 18". (max size should be 13 x 19)
    • Weight-wise: Hammermill 24# is our house stock and we print probably 25% on it. 80# text up to 110# cardstock. In gloss, matte, uncoated and C/1S... very wide variety.
    • Duplex, duplex, duplex. Would love to have auto-alignment/registration.
    • Bookleting is popular, Perfect bind, C and Z folding would be amazing.
    • Stapling and hole punching less important.
    • We print from Adobe Acrobat Pro almost exclusively. Not sure if an external RIP is necessary.
    • Mac and Windows friendly would be a bonus.
    • Would love to do envelopes with a separate fuser.
    • Looking at 20k - 40k impressions per month months.
    • Needs to be less than $7000
    I'm currently eye-balling a Xerox 700i with a full set of peripherals. Also a Xerox 700 with a full set of peripherals. Although we're not necessarily married to Xerox.

    What is a good impression count for these machines? What other makes/models should I be considering? What other questions should I be asking?

  • #2
    Just a heads up, I never could get good alignment out of the 700 or 700i duplexing on anything thicker than 70# text, and that took some work. That was one of the reasons we upgraded to the Ricoh 7110's.

    Can you not lease the machine? Seems to me a lease with per click charges for service and materials would be the way to go for that list of wants you got there.
    (2) Ricoh Pro 7110SX digital printers
    OKI C931e with Straight Shooter Envelope feeder

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    • #3
      I would say look at a Versant 80 but that will be way out of your price range, though it would check most boxes. Consistent colour, good colour, ability to print envelopes, automatic alignment settings with the FWA or using the other software tools Xerox has for machines without it.

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      • #4
        Well if you don’t mind me giving my opinion on a few things then keep on reading.

        To to answer your question about the printer, 1 or 2 things is going to have to give in your original post. Either your going to need to sacrifice requirements, namely color and registration, or your going to have to look at opening that checkbook a little more.

        Secondly, I think you need to address why you say you are struggling. Is it:

        Your equipment is keeping you from landing jobs? If so you might look at actually gettting the equipment you need, which will likely require a lease.

        Is is there another shop taking business from you?

        Is your overhead too high?

        See where im going with this? Just because you upgrade your equipment does not mean your not going to still struggle. The 700 and 700i likely aren’t going to be in much better shape than your current printers, or will be there shortly. I’d make this decision a very calculated one.

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        • #5
          Shawnd That's good to know. Most of the duplex we run is either "manual duplex" for anything over 30# bond weight or hand-aligned on adobe software. Both are time consuming. I'll be sure to test duplexing on a 100# gloss cardstock and a 24# bond.

          We can't do a lease right now because the closest company that would lease is an hour away and they charge for travel time. Everytime they come out, even if it's for 15 minutes, it's a $400+ bill. HTere are other reasons why leasing is out of the question too but yeah, no leases.
          Last edited by Buttonpresser; 06-29-2018, 02:17 PM.

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          • #6
            wonderings You're right, the Versant 80 will be too expensive.

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            • #7
              AP90 I'm not going to get into the details about why we're struggling, that's for another thread, but I will say that we're gearing up for a large influx of business in early 2019 when we're certified as a Minority/Women Owned Business. THis machine will help us meet that demand.

              We've not been in business long enough to qualify for a loan or most leases. The money we're purchasing this machine with is grant money and we're very limited on how much of our grant we can spend on what.

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              • #8
                The main goal is satisfying your customers. If you can't do that you will always be struggling. You might want to give a thought to partnering with an established printer that can do the quality that your clients desire instead of spending money on equipment that isn't up to the job and throwing your grant money down the hole. Once you have the volume and quality expectations established then you might be able to lease or purchase the level of printer you truly need. Have you given any though what all finishing equipment you will need as well.

                The Versant 80 I mention in my PM sounds much like your situation. Even though they can achieve the quality they want they don't have the business to support it and now they are stuck with it. And part of that problem is the time it takes them to run the printer and the finishing equipment could be better spent hitting the road and acquiring more work.

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                • #9
                  i spent most of my time with the 700 wanting to shoot it, burn it and dump it into a shallow grave. registration was terrible, it jammed constantly on coated stock as soon as the machine began to warm up and it leaked toner. the best thing (and worst for some folks) was the shine the oil-based toner gave. and that was about it.

                  we ended up with a versant 80 and it's been incredible. i can say that now, with the 180 out, xerox might have some used v80 machines around or some third party might. it would be worth a look.

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                  • #10
                    Really wish I could afford one of these Versant 80's but I'm locked into the budget I have ($7000).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Maybe look into a Canon Imagepress 7010. They will at least back up reliably and don't jam much. They're not going to give you the best image quality compared to newer printers, but they're still decent. There's no way you're getting all the bells and whistles at 7k, but a base machine with Fiery looks like they go for around 7k.
                      We have an old 6010 with 7.5million impressions that still runs pretty reliably.

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                      • #12
                        Take a look at a tabletop unit, I have the OKI 931e and it is a good printer, it does up to 12x18 360gsm, I use it for envelopes and the quality is good. The only thing I duplex on it is remit envelopes and it does a good job on those.

                        https://www.oki.com/us/printing/prod...pecifications/

                        That will be below your budget and allow you buy extra supplies like toner and drums and waste bins and an extra transfer belt unit. It all adds up quickly.
                        (2) Ricoh Pro 7110SX digital printers
                        OKI C931e with Straight Shooter Envelope feeder

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've worked with a 700 and 700i, and I wouldn't consider one for what all you need. I don't think they can run anything as small as an A2, and perfect binding is out of the question. Booklet making is limited to 25 sheets. If your cover is heavy stock on a booklet, it slows way down. It will do C and Z folds. The thought of trying to run envelopes on it, or any other machine necessitating opening the flaps, give me the willies. I'd suggest talking to as many companies as possible to see what's available. I doubt, though, you'll find one machine that can "do it all," so you may need to farm out some binder work to another shop.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Buttonpresser View Post
                            AP90 I'm not going to get into the details about why we're struggling, that's for another thread, but I will say that we're gearing up for a large influx of business in early 2019 when we're certified as a Minority/Women Owned Business. THis machine will help us meet that demand.

                            We've not been in business long enough to qualify for a loan or most leases. The money we're purchasing this machine with is grant money and we're very limited on how much of our grant we can spend on what.
                            I would still stick with my original post that there are many other things you should look at before sinking 7k into a machine that will not do what you are needing. It’s like trying to compete in a NASCAR race with a mustang you bought on Craigslist.

                            Is getting this certification really going to help you achieve all this new business? We are minority/woman owned and have never even thought about getting certified. The only time I’ve even seen it relevant is on government contracts and those jobs are usually fulfilled by large trade shops that you can’t compete with and don’t even have the equipment for. So once again, I reiterate, you need to understand why your struggling first, because I feel like thinking your going to get this huge demand because your minority owned isn’t realistic.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AP90 View Post

                              I would still stick with my original post that there are many other things you should look at before sinking 7k into a machine that will not do what you are needing. It’s like trying to compete in a NASCAR race with a mustang you bought on Craigslist.

                              Is getting this certification really going to help you achieve all this new business? We are minority/woman owned and have never even thought about getting certified. The only time I’ve even seen it relevant is on government contracts and those jobs are usually fulfilled by large trade shops that you can’t compete with and don’t even have the equipment for. So once again, I reiterate, you need to understand why your struggling first, because I feel like thinking your going to get this huge demand because your minority owned isn’t realistic.
                              I echo this post. While not majority owned, we are "women-owned" or at least we can make it appear that way on paper. We have had some BIG jobs from those diversity-seekers ($500K+), they haven't been anything I've run digitally.

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