OKI C941e/C942dn for light production ?

Maniac

Member
I'm thinking about purchasing one of these OKIs to get into light production. Low volume flyers, postcards, business cards, letterhead, etc. Maybe 2,500-10,000 pc runs. Anything larger I would outsource locally in Toronto.
  • The ability to run laser envelopes is nice to have, but not a necessity since I already have a Neopost Mach5/AstrojetM1 for inkjetting envelopes.
  • The extra white or clear colour is interesting to have (but not a necessity either as I don't know how often it would sell).
  • I'm more interested in it's ability to handle heavier stocks (360gsm I believe).
  • I'm also interested because of it's relatively small footprint size. I don't have much space for the longer digital presses.
If you have one of these machines, are they OK for general light production? Decent quality? Are they cost competitive enough that I can still compete with the other 5,000 print shops in the city?

I can also look at other light duty machines from mainstreams like Ricoh/Canon/Xerox but I'm not sure that any of the cheaper machines really handle up to 360gsm well, and I would need to find one with a small footprint.

I see a lot of people compare these OKI to XANTE and there seems to be a lot of mixed reviews on the Xante so I thought I would stay away. I also generally see these discussions are all talking about envelope printing, but I don't tend to see people talking about using them for general light production work (not envelopes).

Just looking for experience / insight.
Thanks
 

easiprint

Well-known member
Oki and Xante as far as I know are the same machine. I used to run an OKI for light production work, and yes, it does the job, but costs are the thing to keep an eye on. Thankfully I had my OKI on a service contract so only paid per click, but this is quite rare with OKI machines. If you are thinking of running one and buying toner and drums yourself, bear in mind the print quality will be suffering by the time the drums are at half life and toner yields are also not great. Overall, they are good machines for occasional use, but the price of consumables can make them expensive to run. I managed to return mine halfway through the agreement because the dealer was not happy with the amount of drums I was going through. Said he was loosing money on me because drums and toner were only doing half what they should. I showed him the heavy coverage work I was doing and the quality I needed, and he agreed to take it back!
 

Maniac

Member
Thankfully I had my OKI on a service contract so only paid per click, but this is quite rare with OKI machines.

Thanks for the reply. That is very interesting. I don't think I can get it on a service contract with click fees, but I guess I will try to find out.

What printer did you end up switching too when you got rid of the OKI?
 

easiprint

Well-known member
Thanks for the reply. That is very interesting. I don't think I can get it on a service contract with click fees, but I guess I will try to find out.

What printer did you end up switching too when you got rid of the OKI?

Went with a reconditioned Xerox 700 when we got rid of the OKI, which was so much more of a production machine with lower running costs and more reliability. That lasted about three years.

Currently running a couple of brand new Ricoh Pro C5200 machines, which I have to say are the best machines I've run in the past 20 years. Very few service calls, handles everything we throw at them without a problem. Quality always great. Would never go back to OKI or Xerox now.
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
We have the Oki C942dn. We purchased it mainly as an envelope printer, but we do occasionally use it as a backup to our Konica Minolta C6085. I would not recommend this printer for what you're describing for the following reasons:
  1. It's incredibly slow in general, but especially with card stock. It frequently has to pause (maybe every 50 sheets) to 'adjust' and this adjusting takes about 30-60 seconds which really adds up over a decent size run.
  2. The quality is just 'okay'. We are a county in-plant so there are not very high expectations from our customers, but when you compare it to the output of our Konica Minonlta, its not even close - especially when it comes to small text and small reverses. I would say the quality is more like an office level copier.
  3. You can only reliably feed the heavier card stock through the bypass, and it's a very small bypass tray.
  4. The sheet-to-sheet registration is not very consistent
  5. You cannot duplex the heavier weights reliably
  6. The cost per sheet is very high compared to any CPC plan from any vendor out there. OKI provides a cost estimator where you plug in the costs of your toners, and all other consumables (which is just about every part on the machine!). I just tested our 1-pg order form which has light, text only, coverage in BW and it came out to $0.04 per page. Most CPC plans are just under a penny on a color machine for a b/w print, and less than 1/2 a cent on a b/w machine. I then uploaded an 8.5x11 cover of a manual we recently did which has a solid color pattern across the sheet and it came to $0.21 per sheet. Again, any CPC plan from any vendor will be under $0.05 per sheet, regardless of size or coverage.
The only thing I really do like, which is only needed very rarely, is the control you have over the white. You can specify which areas have white, and you can control how dense the white is so you don't have to do multiple passes.

As for a recommendation, I'd suggest you look at the C3070L from Konica Minolta. Make sure is the "L" version - which is for 'light' production. This unit can print duplex on 350gsm in a single pass, and the registration is spot on due to a registration roller that shifts the sheets to the same spot every time. You can get just the printer body with a bypass tray and an output catch tray - so the footprint will be about the same as the OKI. It comes with 2 trays below the engine, plus the bypass. You can always add more paper feeders or finishing options as your business grows. Another bonus is you can print extra long sheets (47" long). The cost may be slightly higher than the OKI, but the cost per print on a CPC plan will save you in the long term.
 
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Maniac

Member
Fantastic feedback. Thank you. That's the type of information they don't give you in the sales brochures :) I guess that's why they seem to focus these OKIs on envelopes and I can't find anyone talking about general production work.

Now I'm researching the Ricoh Pro C5200 and the KM C3070L :)
 

crajos

Well-known member
I'd hard pass on considering those OKI's for production. @jwheeler is spot in his list of why not to use it for production. Our shop has an Intec branded version of it we picked up to do envelopes. It's OK...and will likely go another route in the future. We don't have the 5th spot color, one has to have a market for it.

I see you're also interested in a KM3070. We just picked up a fully loaded C3080 in March. So far it's great, and we've thrown a lot at it! I've got the envelope fuser for it as well. If we didn't have to switch it out every time to run envelopes, I'd completely ditch our Intec ASAP. Print quality is better and it runs them faster.
 

Shawnd

Well-known member
My 2cents as an OKI owner for the past 5 years, as you have already gotten good advice.

I try NOT to do quantities larger than 5,000 envelopes at a time on my 931 due to slow speeds.

I won't even consider running anything larger than #10 envelopes on it. For 6x9+ I will run them on my Ricohs' as they run at Double if not triple the speed.

Whichever box you choose, due your homework on how their service is in your area.
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
I won't even consider running anything larger than #10 envelopes on it. For 6x9+ I will run them on my Ricohs' as they run at Double if not triple the speed.

Agree on this point. We run larger envelopes on our KM's. Question for you @Shawnd , I noticed your signature states that you have the straight shooter feeder. Did you have that from the start or did you upgrade to that from the original OKI feeder? We have the original OKI feeder and find it to be problematic - our sales guy said many shops upgrade to the Straight shooter and have a better experience. Thoughts?
 

Shawnd

Well-known member
We had a straight shooter on our previous xerox printer so when we got this OKI we got a new straight shooter feeder for it, using the old straight shooter conveyor from the xerox still. It is OK, not a perfect feeder but it does the job. It hates feeding #9's, especially the earthchoice colored envelopes, by the time the job is done I am about ready to chunk that feeder in the trash.

#10's and other sizes it will feed all day long as long as you keep the belts clean. For some reason it loves 6 3/4 remit envelopes, never understood that.
 

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