Recent experience with Vendor proposals...

EdwardB

Member
So our school district recently went through a couple of months of sorting through vendor proposals and finally demoing certain models that fit our criteria... exact details (i.e. dollar amounts, etc) can't really be "detailed" as the proposals all had confidentiality agreements attached. This was the first time I was directly involved with the proceedings, from the making of our machine requirements through contract "requirements"... the responses we got from our local vendors were quite "eye opening".

Old machines:
Pair of Konica Minolta "Ikon" 650 (KM6500)
In 4+ years of service we put 5.2mil and 4.8mil on the machines
Fiery controllers
basic staple/stackers

"Criteria"
two machines, must meet/exceed the volume we put on the KMs
must be capable of duplexing 100#/300gsm
3 or 5 year lease, MUST guarantee working machines though out entire lease duration (this one makes me giggle... explained later)
a polithera of capabilities (finisher offerings, paper sizes/types, the typical...)
one machine with a high-capacity stacker

Vendor offerings came from from 6 different companies: Canon Business Solutions, Xerox, Konica-Minolta, Ricoh (formerly the IKON office), MiscVendor1, MiscVendor2 (I say "Miscellaneous" vendor because they are a VAR). I'm not really going to get specific about which vendor actually said/did what... but some may be able to guess :rolleyes: We had several offerings that were just insanely over-priced for their offerings, like they put in a bid just to put in a bid? Oddly, we had two offerings of machines identical in every way, one from a VAR and one from the actual manufacturer, the manufacturer was damn near double the cost of the VAR.

We had one manufacturer come back on the "requirement" that if we leased a machine for X years, that they must guarantee it to work the entire duration of the lease... their response: "90 Days" :confused:

Offerings included:
Canon C7000VPs
*I used to operate a VP, while not "bad" machines not desirable either, also out of price range
Canon ImageRunner C7065s (this got the "are you F'n kidding me"?)
*met none of the requirements we set forth
KM7000s
*barely met requirements
KM8000s
*met requirements and priced very well
Xerox 770s (later turned into J75s)
*met requirements and priced very well
Xerox 800s
*exceeded requirements/expectations, but sadly, excessively out of our price range
Ricoh C751s
*met requirements, way out of price range

The actual demoing:
We demo'd a Xerox 770 and a KM8000 using identical paper, files, layouts, finishing, etc...
*Xerox had the newest Fiery 10, the KM had Fiery 9
*Both machines came with inline booklet makers, the Xerox with a 10(?) sheet and the KM had 20(?) sheet capacity.. I forget the exact number of pages. We acutally have an offline collater/bookletmaker with a 20 sheet capacity, as well as a Squareback/Watkis with a 50 sheet capacity we can hand feed through.

Both were very impressive machines and we would have been happy with either machine, but the Xerox 770 totally blew the KM out of the water with just about every test we threw at it...

RGB Gray (not processed as true K)
RGB gray images on the Xerox were dead on the most accurate B&W (using CMYK blending) I have ever seen, the KM came out with the common muddy tinted/colorized B&W

Spot color Reflex Blue C: 100%, 50%, 25%, 10% screening
Xerox blew us away with it's color accuracy, it was Deep BLUE, even the screening was the correct shade of BLUE... the KM, like any other machine I have used/seen, printed everything Reflex as a shade of purple.

Running lightweight stock 20/50
Both machines did very well feeding 20/50, the KM exhibited the usual random multi-feeding/jamming associated with light weight paper (say 2-3 jams in 2000 sheets on the KM, none on the Xerox).

Running super heavy weight stocks
Both machines fed and printed well on 300gsm, full duplex, gloss and uncoated. Registration seemed a bit off on the KM.
I will note that the Xerox 770 did make more "noise" like the sheets were hitting on the inside of the paper guides (more on this)

Image "stretch/shrink"
printed a series of 1" squares on a 12x18 to check overall accuracy of the image dimensions... ever print a full bleed 11x17 and the crop marks come out 11x16.8?? Tis one reason I hated our KM650s
Xerox came out at an amazing 16" 63/64s, the KM was only around 16" 15/16. The KM was also "wide" across the page, at about 11" 1/16.

Construction
Yeah, the Xeroxs have a lot of plastic body panels, but they are all metal underneath. The tray construction on the Xeroxs could use more metal though

Paper feed and edge registration
Sadly neither machine used common edge registration or vacuum feed.
The Xerox has a very accurate system of registration, also has a utility to generate full-sheet patches and with the use of the scanner to auto-calibrate the IQ and registration.... KM used a menu system identical to the KM650, each tray has it's own values and if you load a paper in a tray it can override the registration values. The KM also used a weird multi-roller system to "twist" the paper into alignment (can we say over-engineered to have extra parts to wear out??).

Interface "Software" and Firmware operation
The interface on printers can be the most infuriating problems I have with most copiers/printers!
The KM650 had what I called the "please wait all day for the light to turn green to press start each and every time you load paper, ink, or clear a paper jam". Nothing like staring at a button for 5 minutes waiting for the machine to warm up...
Xerox: Automatically starts without any kind of user intervention
KM: "Please wait..."
Paper Catalogs
Both have paper catalogs... the Xerox is the most intuitive and easiest to setup/use. The KM will overwrite tray settings (i.e. tray alignment) each and every time you load a paper
Loading Paper
Xerox will let you load paper (assuming it is not printing out of that tray at the same time) at any time... even off. The Xerox has a "bug" affecting your ability to change tray settings like GSM, but we have a feature enhancement request in to Xerox to have this changed. The KM locks the trays if the machine is turned off... also, locks the paper settings while the machine is printing.

Paper Jams
This was done on purpose. The most common occurrence is you have a single 8.5x11 in the middle of your stack of 11x or 12x
The Xerox handled this better than any color machine I have worked with, ever. It sucked the 8.5x11 2" out of the tray, finished all the prints prior to that sheet, then reported a jam on that single sheet of paper. The KM pulled the sheet, printed on it with a 12x18 image, and wadded the sheet up in the duplexer... it was like an explosion of 12x18 paper inside the machine, every print before and sheet after was ruined.
J75 note: We were told by every vendor that a jam in the finisher would still require pulling every sheet out of the machine, they do not eject pages. Not totally true... if you experience a jam in the booklet maker or stacker exit, the machine will eject all the remaining printed sheets to the top-trays of your bookletmaker/high-capacity stacker. I personally love this.

Printing on "mixed" media, 80# Cov and 28# Text
Both machines have typical "slow downs" with printing mixed stock. The Xerox seemed a tiny bit slower, but the KM exhibited jamming about 33% of every paper switch.

Overall image quality
The Xerox was NOTABLY sharper, photos had significantly better detail and better skin tone accuracy.

Inline Booklet maker
here is where the KM totally shined. In total number of sheets, and how it operated... the KM actually pre-folded each sheet as it was printing to make a very sharp fold in the finished booklet. the KM also ejected the booklet out of the "front" of the machine, which was weird LOL The Xerox still made nice booklets though...

Fiery Controller
Xerox has a new Fiery 10, KM still uses 9.
Hands down, if you can get Fiery 10, GET IT
Fiery 10 now has an ability to process PDF transparency correctly. Also has the "Fiery Ticker", a car dashboard, showing the status of your printer/jobs that is easily viewed from 20-30 feet away... Also, the 10 RIP is way faster

Calibration
Xerox uses an inline desitometer, the KM still uses a ES1000/2000. The Xerox J75 still came with an ES2000 for color matching purposes.

Closing
After everything we threw at the machines, hands down the Xerox beat the KM... When we started the contract negotiations with Xerox, they released the J75 and updated the proposal offering.
We have had our Xerox J75s for about 5 weeks and other than a bunch of bugs I have submitted to Xerox, we couldnt' be happier.

Operational review of the J75s will be posted later.
 

EdwardB

Member
thanks arossetti!

***Oh, rereading my post, I forgot to follow up on the "noises" the 770 made printing on 300gsm.

The 770, while it ran 300gsm duplex without any problems, it sounded horrible... LOL You could hear the stock "hit" each bend/roller/module/etc. The J75 does NOT sound anything like the 770. While you can tell it is running cover stock, it no longer sounds like an Iron Foundry trying to hammer out the sheets.
 

Oakworks

New member
Thank you for this write up! These are the exact models that we are currently considering. We currently have the Xerox 700 with CREO. We are having issues with color accuracy and our booklet maker does not handle the quantity/quality of paper we need. The finisher unit is one reason we are leaning towards the KM8000.
 

arossetti

Well-known member
Thank you for this write up! These are the exact models that we are currently considering. We currently have the Xerox 700 with CREO. We are having issues with color accuracy and our booklet maker does not handle the quantity/quality of paper we need. The finisher unit is one reason we are leaning towards the KM8000.

Great example of why there is not 1 best machine for each class, it really depends on the environment it is going into. I know the x800/1000 has a plockmatic and also I think the Bourg square back booklet maker it is a shame that they can't be put onto the 75's.

The Bourg you can get offline also, it does 200 page booklets - it is pretty impressive.
 

EdwardB

Member
with CREO
While I can't say to the quality of the CREO in the last couple of years, but I would highly suggest testing it and testing it HARD before committing to a CREO (*COUGH* Fiery EFI #1!).

I had a CREO controller about 10 years ago, they were junk. Wouldnt' take a calibration even if you handed the ES1000 to an analyst to scan. It crashed on complex PDFs (and this was 10 years ago when Acrobat 5 was the standard), imposed documents would have masking issues on the adjacent pages... I see CREO boxes at our local xerox office and this is what I see:
zookeeper.jpg

edit....
The finisher unit is one reason we are leaning towards the KM8000.
I forgot to comment, the booklet maker was the ONLY thing I really liked about the KM... if you can pick up a Borg/Watkis squareback, or even a hand stapler, you're better off with a Xerox LOL
 
Last edited:

Oakworks

New member
Thank you for the input! I have only worked with Xerox and CREO, but we are looking to move to Fiery. (and are considering Xerox, Canon & Konica Minolta). The sales reps say that there is not that much difference between Fiery & Creo. But you are saying that the Fiery will produce better results on the Xerox than the Creo? It's nice to have input from someone who actually runs the machine!

Would you recommend a squareback finisher in particular? We would need something that is automatic. We can't spare a person to feed the booklets one at a time. Also, how much do they usually cost?

I appreciate your help!
 

EdwardB

Member
Thank you for the input! I have only worked with Xerox and CREO, but we are looking to move to Fiery. (and are considering Xerox, Canon & Konica Minolta). The sales reps say that there is not that much difference between Fiery & Creo. But you are saying that the Fiery will produce better results on the Xerox than the Creo? It's nice to have input from someone who actually runs the machine!

Would you recommend a squareback finisher in particular? We would need something that is automatic. We can't spare a person to feed the booklets one at a time. Also, how much do they usually cost?

I appreciate your help!

while the CREO and the Fiery do pretty much the same thing, one can say "that computer runs 'Windows'"... some versions of windows run better than others. Creo was bought by another company maybe 6-8 years go, so their products may have gotten better, I don't know but the bitter taste of that boat-anchor is so bad I wouldn't ever touch one again.

I really have no idea what squarebacks are going for... asspensive, we have our Watkis rolled into our equipment leases.
 

kdw75

Well-known member
We have a 560 with the integrated Fiery and so far we love it. It seems to handle transparencies without flaw and it is super fast.
 

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