Seeking advice on entry level production press

analog502

New member
I am a novice in the digital press / copier world and seeking some advice. I have been running a Ricoh C5100S for a couple years. It’s mediocre. I got it cheap from a liquidation, and it’s never been serviced since I got it.

I am ready to get a machine that can reliably print clean, high quality images. Speed does not matter at all as volume will be low. Image quality is extremely important, and I want something with Fiery or equivalent. I would like to be able to print on fairly heavy stocks as well without a lot of trouble (~ 270gsm).

So far I am talking with reps about C5200S, C5300S, and the KM 4065. The only inline capability I really need is a booklet finisher, although could consider offline.

Alternatively, Ricoh says I could pay them a bunch of money to come out and get my C5100 ‘up to spec’ and then they ‘might’ be able to put it on a service contract. I’m assuming this is probably not the best route with the age of the machine, but the benefit is I already own it and could avoid lease terms. FWIW the C5100 has about 800k clicks for color and another 800k B&W.

Anyway, if anyone would like to share recommendations, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
If you take the in-line finishing route, I'd get the C4070 instead of the C4065. This is because with the C4065 you are limited to an FS-532 finisher with the lightweight SD-510 booklet maker. Whereas with the C4070 / C4080, there is a range of heavier duty in-line finishing and trimming options. The engine doesn't cost a lot more, so you're just future proofing options.

Personally however, I'd strongly recommend your other consideration and take booklet making offline, as the decent in-line kit is expensive and is tied to one engine. Whereas a good offline booklet maker will outlive a print engine many times over and carry a good residual value.
We have a C4080 and make booklets on a Duplo DBM150T with a Plockmatic SQ-104 square fold on the end. Our C4080 only has the very basic OT-510 stacker, as we have a well-equipped offline finishing room.

Most importantly, offline booklet making will save you money over in-line, i.e. on small booklets where you can print 2-up and guillotine - you're using only half the clicks you would versus in-line.
 

analog502

New member
If you take the in-line finishing route, I'd get the C4070 instead of the C4065. This is because with the C4065 you are limited to an FS-532 finisher with the lightweight SD-510 booklet maker. Whereas with the C4070 / C4080, there is a range of heavier duty in-line finishing and trimming options. The engine doesn't cost a lot more, so you're just future proofing options.

Personally however, I'd strongly recommend your other consideration and take booklet making offline, as the decent in-line kit is expensive and is tied to one engine. Whereas a good offline booklet maker will outlive a print engine many times over and carry a good residual value.
We have a C4080 and make booklets on a Duplo DBM150T with a Plockmatic SQ-104 square fold on the end. Our C4080 only has the very basic OT-510 stacker, as we have a well-equipped offline finishing room.

Most importantly, offline booklet making will save you money over in-line, i.e. on small booklets where you can print 2-up and guillotine - you're using only half the clicks you would versus in-line.
Thanks for the thorough feedback, much appreciated. You make a lot good points with the offline route.
 

azehnali

Well-known member
do you see the volume increasing significantly?
if not all those finishing options are useless and very expensive unless you have work for them that is significantly higher than your 5K volume
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
@analog502 - one other tip after re-reading your post, where you said...
I have been running a Ricoh C5100S for a couple years. It’s mediocre. I got it cheap from a liquidation, and it’s never been serviced since I got it.

Learn from this and, whatever machine you get, ensure it is on an all-inclusive click contract. Then the onus is on your provider (either manufacturer's direct channel or dealer network) to keep your machine in tip top working order and there are no hidden costs. You know exactly how much each job will cost you to run and the only variable is the substrate.

Then if you get issues such as the notorious, well documented drum issue with Xerox Versant machines, it's not your money being haemorrhaged.

Avoid the temptation of picking up what looks like a bargain from online auction sites, or people on this forum trying to flog you a "refurbished" machine. There's no free lunches in this industry and if something sounds/looks too good to be true, guaranteed it is just that. We do have one refurbished machine - our B/W press - but here's the caveat... it was bought from our local dealer we'd been with for 20+ years, who also provide the CPC contract on it.
 

pippip

Well-known member
I'd wonder whether you'd get serious click offers on 5k a month. That may be work in itself to achieve.

On another note op. I'd heavily test your booklet finishers (offline or online) to make sure you don't need a creaser. If you're on 270gsm approx, depending on grain direction and toner coverage you may need a creaser to achieve perfect results to match your high standards.
 

chriscozi

Well-known member
On another note op. I'd heavily test your booklet finishers (offline or online) to make sure you don't need a creaser. If you're on 270gsm approx, depending on grain direction and toner coverage you may need a creaser to achieve perfect results to match your high standards.
This.
 

kslight

Well-known member
For your volume probably the most cost effective printer is the one you already have.

I would instead suggest establishing a relationship with a good trade printer because the cost of a reliable high quality printer and finishing solution (as others have said, the ability to crease is an essential for good quality booklets) is going to be pretty hard to justify at your current volume.
 

leonardcahill

New member
We have a Ricoh C5100 pro and it's the best we've found. We've tried the rest and this is best. Learn to service it yourself. Lots of information out there and they last . Moving forward we'll look at the latest generation of similar copiers from Ricoh alone. As a Heidelberg guy in the industry for over 40 years I've gone digial 15 years ago and hands down Ricoh is the best bang for the buck.
 
After 20 years in business, ending with a 4 color HBerg and 3 duplicators and 3 Konica machines, (951, 6500 and a 7000) I had to BK back in 2016. I was able to keep some of my core customers and I restarted in a much smaller space on a massively decreased budget.

Since I didn't know if I was gonna even make it a year, I didn't want to spend $$ on a new machine. I knew a guy who had a Ricoh c5100 and it was pretty impressive. So I picked up one for about $7000. Over the next couple of years I got two more. One for my primary and one as a back up and then the third just because it was too good of a deal to pass up.

I used those first two to rebuild my business to the point that I finally needed to upgrade to true production level copiers. Now I have a Konica 3070, a 1060 and a 951.

My point is this. I was averaging 20-40k copies a month between the ricoh's. IMO that's the max they are good for. At that level I was doing a service call 2-4 times a month. Almost everything I ran was 12x18 and either 100lb gloss book or 14 Pt coated cover. If you're only doing 5k a month or so, do NOT get into a lease with a new copier. It's way too much money for that level of production.

I also wouldn't drop a bunch of money into refurb'ing yours. When I asked my authorized dealer about a contract when I first got my 5100 with 175,000 clicks on it they quoted me like .15 cents a click. Highway robbery. Only a sucker would sign up for that.

You can buy a sub 100,000 click 5100 off one of the big resellers on ebay. I can recommend EBU in Chatsworth, CA. He has one right now for $5000 delivered with 100,000 clicks on it. That would last you a LONG time and you'd have your other one as a back up. You should have a back up. Hell, I sold my 3rd one with 50k clicks on it 5 months ago for $4000 with an extra set of toners. Good deals are out there.

I will also attest that a good running 5100 produces EXACTLY as nice a copy as my 3070 does. I was shocked when I first got my 3070 and didn't see any better copy quality than my 5100. They're great entry level machines. I put about 800,00 copies on the first one and 200,000 on the second one. All you're really getting by upgrading to a new machine is a better hi cap feeder and a slightly better finisher.

Maybe consider a 5110 as they're newer and faster.

As far as bindery, my only advice is buy a good cutter. At least a Challenge 305 with programming. Cutters are the backbone of a shop and not an area to skimp on if you can.
 
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Isellequipment

New member
With the age of the machine I would suggest getting something new vs. spending the money to put on a service contract which at the end of the day will be very expensive. Unless you want to fix it yourself get something newer.
With new in mind and looking at the volume you run of only 5,000 sheets a month most "production" machines will actually give you some problems. If you are not running your machine every day make sure you are shutting it down to the manufactures recommendations to avoid other costly repairs as drums will turn with it sitting idle and you don't want that happening if you are not running the machine for a week.
Finally I personally sell Production equipment from Xerox, Canon and Konica. Based on your volume you will want to stay entry level production. Lightly used isn't a bad idea if you buy it from your local servicing party as you can still negotiate a decent click rate for supplies and service. For equipment I suggest you look at a Xerox PrimeLink C9065/C9070 or a Canon C650/C750. I don't sell Ricoh and never have so I will not comment on the Ricoh equipment.
 

analog502

New member
Wow, I did not expect this many replies. Thanks so much for the detailed responses, everyone! It's been super helpful as I plan out next steps.

For the time being I am likely going to stick with my machine – I got a reasonable quote on getting it up to spec from a Ricoh dealer in town.
 

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