Epson, for example, offers printers with ink tanks, bottles and bags – each of which is suitable for specific needs.
As we reported earlier this year, the particular type of inkjet technology that provides the best value depends largely on the number of pages you print.
That article presented HP’s view that where small volumes are concerned, the rule of thumb is that if you print weekly, an integrated print head (IPH) model – where the ink tanks and print head are all in one – gives a lower total cost per page, but for daily printing individual ink cartridges (IIC) are the go.
But what happens as print volumes increase?
According to Epson's general manager of consumer sales and marketing Bruce Bealby, a small office printing up to five sheets a day is best served with a model that uses ink cartridges.
Beyond that, Epson EcoTank models such as the ET-4550 have large ink tanks that can be refilled from inexpensive bottles of ink. Not only is this more economical (a $25 bottle of black ink is good for around 6,000 pages), it is more convenient as the printer can produce more pages without attention.
Depending on the model, EcoTank printers come with enough ink to print up to 11,000 pages in black and 8500 pages in colour. And some members of the family use Epson's PrecisonCore printing technology for “laser-quality” black text at lower cost than toner-based devices.
When the daily volume exceeds 30 pages, Epson’s RIPS (replaceable ink pack system) family comes into its own.
WorkForce Pro RIPS models can print up to 75,000 pages on one set of ink bags, and have paper capacities of up to 1,800 sheets.
This means they provide an attractive combination of minimal intervention and low-cost colour printing, Epson’s general manager of business sales and marketing Craig Heckenberg told BIT.
Furthermore, they can print a wide variety of media up to 250gsm, including labels, envelopes and banners.
For example, Macartney Real Estate uses an Epson WorkForce Pro WF-R5690 RIPS printer to produce a wide range of documents including ‘sold’ banners.
“The WF-R5690 uses up to 80 percent less power than competitive colour lasers thanks to its no heat technology. No ozone gas is emitted, and an improved quiet print mode and no fan noise during or after printing make it ideal for the working environment,” said agency principal Simon de Crespigny.
“There are also fewer parts to replace than a laser. We can also get more done with print speeds of up to 34 pages a minute in black and white and 30 pages per minute in colour. Its high paper capacity of up to 580 sheets means less time is spent refilling and its automatic double-sided printing, scanning, copying and faxing makes any job easy and efficient.”
Having a choice is good, but – as Bealby warned – it’s important to do your homework so you can be sure that the printer you select matches your requirements in terms of volume, speed, media and connectivity features.