The start of a new year is the perfect time to evaluate your business goals and ensure that you have the right equipment to help you reach those objectives. With all the new printers and different technologies available today, we asked in-house printer expert Michael Clementi to weigh in on how to tell if it’s time to replace your old printer.
Q: What are the most common ways to tell if your printer is aging?
A: For aqueous piezo technology (like Epson or Roland), you’ll experience vertical banding running the length of the print, errors that you cannot navigate past or an increase in the number of cleanings needed to produce a healthy nozzle check. For aqueous thermal user-replaceable printheads (such as Canon or HP), you may see hardware errors on the machine. You can call a LexJet representative to help determine what may be causing the error; however, if you need service, it would be best to contact the printer manufacturer for quotes or troubleshooting. Some hardware-related issues indicate the need for a head replacement – not uncommon for thermal printers – but errors related to what I call the “drive train” of the printer (i.e.: belts, head/carriage motors and internal electrical components) might be reparable, but the difference in cost of repair vs. upgrading to the latest technology might be almost negligible.
Q: Are there any repairs that are worth the cost rather than buying a new printer?
A: If it is an older Epson or Roland that needs a full printhead replacement (which are not user-replaceable and can cost more than $600 for just the parts, not including labor), it makes more sense to use those funds towards a new printer. With a new model, you will have better ink usage, print more profitable jobs, work with current technology and have a printer that is covered under warranty. New technology has allowed for increase in output and a significant decrease in the footprint of the printer. New printers will also be more efficient and will offer a wider color gamut than older models. If your current printer is several generations old, it may be difficult finding parts for the repair due to the manufacturers halting production of older parts (as they call, “end of life”).
Q: What kind of lifespan can I expect to get from a printer?
A: The average lifespan for aqueous machines is three to five years, depending on the technology, frequency of use and how well it is maintained. Solvent and latex printers can be in the six- to eight-year range, again depending upon use and maintenance.
Q: When is it a wiser investment to upgrade rather than repair?
A: If quality, efficiency, cost per print and reliability have become concerns with your current model, you should research newer options. As printers grow older, the inks become more expensive (cost increases due to lower volumes produced, increased ink waste or problems with print quality) and replaceable parts become harder to find. As mentioned earlier, once a printer has reached its “end of life,” manufacturers no longer offer replacement parts, which can cause delays in workflow. Rebates and webinars offer you many ways to save, while available leasing programs offer an alternative to high-interest credit card purchases.
Q: What type of ROI will I see with a new printer purchase?
A: If you are exploring the possibility of switching to a different technology (such as moving from aqueous to latex or solvent), the variety of applications you can offer your customers increases. New avenues for printing will not only generate new customers, but also excite your current customers by giving them more choices. With the addition of a new printer, you see an immediate increase in production and it expands the ways in which you can market your business, increasing your product offering and decreasing turnaround times, all ways to help you grow your customer base and improve your bottom line.
Q: What are the significant differences between current printers on the market and their older counterparts?
A: In general, over the last five years, manufacturers such as Canon, HP and EPSON have been battling it out to improve in the following areas:
- Ease of use (software, loading method, less clicks to print)
- Print quality (gamut, dithering patterns, somehow keep getting better producing a better looking final product)
- Speed (differs by the OEM and printer used)
If you have a printer that is older than seven years, you will think you are in another world when you get a new machine. There are some customers who are hanging on because their printer is working and nothing is wrong; however, while there is nothing inherently wrong with the machine, they are not considering the extra time spent waiting for the image to come off the printer, the amount of ink being used, the drying time or any number of issues that are resolved in the latest editions. Printers have evolved so much when it comes to speed and quality, that you are doing yourself – and your business – a disservice by not upgrading.
Q: How can LexJet help me with a new printer purchase?
A: Every month, LexJet offers rebates, webinars, financing and other ways to save; and, when you team up with one of our knowledgeable consultants, you will get a partner you can trust to help increase the profitability of your business. Give us a call at 800-453-9538.