By DPS Staff
Multifunction products (MFPs) specifically designed for light production print environments offer feature sets such as advanced inline finishing capabilities, high-definition color, thicker stock options, and color management tools at high speeds.
Depending on the manufacturer or end customer, production-class MFPs are defined differently. Often, they are segmented based on duty cycle as well as specific feature sets. For example, Toshiba notes the key differentiator of production MFPs for the print environment is based on a product’s rated monthly copy volume and periodic maintenance intervals. Paper capacity and toner yields are also significant to this space. Controller options also play an essential role in a product’s ability to produce production-level quality and output speeds.
Hiro Imamura, senior director, planning and product management, ISG marketing division and Dennis Arorosano, senior director, marketing and business support, ISG solutions marketing and business support division, Canon U.S.A., Inc., explain that a variety of features differentiate production MFPs for print environments. Various finishing options, including professional punches, paper folding units, and perfect binding are examples. Additionally, print providers look to production-class MFPs that offer impressive image quality and performance; easy management, tracking, and control options; air suction; on-the-fly toner and paper replacement; versatile workflow solution support with various controller options; and JDF.
Image quality is a top concern for many print providers. For those looking to MFPs as a digital printing solution, toner plays an important role. For example, the Canon imagePRESS C7010 Series features oil-free Vivid Toner—or V Toner—particles that have a micro-dispersed wax component. The small particle size enables quality printing on smooth and textured stocks. Additionally, the toner gloss is designed to match end user’s media, allowing them to maintain the gloss or matte finish on the selected media type. The wax component ensures even fusing and lay-flat finish on pages with high toner coverage.
Canon’s imageRUNNER ADVANCE 8105/8095/8085 monochrome MFPs feature Precise Output (pO) toner. It utilizes a new resin formula to improve fusing performance, which helps to enable the high-speed printing required for light production environments and the energy efficiency necessary to operate the device on a standard 120V outlet. The pO toner features improved pigments and is capable of reproducing images at text consistently and precisely, while maintaining high productivity. It allows for graphics, illustrations, and halftones to be clearly reproduced.
All Konica Minolta MFPs use the patented Simitri Polymerized toner. “Simitri particles are smaller, smoother, and more uniform in size and shape than standard pulverized toner particles, which ensure the highest quality output consistently,” explains Mike Fego, manager, product marketing, production print, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. In addition to its high image quality, Simitri toner fuses at lower temperatures to save resources—electricity and money, but also to reduce paper curl and eliminate blistering that can occur when running coated stocks through hotter systems. Fego says this feature enables Konica Minolta MFPs to run a wide variety of substrates.
Ricoh’s patented PxP oil-less toners utilize smaller, uniformly sized particles with a low melting point, which enables the toner to adhere better to thick coated, textured stocks, delivering sharper images and producing beautiful, solid-color fills. The low melt point of the toner means the fuser operates at a lower temperature. This keeps the temperature lower inside the system, resulting in better consistency and longer parts life. Also, the toner bottles are easily replaced in seconds and can be switched out while the system is running, increasing the overall ease of use and device productivity.
Toshiba technology is refined to enable the company to produce particles under ten microns in size. Developer particles have also been refined by more than 30 percent. Toshiba has its own toner manufacturing facility in Mitchell, SD.
Digital Front Ends
Print controllers/digital front ends (DFEs) are essential to the productivity of a production MFP. “Both EFI and Kodak Creo DEFs provide users with professional, easy-to-use color management tools as well as advanced job and queue management,” notes Fego. “Both DFEs are capable of processing variable data jobs quickly and efficiently and offer cutting-edge imposition tools,” he adds.
Konica Minolta offers both EFI Fiery and Kodak Creo DFEs on its color production print MFPs. In addition, the company now also provides a proprietary DFE.
Canon’s production MFPs feature the Fiery Controller and Creo controller for the imagePRESS C7010V/C6010VP/C6010 and PRISMAsync for the imagePRESS C7010VPS/C6010VPS/imageRUNNER ADVANCE C9075S/C9065S. Over standard DFEs, these controller options provide an efficient RIP, image quality management, intuitive document imposition, and job scheduling.
Products such as the Océ VarioPrint 4000 family feature high-speed production driven by the PRISMAsync Controller. The family is designed to amplify production printing performance by integrating the workflow of Océ and Canon cutsheet production printers—both B&W and color. With one way of working for all machines, operators run color jobs as easily as B&W ones. The result is lower training and running costs, higher productivity, fewer mistakes, and bigger profits.
Both the Ricoh Pro C901/C901S Graphic Arts Edition and Pro C651EX/C751EX/C751 systems feature multiple EFI DFEs running system 9r2, which offer advantages such as 250 spot colors identifiable per file, RIP while receiving technology to increase productivity, 12 bit smooth shading feature for smooth gradations or vignettes, SeeQuence Impose and Compose for advanced impositioning and job composition, and the color profile suite. Ricoh also offers the Creo C-81 Color Controller on the Pro C901/C901s Graphic Arts Edition Family. System advantages of this configuration include two independent sub systems built-in for RIP processing and printing to realize high performance, RIPped data converted to Creo’s unique ready-to-print format that enables customers to change imposition or color setting without reRIP, and Creo variable data processing in addition to industry-standard variable data formats.
Toshiba’s e-STUDIO755/855 and the e-STUDIO905/1105/1355 production MFPs offer a Fiery controller option, which includes its own HDD and support for Fiery production printing solutions including Fiery Central, Impose, and Compose. These options are not supported by production class Fiery Controllers.
The Xerox 4112/4127 copier/printer features an optional FreeFlow Print Server and Xerox EX Print Server, powered by Fiery to extend print functionality to production level, enabling users to increase productivity with advanced job preparation and management features, including variable information printing.
For environments focused on print, such as commercial printers, quick printers, reprographic departments, and in plants, production-class MFPs provide a solution for jobs not suited for offset. The feature sets provided on these devices, such as advanced controllers, professional finishing options, and color management tools, make them a viable solution in multiple scenarios. Next week, we look at production-class MFPs specific to the needs of enterprise document printing