By Amber E. Watson
Part One of Two
For print providers continuously turning out medium volumes of static copy and print, digital duplicators provide a viable solution. A limited number of vendors rule the space. Here, we provide a product roundup featuring popular models and features of duplicators.
Products to Consider
Digital duplicators serve print shops, as well as key markets such as non-profits, education, religious, and government entities. Their advantages include the ability to quickly and affordably produce short to medium runs of static work.
Duplo USA Corp. offers several duplicator options designed for print shops. Popular models include the DP-U950 and the DP-U850. Both devices provide image areas measuring 11x17 inches and 600x600 dpi. The duplicators reach speeds of up to 150 pages per minute (ppm).
Feeding capacity differs for the two models. The DP-U950’s air-suction feeding system provides consistent feeding, while the DP-U850 has a standard friction-feed system. The DP-U950 features a paper feed/receive capacity of 3,000 sheets and the DP-U850 offers 1,280 sheets feed/receive.
In regards to volume, both models are rated at 500,000 pages per month. The cost per page depends on the number of copies produced per run. For example, at 100 copies the cost is approximately $.003 per copy; this number decreases as more copies are made per master sheet.
Another popular duplicator among print providers is Ricoh’s HQ9000. Additionally, the DX 4640PD is preferred by many in-plant environments that require the high productivity of auto duplexing. From an operator’s standpoint, the devices operate similar to a high-volume multifunction peripheral.
Both machines have a robust paper feed system, built-in network connectivity, and accept Adobe PostScript. Additionally, the duplicators utilize Ricoh’s patented HQ ink and master technology for image quality. The duty cycle of these machines is approximately 600,000 pages per month. The cost per page can be as low as one-tenth of a cent per page in quantity—six percent coverage; 4,000 copies per master.
The difference is the DX 4640pd’s auto-duplex function and 400 dpi output resolution. The HQ9000 offers 600 dpi output for cases where the clearest and sharpest prints are required.
Suggested retail price for the machine including the cabinet, platen cover, and network connectivity is $19,010 for the HQ9000 and $18,780 for the DX 4640PD.
The MZ1090 and RZ1090 are RISO Inc.’s lowest priced and best value high-speed duplicators, running at up to and higher than 150 ppm.
The MZ1090 features a touch panel and runs 9,000 impressions per hour (ipm), or 150 ppm, with two colors in one pass. Ledger size paper can be cut in half to double productivity. The RZ1090 runs at 10,800 ipm or 180 ppm. This machine runs one color at a time.
Both models feature 70 colors from which to chose, and custom colors are available. Color change is a quick 20-second process. They also feature USB plug and print, RISO Editor, 600 dpi scanning and printing, optional envelope feeder, optional 210-lb index paper feed kit, and PostScript RIP. Users scan and print from the glass platen scanner or click file and print from the RISO driver.
The machines handle volumes up to 500,000 per month. The cost per page is as low as one-third of a cent with run lengths of over 100. If envelope volume is under 3,000 per month, users may load directly into the standard feed tray without the optional envelope feeder.
Retail prices for the MZ1090 and RZ1090 run approximately $20,000. Trade-in options for older RISO models or alternative products present value to consumers.
The SD700 digital duplicator is Standard Finishing Solutions’ most popular model within print shops. It is a 600x600 dpi device that utilizes an impression cylinder with a built-in gripper clamp. Networking capability is built-in, and a PostScript-level 3 card may be added to maximize platform flexibility.
Also available for purchase is the SD722 unit accessory, which doubles the production speed of the SD700 and tightens registration by applying both colors of two-color work in a single pass. The SD722 allows operators to control the position of both images on the final copy and to control paper feed and output settings from the control panel.
Both units are rated to produce 600,000 impressions per month. Cost per page is on a sliding scale—the more a specific document is printed, the lower the cost per page. For example, on a single color black piece 200 prints may be as low as $0.0046 per copy. A two-color, 200-unit print job is around $0.01 each; or $0.0036 for run lengths of 1,000 or more.
The SD700 has a list price of just over $19,000 and the SD722 accessory has a list price of approximately $8,200.
Do the Math
According to Mark Hunt, director of marketing, Standard Finishing Solutions, print managers must learn where the economical sweet spot lies for each job. “For example, when imaging a return address on envelopes, the ideal run length for a digital duplicator could be as low as 25 and still be economical up to 2,000 units,” he explains. “For an 11x17-inch newsletter it might be quantities from 500 to 5,000. The crossover points depend on the blend of other print technologies available, and the set-up time and operating costs of each.”
Digital duplicator technology is ideal for shops reproducing large quantities of printed products consistently. The best model to choose depends on the type of output that is most often created as well as typical run lengths.
In part two, we conclude this series with a profile on a card and paper shop using digital duplicators to produce customized stationary products