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Considerations When Selecting a Large-format Printer

June 1, 2012

Deciding to purchase a large-format printer is a big step for an in-plant. To help, Océ, a Canon Group company, offers five considerations for making a truly informed purchasing decision.

Ease of Use

There is more to ease of use than the user interface of a large-format printer—screens, previews and wizards do not tell the full story. Instead, base your investigation on how you need the printer to work for you, taking into consideration:

  • Type of Print Jobs: If the bulk of your print jobs are standardized, look for automation possibilities using templates. If your print jobs are specialized, look for possibilities to maintain full control and adjust or set parameters.
  • Number of Users: For multiple users, templates and a self-explanatory user interface is critical. Specialized users that are used to a high degree of automation need full control to run complex jobs.
  • Consumables Loading: Look for capabilities to exchange ink cartridges or refill toner during large runs, as well as the number of media rolls in the printer and if they can be exchanged on the fly.
  • Ergonomics: Check to ensure printer design eases the burden of replacing empty paper rolls, makes it easy to access prints and that the operator panel is at an appropriate angle.

Infrastructure Security

large-format printers, especially those with a USB port, are an integral part of your IT infrastructure. More than just virus protection, infrastructure security includes protecting your company’s intellectual property. Therefore, when selecting a large-format printer, security issues should be taken into account:

  • Service Packs: Look for a system that is compatible, for example, with Microsoft Service Packs. This offers updates for system reliability, program compatibility, virus protection and more.
  • Unauthorized Use: Ensure that the system can be locked out for unauthorized use as well as offers usage logging, which makes it possible to track and trace misuse.
  • Overwrite Options:  Often companies will want to be able to overwrite digital data from the hard disk using e-shredding or even remove the hard disk when needed.
  • Safety applications: Network providers can assist with a variety of safety applications and features, such as integrity, authentication, and certification processes.

Product Options

A large-format printer is a long-term commitment, which is why it is critical to select a machine that can be easily adapted to a business’ changing needs when they occur. Field upgradability and financing of field upgradability are two things to consider when looking at product options. For example, can hardware (e.g. scanner, folder or additional paper rolls) be added in the future; does the manufacturer offer firmware updates; is it possible to change your service contract if a shorter response time is needed.

 

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