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Q: Special use laser/inkjet printers ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Special use laser/inkjet printers
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: newbie-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 03 Nov 2002 05:27 PST
Expires: 03 Dec 2002 05:27 PST
Question ID: 97229
Among all the inkjet and laser printing options, I am looking for the
best, most cost effective and reliable machine(s) that would print on
heavier, "mailable" preprinted material.  I am interested in printers
that could if necessary print in duplex mode, using the duplex mode to
print variable addresses.  B/W printers are fine but I would like to
know if there are color printers that would meet the requirements,
particularly the duplex function.  Inkjet color printers are more
economical but I can't find any with duplex capabilities.  Is this a
function of how they print?  I'm aware of these capabilities for high
end commercial grade printers but I'm interested in smaller desk top
Subject: Re: Special use laser/inkjet printers
Answered By: drdavid-ga on 03 Nov 2002 10:06 PST
I am interpreting "heavier, 'mailable' preprinted material" to mean
typical postcard stock, which in the US paper market is usually 67#
Bristol, but could also be a heavier, denser card stock. You don’t
specify your throughput needs, but since you are seeking "desktop
models," I am assuming that you are planning relatively small jobs. If
you are really printing a lot of material, then you should seriously
consider a "high-end commercial-grade" printer, such as a Xerox
Docutech, because the net cost per printed page will actually be lower
and your productivity will be higher.

Similarly, while ink jet printers are cheaper in the sense that you
can buy one for less, you will find that the cost-per-page for even a
color laser printer is less than for an ink jet printer if you are
going to print a lot of pages. Also the speed (pages per minute) is
likely to be significantly faster for your job on a laser printer. If
you’re doing only small jobs not very often so that the capital cost
of the equipment is a big deal, then an ink jet printer would
certainly be the way to go. You can get all the capabilities you are
looking for, including duplex feeding of card stock.

Regarding the duplex-feeding of card stock, I just did a quick
experiment to verify that printers you are likely to consider should
have no trouble. Both machines I tested are now a few years old, so
you can expect current models to perform uneventfully as well. I used
67# Bristol card stock for a two-sided print using the manufacturer’s
duplexer. I printed in color on an HP 970 Cse ink jet printer and in
black-and-white on a Lexmark Optra S 1620. Both machines behaved
perfectly. Note that the ink jet machine was quite slow in duplex
printing since it paused between sides to allow the ink on the first
side to dry partially.

Duplex attachments are available for most printers intended for the
business printing market. Not knowing exactly what your budget and
target printing volumes are, I can only give some illustrative
examples from current product lines. These are links to the US
offerings of two companies as examples, but similar offerings are
available from other companies as well.


Most of Lexmark’s color and black-and-white laser printers offer
duplexing options. Their ink jet printers do not. All can handle card

Hewlett Packard:

Most of HP’s laser printers and a few of their ink jet printers offer
duplexing options and can print on card stock.

If you want some help narrowing the choices, please give some more
details about your application, volumes and budget, and I’ll try to

Request for Answer Clarification by newbie-ga on 04 Nov 2002 05:43 PST
I appreciate your thoughts but would like your to amplify your
comments on high end commercial.  There seems to be a huge gulf
between the inexpensive desk top printers and a docutech which is a
quarter of a million investment.  Is there a reasonable mid-ground?

Clarification of Answer by drdavid-ga on 04 Nov 2002 08:20 PST
Certainly, there is a reasonable middle ground! There is a continuum
of offerings out there to suit almost any target printing volume. All
of the newer copiers from Xerox, for example, are actually
scanner/printers, and they are available in a wide range of speeds and
with a wide range of features. Most of the printer and copier
manufacturers offer some products that would do your job. A quarter of
a million dollars is actually not all that much to printers used to
investing in multi-million-dollar presses (some may buy multiple
Docutech's to handle there variable-information printing needs), but
if it's a lot of money for your application, then there is indeed a
lot of middle ground. Depending on your needs you can go for
"high-end" products from companies like HP and Lexmark (desktop
black-and-white laser printers have been pushed to about 40 letter
pages per minute) or "low-end" products from companies that focus on
the commercial market. Again, if you give me more details about your
needs, I may be able to steer you to some particular models to
consider, or you could just check your local yellow pages for
printer/copier dealers and get their sales pitches.
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