With sustainability becoming the ever-increasing objective of today’s companies, it is no wonder that business inkjet products are garnering growing interest. In fact, Keypoint Intelligence forecasts a 3.2% compound annual growth rate for these products in the Asia Pacific through 2021, driven by “green” features as well as their simpler design and lower cost per page compared to laser technology.
What is a business inkjet printer?
Business inkjet printers are inkjet-based devices targeted to home office, SMB, and in some cases enterprise business environments. Compared to consumer-based inkjets, they offer higher speeds, higher paper capacities, higher cartridge yields, and a lower cost per page.
Business inkjets may also integrate features like a standard automatic document feeder (ADF), standard automatic duplexing, finishing capabilities, and support for more than six users.
These devices have been growing in popularity in recent years as leading manufacturers introduce new models with increasingly powerful features and value propositions. That said, their advantages are not always fully recognized by customers.
What do customers think about business inkjet?
Keypoint Intelligence research shows that top motivators for buying business inkjet printers tend to include easy maintenance, good-enough image quality, and price compared to laser technology. At the same time, the top deterrent from purchasing business inkjets is by far expensive ink.
What are top benefits of business inkjet and why?
While customers have their own perceptions of business inkjet printers, the reality is these devices offer some clear benefits over laser printers. As mentioned above, these include fewer moving parts, a lower cost per page in many instances, and sustainability advantages.
In terms of fewer moving parts, ink-based marking technology tends to involve only a few major components (i.e., ink, an ejector or printhead, and a forced air dryer)—which leads to fewer maintenance and servicing requirements compared to laser products. Less maintenance and servicing translate into lower costs.
In terms of cost per page, business ink printers are now in the market that can deliver a cost per page that is up to 50% lower compared to similarly priced laser printers. In other words, these inkjets are compatible with cartridges that can reduce the cost of consumables by one half. For an organisation that prints thousands of pages a week, this savings can really add up.
And when it comes to sustainability, business inkjet printers typically use less power and produce less carbon dioxide compared to similar laser printers—partly because inkjet printhead technology requires less heat than laser technology. And because inkjet printers are structurally simpler, fewer parts need regular replacement—leading to less waste. In addition, inkjets are associated with cleaner air as they do not emit toner dust.
What are examples of cutting-edge business inkjet printers?
Epson is one manufacturer that offers business inkjet printers that help achieve goals around maintenance, cost, and sustainability. This includes new WorkForce Enterprise and WorkForce Pro models in the market.
For example, the monochrome WorkForce Enterprise WF-M20590 and color WorkForce Enterprise WF-C20590 incorporate powerful advanced features—such as maximum print speeds of 100 pages per minute, an optional finisher for stacking and stapler, a maximum paper capacity of 5,350 sheets, and a 9” color touchscreen.
Yet the only supplies they require are ink cartridges and a waste ink container, which reduces the need for device maintenance while also boosting device uptime and worker productivity. In addition, with the cartridges yielding 50,000 to 60,000 impressions (depending on the model), they do not need to be replaced all that frequently.
Reduced need for maintenance helps bring down device costs; it also allows resellers to offer a lower cost per page compared to laser MFPs. Additionally, lower requirements for energy further reduce running costs.
In fact, according to Epson, the WF-C20590 consumed up to 85% less energy than a similar-speed laser printer. In addition, up to 59%, fewer replacement parts were required compared to an equivalent laser product, as drums, developer, fusers, and more components were needed.
Epson’s color WorkForce Pro WF-C579R and WF-C869R models, meanwhile, are examples of SMB-oriented products that also address maintenance, cost, and sustainability objectives. As with the enterprise-class models discussed above, they only require ink and a waste ink container for supplies.
One difference is the ink is housed in a replaceable ink pack as opposed to a cartridge. Each ink pack contains enough ink to deliver up to 50,000 to 86,000 impressions in black (for the WF-C579R and WF-869R, respectively), and 20,000 to 84,000 impressions in color (also for the WF-C579R and WF-869R, respectively).
The WF-C579R and WF-869R are priced affordably for their range of features, which include a 50-page automatic document feeder, standard paper capacities of 500 sheets, and maximum monthly duty cycles of 45,000 and 75,000 impressions respectively. Furthermore, their running costs are very low for their speed class.
In terms of sustainability, the ink pack system removes much of the physical supplies waste involved in printing with comparable color laser printers, while the devices useless energy than competitive color lasers. BLI testing suggested the WF-869R consumes 15.1576 kilowatts of energy annually, compared to a competitive average of 122.0298 kilowatts.
One organization that has experienced these various advantages is the Global Jaya School in Indonesia, a nonprofit educational institution with about 1,000 students (of 18 different nationalities) and 150 staff members. By replacing its old laser printers with the latest Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C869R printing technologies, the school has lowered its print expenses—despite an increase in print jobs. Over the last year, there have been no significant issues with the devices, the ink has yet to run out, and no maintenance has been required.
Energy savings has also been achieved, as well as improved productivity resulting from fast printing (e.g., no device warmup time required, a first-page-out-time of less than six seconds), efficient print job management, and a user-friendly design—among other features. Security capabilities like IP address filter, LDAP address book, PIN security, and limited access functions have also helped strengthen the school’s print infrastructure.
The benefits associated with today’s inkjet technology have prompted organizations like the Global Jaya School in Indonesia to replace their laser printers with new Epson business inkjet technology. They appreciate the devices’ low running cost, maintenance-proof design, and energy savings compared to laser technology—among other advantages.
That said, many companies are just starting to understand the benefits provided by the latest crop of business inkjets—presenting an opportunity for them to dramatically improve their office printing environment in a variety of ways.