Business inkjet sales bucked the trend in the UK in the fist quarter of this year, with year-on-year shipments up 18.8%. Overall, the UK printer/MFP market fell by 6.4% in Q1, according to International Data Corporation
In Western Europe as a whole, printer sales grew 2.6% in unit terms and 8.4% in value in Q1, 2015, with double-digit increases in Finland, Spain and Greece. Highlights included a 6.3% rise in shipments of laser MFPs and a 21.6% increase in business inkjets, with sales of A3 models up 83.6%.
Not surprisingly, there has been a fair amount of activity in the inkjet market of late.
Epson has finally established a 26-strong network of managed print service (MPS) providers to sell and support its WorkForce Pro RIPS (Replaceable Ink Pack System) device. The device incorporates extra-large ink sacks with capacities of 75,000 pages (mono) and 50,000 pages for each of the colours.
The large ink supply on RIPS machines reduces the cost per page and minimises the need for servicing interventions. It will be interesting to see how much of these savings are passed on to customers and how much are used to increase dealer margins.
Low running costs of 0.4p to 0.5p per page are one of the selling points of Brother’s expanded HL-S7000 series of high speed mono printers. Following the launch of the 100 page per minute model last year, Brother has introduced cheaper, slower 50ppm and 70ppm models in an attempt to increase the potential market for these impressive devices. It has also added extra paper trays to the 100ppm model, enabling it to be used for printing a greater variety of material without manual intervention.
Brother is targeting businesses with print volumes of 15,000 to 20,000 pages per month as it believes they will be most responsive to the TCO message. It has already had some success in the healthcare sector, attracting print centres that provide print services, such as prescription printing, to communities of GP surgeries, and also plans to go after expensive high-end lasers and copiers by promoting the HL-S7000 series as an energy-efficient alternative.
Brother is not the only company offering 100ppm print speeds. Riso has just launched the world’s fist A2 digital duplicator, which is also capable of printing at 100pm regardless of paper size. Duplicators create a stencil master for each sheet and are very economical when producing large numbers of fliers, leaflets and short-run newspapers – the cost of the master means they are an expensive option if only a small number of copies are required. The new A2 size – A3 was previously the largest paper size supported by duplicators – will enable commercial printers to produce 4 x A4 multi-up printing.
The RISO A2 is capable of printing as soon as it is powered up, with a make-ready time of just 60 seconds and the ability to print 1,000 sheets in just 10 minutes. It is available with a choice of 21 standard colours, with the option to order custom colours to match a corporate logo, say. Print quality is up to 600 dpi.
Lower down the food chain, Canon is promoting its MAXIFY business inkjets with free 3-year warranties (see cover story on pages 12 and 13) and HP has introduced a new A3 inkjet, the HP OfficeJet 7510 Wide Format all-in-one for micro-businesses and small workgroups of 1-5 people. HP says the £139.99 printer has a 40% lower cost per page than equivalent colour laser printers.