TCPglobal - news, views and issues on total cost of printing

Login
Subscribe to TCPGlobal

New colour laser printers from Kyocera – rather more than just a refresh or update

Issue #1105 – Don’t be duped into thinking that the FS-C5150 and FS-C5250 colour laser printers from Kyocera are ‘just another refresh on the previous models’ (FS-C5100 and FS-C5200), as the product naming might suggest! They are not. They are completely new machines, bringing new and innovative design features and functionality to the desktop that belie the rather ‘normal-looking’ hardware specification.

While we will consider the normal specification items in terms of comparisons with the competition, as well as making comparisons between Total Cost of Printing for the various competing machines, much of this article will be concerned with the less obvious but innovative and no less significant elements that Kyocera has worked on and brought to these printers.

Kyocera FS-C5250DNKyocera FS-C5250DN

These are:

  • Power consumption significantly reduced – leading to a low TEC rating (sadly not quoted!)
  • Positive charge roller system instead of negative charge – eliminates ozone production
  • Noise reduced – through enhancements to drum engine & paper transportation mechanism
  • Application-based profiling – enables more efficient use of supplies and lower Total Cost of Printing
  • Integrated accounting – allows responsibility for print volume and costs to be allocated to users

None of these initiatives are, in themselves, groundbreaking or even unique. What is unusual is to find some of them in a desktop printer. Kyocera has simply adopted what it has learned and developed over its years of experience in the industry to bring the advantages usually found in high-end devices to the workgroup and, therefore, the small business as well as the enterprise.

Let’s take a brief look at each in turn.

Power consumption
All-important in today’s environment where carbon footprint and cost cutting go hand in hand as critical elements of an organisation’s policy book, for a laser printer to be able to prove that its power consumption is significantly lower than a competitor’s is a powerful tool if the playing field is otherwise reasonably level.

NB. TEC = Typical Electricity Consumption as defined under Energy Star

Power Consumption Sleep Standby Printing TEC
Brother
HL-4150CDN
Not Quoted 65 Watts 560 Watts 1.62 kWh/week
Dell
3130cdn
9 Watts 98 Watts 460 Watts 2.47 kWh/week
Kyocera
FS-C5250DN
7 Watts 58 Watts 428 Watts Not Quoted
Lexmark
C544dn
Not Quoted Not Quoted Not Quoted Not Quoted
Oki
C530dn
14 Watts 80 Watts 540 Watts Not Quoted
Ricoh
SP C312DN
15 Watts Not Quoted Not Quoted Not Quoted
Samsung
CLP-670ND
22 Watts Not Quoted 560 Watts Not Quoted
Xerox
Phaser 6280DN
4.3Watts 70 Watts 450 Watts Not Quoted

As we see, not all manufacturers are quoting a TEC figure despite being Energy Star qualified – even Kyocera. This is certainly a specification item that all manufacturers should be quoting where devices have earned the Energy Star, simply because the other figures can be misleading.

Brother HL-4150CDNBrother HL-4150CDN

So, while we say “well done” to Brother and Dell, we note that Brother quotes a much higher power consumption while printing than Dell but a much lower TEC. We then look at the Stand-by power consumption and note that Brother quotes a figure significantly lower than Dell. This provides us with the core of the reason that Brother’s TEC is lower than Dell’s – a printer spends much more time in Stand-by mode than it does while printing.

Otherwise, it is clear that Kyocera has been able to cut power consumption while printing by an average of nearly 17%, in Stand-by mode by an average of 25% and in sleep mode by an average of 45% over the competition. This certainly should result in a significant TEC advantage to the FS-C5250DN – if Kyocera would just quote it!

Positive Charge Roller System
I’m sure most readers will be familiar with the rather obnoxious smell that emanates from so many laser printers. Well, Kyocera has eliminated this smell by using positively charged rollers, which cuts out production of ozone during the printing process. As excessive ozone is bad for one’s health (damaging the lungs, causing chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation), especially for asthma sufferers, this is no bad thing at all.

Positive charged roller systems are not new, having typically been used in high-end copiers but not in desktop printers. Kyocera began to change that trend in 2006 when it introduced a positive charge system into its FS-2000 / FS-3900 / FS-4000 range. Now we see the company widening use of the system further across its range into desktop colour laser printers.

Noise reduction
As with power consumption, the figures shown in the table indicate that Kyocera has also made progress in reducing noise levels, achieved by design changes to the drum engine and to the paper transport system.

Noise Standby Printing
Brother HL-4150CDN 33 dB(A) 57 dB(A)
Dell 3130cdn 41 dB(A) 56 dB(A)
Kyocera FS-C5250DN 30 dB(A) 50 dB(A)
Lexmark C544dn Not quoted 49 dB(A)
Oki C530dn 37 dB(A) 54 dB(A)
Ricoh SP C312DN Not quoted Not quoted
Samsung CLP-670ND 52 dB(A) 54 dB(A)
Xerox Phaser 6280DN 30 dB(A) 51.4 dB(A)

What this means is that, with noise levels doubling with a 6 dB(A) increase in Sound Pressure, the Dell and Brother printers produce twice as much noise as the Kyocera.

Having said that, Xerox claims the same figure as Kyocera in Stand-by mode and Lexmark claims a slightly lower figure while printing.

Application-based profiling
An excellent innovation for workgroup laser printers, application-based profiling cuts across the inherent laziness of we printer users (yes, I mean ‘we’ – I include myself) who can’t be bothered to spend a few moments clicking through the driver settings for a print job to turn on duplexing or n-up printing, for instance.

In essence what it is doing is allowing the printer/network managers to automate a process that most printer manufacturers make far too long-winded – leading to most users not bothering to make the adjustments. Typically, to turn on duplexing for a print job takes a minimum of three additional mouse clicks – and that is if the user is familiar enough with the driver layout to find the option first time. In other cases, finding the option can be annoyingly difficult and may take half a dozen mouse clicks or more, and what feels like an eternity, to locate the illusive option and turn it on. The question I always ask of printer manufacturers is, “Why can’t the duplex option be located at the top level of the driver?”

In practice, the Kyocera’s application-based profiling allows the driver to be configured to push specific types of print jobs at the printer with specific setup characteristics. For instance:

  • emails and memos could always be sent as mono/2-up/duplex/draft print jobs
  • customer letters with colour letterhead could always be sent as colour/duplex/normal print jobs
  • marketing leaflets could be always be sent as colour/duplex/best print jobs
  • spreadsheets for internal collaboration could always be sent as mono/simplex/draft print jobs

And this is without the user ever having to make even one extra click of the mouse, regardless of the print job being sent. In this way, significant cost savings can be made, particularly on paper consumption but also on toner usage. We estimate that paper savings could easily be in the order of 36% () and I have seen one manufacturer claiming a 75% saving from duplex printing. Certainly printing with n-up, duplex and draft modes activated could potentially save well over 50% of print costs, perhaps even achieving that 75% saving – but not from paper alone.

Integrated Accounting
One hundred department codes are available within the integrated accounting functionality of the Kyocera FS-C5100 and FS-C5200. This allows responsibility for print volumes and costs to be properly allocated, monitored and charged, as well as being a useful driver in reducing print costs.

Again, this is a feature drawn from high-end MFPs but that has every bit as much relevance to desktop printers and multifunction devices.

Specification
From the practical side, the FS-C5100 and FS-C5200 are not as tall as their predecessors, not only improving the look of the devices but also helping to reduce the space required to locate the machines.

So, let’s have a look at the more normal aspects of the specifications compared to the competition.

All models selected for comparison are single-pass, single-function colour laser printers, with wired 10/100Mbit network interface and duplex-ready out of the box – several of which have been on the market for several years.

In order to ensure that the group falls firmly within the business workgroup printing sector, we’ve selected Kyocera’s FS-C5250 for comparison. The competition for this device falls within a colour print speed range close to that of Kyocera’s 26ppm and we have imposed a cap on the median hardware purchase price of €550.

Surprisingly, Hewlett-Packard still does not have a device that falls into this category. It would be necessary to either take a drop in print speed to 20ppm or to push up to a print speed of 30ppm. There is nothing between the two.

Oki C530DNOki C530DN

Falling into a price bracket from €436 and €549 (Median Street Price, sourced in Germany), it is predictable that actual prices do not track print speed. The fastest printers (Kyocera FS-C5250DN and Oki C530dn), are by no means the most expensive to buy.

While Kyocera’s printer falls in the middle of the price range, Oki’s is almost the cheapest (very much on a par with Brother’s HL-4150CDN). What is somewhat surprising is that, within this category, the models from Samsung and Lexmark (normally more associated with low hardware prices) are actually the highest.

Median Hardware Purchase Price

Workgroup Colour Laser Printers


Core areas of hardware specification where we can identify significant differences or advantages for Kyocera are actually minimal. The most notable is that the model benefits from a very high maximum paper capacity (2,050 sheets) from a total of five sources – very useful for a busy and varied workgroup. Capacity is this high because the printer can accept three additional paper feeds of 500-sheet capacity each.

Ricoh SP C312DNRicoh SP C312DN

No other printer in this group can match that advantage. Ricoh’s SP C312DN comes closest with a maximum capacity of 1,100 sheets, while the rest of the competition have paper capacity between 800 and 950 sheets.

Lexmark’s C544dn is an interesting variation on the standard. Most models have a bypass, or multipurpose, feed that accepts at least 50 sheets (and up to 150 sheets). Lexmark’s C544dn has only a single-sheet manual bypass feed. However, the optional 550-sheet feed also incorporates a 100-sheet multipurpose feed, meaning that users have to invest in the optional feed in order to gain access to a useable multipurpose feed.

Brother
HL-4150CDN
€436.62
Print speed
 
Duty cycle
Paper input
 
Languages
 
Toner Supplies
 
 
Photoconductor
 
Security
 
Other
Simplex – 24ppm mono / 24ppm colour
Duplex – 7ppm mono / 7ppm colour
Max – 40K; Typical – 300-3,000
250-sheet feed + 50-sheet multipurpose feed
Optional 500-sheet feed
PCL6, PS3 emulations; USB Direct Print (PDF v1.7, JPEG, Exif+JPEG, PRN, TIFF, XPS v1.0)
TN-320 series (K: 2,500, C/M/Y: 1,500)
TN-325 series (K: 4,000, C/M/Y: 3,500)
Ships with TN-320 series
Drum – 25,000 pages
Transfer Belt – 50,000 pages
PIN protected printing; Control panel lock-down; SSL IPP-based encryption
Lifetime technical support
Dell
3130cdn
€498.79
Print speed
 
Duty cycle
Paper input
 
Languages
Toner Supplies
 
 
Security
Simplex – 30ppm mono / 25ppm colour
Duplex – not specified
Max – 70K; Typical – 2,000-5,000
250-sheet feed + 150-sheet multipurpose feed
Optional 550-sheet feed
PCL5e/6 emulation; Adobe PS3
Standard – K: 4,000, C/M/Y: 3,000
High Yield – C/M/Y/K: 9,000
Ships with standard cartridges
(with optional hard disk)
Kyocera
FS-C5250DN
€516.02
Print speed
 
Duty cycle
Paper input
 
Languages
 
Toner Supplies
 
Photoconductor
Security
Other
Simplex – 26ppm mono / 26ppm colour
Duplex – not specified
Max – 65K; up to 10K max average
500-sheet feed + 50-sheet multipurpose feed
Optional 500-sheet feed x3
PCL5c/6, PS3 emulations; USB Direct Print (XPS, PDF, TIFF, JPEG)
TK-590 series (K: 7,000, C/M/Y: 5,000)
Starter toner – K: 3,500, C/M/Y: 2,500
Drum – 200,000 pages/3yr Life Guarantee
Not specified
Integrated accounting (100 department codes)
Lexmark
C544dn
€549.00
Print speed
 
Duty cycle
Paper input
 
 
Languages
Toner Supplies
 
 
 
Security
Simplex – 23ppm mono / 23ppm colour
Duplex – not specified
Max – 55K; Typical – 800-3,000
250-sheet feed + 1-sheet manual feed
Optional 550-sheet Duo Drawer feed with 100-sheet multipurpose feed
PCL5c/6, PS3 emulations; PPDS; PDF v1.6; Direct image
Standard –C/M/Y/K: 1,000
High Yield – K: 2,500, C/M/Y: 2,000
Extra High Yield – K: 6,000, C/M/Y: 4,000
Ships with High Yield cartridges
Not specified
Oki
C530dn
€439.09
Print speed
 
Duty cycle
Paper input
 
Languages
Toner Supplies
 
 
Photoconductor
 
Security
Other
 
Simplex – 30ppm mono / 26ppm colour
Duplex – not specified
Max – 65K; up to 5K recommended
250-sheet feed + 100-sheet multipurpose feed
Optional 530-sheet feed
PCL5c/6, PS3 emulations
Standard – K: 3,500, C/M/Y: 2,000
High Yield – C/M/Y/K: 5,000
Ships with C/M/Y/K: 2,000
Drum – 20,000 pages
Transfer Belt – 60,000 pages
SSL/TLS, HTTPS encryption, IPsec
Banner printing (up to 1.2m)
Standard 3yr warranty
Ricoh
SP C312DN
€529.54
Print speed
 
Duty cycle
Paper input
 
Languages
Toner Supplies
 
 
Photoconductor
Security
Simplex – 25ppm mono / 25ppm colour
Duplex – not specified
Max – 50K
500-sheet feed + 100-sheet multipurpose feed
Optional 500-sheet feed
PCL5c/6, PS3 emulations
Standard – C/M/Y/K: 2,500
High Yield – K: 6,500, C/M/Y: 6,000
Ships with standard cartridges
Transfer Belt – 90,000 pages
Not specified
Samsung
CLP-670ND
€549.00
Print speed
 
Duty cycle
Paper input
 
Languages
Toner Supplies
 
 
Photoconductor
Security
Simplex – 24ppm mono / 24ppm colour
Duplex – not specified
Max – 80K
250-sheet feed + 100-sheet multipurpose feed
Optional 500-sheet feed
PCL6, PS3 emulations
Standard – K: 2,500, C/M/Y: 2,000
High Yield – K: 5,000, C/M/Y: 4,000
Ships with standard cartridges
Transfer Belt – 50,000 pages
Not specified
Xerox
Phaser 6280DN
€395.47
Print speed
 
Duty cycle
Paper input
 
Languages
Toner Supplies
 
 
Security
Simplex – 30ppm mono / 25ppm colour
Duplex – not specified
Max – 70K; Typical – 2,000-5,000
250-sheet feed + 150-sheet multipurpose feed
Optional 550-sheet feed
PCL5e/6 emulation; Adobe PS3
Standard – K: 3,000, C/M/Y: 2,200
High Yield – K: 7,000, C/M/Y: 5,900
Ships with standard cartridges
IPsec, HTTPS/SSL, Secure Print (with optional HDD)

All models are PCL and PostScript 3 compatible but Kyocera’s FS-C5250DN is joined by only Lexmark’s C544dn and Brother’s HL-4150CDN in offering additional capabilities – typically USB Direct Printing.

Moving on to supplies, configurations and toner yields, we again find a surprisingly large variance.

Lexmark C544dnLexmark C544dn

Lexmark actually epitomises the extreme position, with a maximum yield of 6,000 pages from the black cartridge and 5,000 pages from the colour cartridges but a minimum yield of only 1,000 pages for all four colours. Between these two extremes is what is described as the High Yield cartridges, at only 2,500 pages from the black and 2,000 pages from the colours – hardly high yield! It is, however, these cartridges that Lexmark ships with the machine and not the so-called standard cartridges.

Lexmark’s minimum yield cartridges are actually less than half the yield of almost any other cartridge offered by the competitors. The only exception is the yield for the standard colour cartridges from Brother – 1,500 pages.

Dell 3130cdnDell 3130cdn

At the other end of the scale, it is Dell’s 3130cdn that offers the highest toner capacity of all, at 9,000 pages for all cartridges. Kyocera offers only one cartridge set, TK-590, offering a very respectable 7,000 pages for the black and 5,000 pages for the colours.

Each of the other competitors have two sets of cartridges with yields ranging between 2,500 pages and 7,000 pages for black and about 2,000 and 6,000 for the colours.

An interesting point to note here is the shipping toner yield. Many manufacturers ship printers, AiOs and MFPs with either a starter set (usually holding a very much reduced volume of ink or toner) or with a set of the standard cartridges. Kyocera actually ships with full yield cartridges. However, half of that full yield is always quoted by Kyocera as the starting yield because when the system initialises itself, the toner is drawn from the toner cartridge into the printing system. What this means is that, when the printer notifies the user that toner needs adding, there is actually 50% of the initial toner still in the system. So, the effective starter toner is 50% of the full yield.

Another interesting point to note is that printer manufacturers appear increasingly to be going for separate toner/drum configurations in the way that Kyocera and Oki have done for nearly two decades.

Kyocera’s ECOSYS system does, of course, contain a long-life drum with a life, in this instance, of 200,000 pages. Hence, the user only buys toner up to that point.

Samsung CLP-670NDSamsung CLP-670ND

Only the Fuji Xerox-built engine (used in the Xerox Phaser 6280DN and Dell 3130cdn) do not use a multi-part system – imaging drum incorporated into the toner cartridge with not even a transfer belt for the user to change. Samsung’s CLP-670ND requires only a transfer belt change periodically and Brother’s HL-4150CDN, Lexmark’s C544dn, Oki’s C530dn and Ricoh’s C312DN all have multipart configurations with some combination of drums, transfer belt, waste toner unit and fuser to change.

And so, this leads us to Cost Per Page and Total Cost of Printing. Whereas a couple of decades ago the use of multipart configurations almost guaranteed lower Cost of Printing, that is not the case any more.

Xerox Phaser 6280DNXerox Phaser 6280DN

Indeed, where the nominal Cost Per Page is concerned, the multipart systems account for four of the five highest CPP figures, both mono and colour. Only Xerox, with its single-part cartridge exceeds the nominal CPP of the multipart systems. This is the complete reverse of what it should be and emphasises the fact that users are now effectively asked to pay per page and not for the supplies themselves.

Kyocera’s supplies for the FS-C5250DN are the least costly for both mono and colour. However, Dell’s black cartridge cost falls very close to Kyocera’s, as does Ricoh’s colour supplies cost.

Total Cost of Printing

Workgroup Colour Laser Printers


Note that for this level of machine, the mixed mono/colour CPP over three years shown in the accompanying table is calculated on the basis of 2,500 pages per month; 70% pages in mono and 30% pages in colour; is based on the use of maximum capacity supplies; takes into account any standard, or starter, supplies shipped with the device; and also includes the cost of purchase. All prices are Median Street Price with tax, sourced in Germany.

Combining the nominal Cost Per Page of each printer’s supplies with the initial hardware cost, we can derive the Total Cost of Printing for each model (as defined in the note above).

Unsurprisingly, this leaves us with the Brother, Lexmark and Xerox printers topping the table with the most expensive systems to run over life. Equally unsurprisingly, Kyocera’s FS-C5250DN proves itself to be least costly to run overall – by 10% over its nearest competitor (Ricoh SP C312DN) but by an average of 48% over these other three manufacturers.

If we take a slightly different view of this, the chart below shows the actual out of pocket expenditure at every 20,000 pages printed (max 180,000, which equals 5,000 pages per month over three years).

Total Expenditure Over Life

Workgroup Colour Laser Printers


What we see here is that the Brother, Lexmark and Xerox models are most expensive throughout and that the Kyocera FS-C5250DN is least costly over almost all of life. If, however, a user is going to stop using the FS-C5250DN much earlier than that, between 50,000 and 85,000 pages say, then the Ricoh actually becomes a better option.

Perhaps one of the more interesting observations here is that Dell’s 3130cdn is unexpectedly competitive when one considers that it is built by Fuji Xerox and the Xerox model is one of the most expensive. The reason for this is Dell’s use of the biggest toner cartridges in the group at 9,000 pages. It is this factor that causes the kinks on the Dell line in the chart – a massive monetary outlay to replenish the machine! An outlay of €840 (almost double the cost of the hardware) could cause such a ‘ticket shock’ that potential customers may be put off investing in that machine.

Conclusion
So, overall, it is the new Kyocera FS-C5250DN that represents the least cost option for workgroups requiring colour printing and offers the most flexible paper-handling capabilities, together with the most advanced and innovative additional features.

One further comment: Oki makes a strong point in its literature that its C530dn is built in a factory with ‘Carbon Zero’ credentials – increasingly a political bargaining chip.

~ END ~