Most people who are researching the cost of production printers know that production printing devices are usually large, fast, and expensive machines compared to the average desktop printer, or even a larger floor-standing copier or MFP. But getting a reasonable idea of how much these machines cost so you can develop a budget can be challenging. If you are researching production printers, you have come to the right place, as Virginia Business Systems is a leading seller of these systems. You should expect to pay significantly more to acquire a production device, especially a production color device. In this article, we will identify and discuss the factors that influence the price of production printing devices.
So what is a production printer? The answer is “It depends”. For the sake of our discussion we will say that a production printer is an output device that can print more than 75 pages per minute. Additionally, production printers are designed to run large volumes of output, and in most cases, with a print quality that rivals an offset printing press. Production printers can usually print on a much wider range of paper weights and paper types than the average office printer or copier. These devices achieve overall cost savings by virtue of their speed, quality, versatility, and efficiency.
The price range for most production printers is between $25,000 and $150,000. But keep in mind that this price range is for the purchase cost of the device itself. Given the cost and complexity of these machines, and the fact that most of these printers will be deployed into environments where there are tight deadlines and stringent quality requirements, it makes sense to carry a maintenance and service contract on these machines.
Service costs also vary and are usually based on a cost per impression or cost per page basis. Typical ranges for cost per page are as follows:
Leasing a production printer also makes sense because at the end of the lease term, most customers will want a newer, faster, more capable machine to replace their aging production printing device. A lease will also potentially simplify the payment process by rolling the acquisition cost and service cost into one monthly payment.
Classes of Production Printing Machines
There are three basic classes of production printers:
Cost: From $20,000 to $40,000
Speed: 75 to 90 pages per minute color, 80 to 120 pages per minute black and white
Monthly Volume: 25,000 to 50,000 pages per month color, 50,000 to 150,000 pages per month black and white
Finishing: Possibly a high capacity input tray and/or a high-capacity stacker or output tray
Class 1 production printers are generally considered to be entry-level production print devices and are best for environments that have short peak production demands that can’t be met by a non-production device. Quality requirements may vary for a Class 1 production print machine, so be sure to have your vendor run print samples of your work before making your decision.
Cost: From $40,000 to $80,000
Speed: 90 to 100 pages per minute color, 120 to 140 pages per minute black and white
Monthly Volume: 50,000 to 500,000 pages per month color, 150,000 to 1,000,000 pages per month black and white
Finishing: High capacity input tray(s), high-capacity stacker(s) and/or a booklet maker
Class 2 production printers are generally a good choice for a medium-sized business with high volume and quality requirements. They may also be a good choice for quick printers, churches, or schools. Quality requirements for a Class 2 production print machine will usually be high, but perhaps not quite as high as a production printer that would be used in a commercial printing environment.
Cost: $80,000 and higher
Speed: 100 pages or higher per minute color, 140 pages per minute or higher black and white
Monthly Volume: 100,000 to 1,000,000 pages per month color; 500,000 to 5,000,000 pages per month black and white
Finishing: Multiple high capacity input trays, multiple high-capacity stackers, booklet maker, or perfect binder
Class 3 production printers sit at the very top of the production printing hardware pyramid. They are best suited for printing environments with the very highest production speed, reliability, and quality requirements. Class 3 printing machines are often placed in commercial printing and high-end print-for-pay establishments. These devices are also seen in Central Reproduction Departments (“CRD’s”) in large corporations, and in state and federal government facilities.