HP Introduces Entry-level, Web-connected Solutions for Large-format Printing from Virtually Anywhere

HP today unveiled the industry’s first web-connected, entry-levelprinting solutions for architecture, engineering and construction (AEC)students and professionals, making in-house, large-format printing accessible to more users.

Delivering large-format printing through the cloud from virtually anywhere,(1) the new HP Designjet T120 and T520 ePrinter series provide on-the-go professionals with simple and affordable printing solutions. The compact, 24-inch HP Designjet T120 ePrinter series is ideal for students and freelancers, while the 24- and 36-inch HP Designjet T520 ePrinter series is designed for small AEC teams in need of fast, professional printing.

HP also announced the second generation of its free web service for AEC professionals, HP Designjet ePrint & Share, which makes it easy to access and print large-format documents using an iOS or Android tablet or smartphone, a laptop or ePrinter touch screen.(1,2)

“The economic environment has increased the number of freelancers and small studios, shortened project turnaround times and required AEC workers to be highly mobile, spending more than 50 percent of their time out of the office,” said Santiago Morera, vice president and general manager, Large-format Printing Business, HP. “The expanded HP Designjet portfolio helps our customers stay connected where the job takes them and allows first-time, large-format buyers to easily and affordably bring their printing needs in house.”

Solutions bring large-format printing in house for customers like ZELLNERPLUS

The smallest printer in its class, with a footprint of only 38.9 inches (987 mm), the HP Designjet T120 ePrinter offers the benefits of two printers in one with a built-in B+/A3 tray and convenient front-loading roll. The printer’s intuitive, full-color touch screen simplifies in-house printing and navigation for those new to large format. HP inks produce high-quality output with rich colors and sharp lines reaching 0.0016 inch (0.04 mm) minimum line width.

Available in 24- or 36-inch models, the HP Designjet T520 ePrinter improves processing power and offers twice the speed and resolution of its predecessor.(3) With 1 GB RAM and HP-GL/2 technology, the HP Designjet T520 ePrinter operates at up to 35 seconds per D/A1 print. Original HP inks and long-life printheads achieve accurate lines reaching 0.0008 inch (0.02 mm) minimum line width and sharp details with up to 2,400 dots per inch (dpi) resolution for fast, professional results in house.

The HP Designjet T120 and T520 ePrinters are the only large-format printers available with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, so users can install the printer where it is most convenient.(4) True print previews from the new HP Designjet driver ensure accurate prints on the first try, resulting in time and cost savings when printing from a computer.

“The new HP Designjet printing technology gives us confidence that when we need to produce high-quality drawings in time for a meeting, we can handle the job—it takes a lot of stress out of my work schedule,” said Peter Zellner, principal at ZELLNERPLUS, an HP Designjet T520 ePrinter beta customer. “Now that I’ve seen how much the HP Designjet T520 ePrinter improves our daily design and build process, I can’t imagine working without it.”

HP Designjet ePrint & Share makes remote printing easier than ever

The HP Designjet ePrinter portfolio features mobile access and printing of large-format plans using HP Designjet ePrint & Share.(1) Available through a desktop web browser, mobile application or the touch screen of web-connected HP Designjet printers,(2) the latest version of HP Designjet ePrint & Share offers:

  • The ability to email projects to an HP Designjet ePrinter for printing.(1) Users simply attach a PDF or other print-ready file to an email and send it to the ePrinter’s dedicated address.
  • Automatic, secure online print history through the new HP Designjet driver. With the online print history, users have access to their latest drawings and the ability to zoom in and reprint an exact copy in just few clicks.(1)
  • Convenient file sharing using an automatically generated hyperlink for one-click access to any file in the print history. (1)
  • Access to all FTP sites in one place. Users can access multiple FTP sites in one interface with one login, making it easy to view and print files when and where needed.(1)

“The nature of our business requires staff to be out of town or at other locations, working off tablets to get instant feedback from customers,” said Ma Wenjie, designer at E+D International, an HP Designjet T520 ePrinter beta customer. “Through the use of HP Designjet ePrint & Share, we can review these changes and make timely modifications with the client, while our remote workers can send their comments to our in-house printer, greatly improving efficiency.”

Pricing and availability(5)

  • The HP Designjet T120 ePrinter series is expected to be available worldwide on Sept. 24 for an estimated retail price of $1,000.
  • The HP Designjet T520 ePrinter series, available in 24- and 36-inch models, is expected to be available worldwide on Sept. 24 for estimated prices of $1,800 and $2,500, respectively.
  • HP Designjet ePrint & Share is available at no additional cost for HP Designjet customers by creating an account at www.hp.com/go/eprintandshare. The mobile application is available through Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

More information about the latest additions to the HP Designjet portfolio is available atwww.hp.com/go/DesignjetFall2012 and  www.hp.com/go/designjet. Videos and updates of the new products are available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HPdesigners, on Twitter attwitter.com/hpgraphicarts and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/hpgraphicarts.

Canon Introduces Next-Generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE; Commentary by Cary Sherburne

Press release from the issuing company

New Platform at the Core of Digital Business Communications Where Imaging Technology, Cloud Connectivity and Mobile Solutions Seamlessly Converge

Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the next-generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE Series, a platform of multifunction office systems designed to transform workflow from a series of individual processes to a continuous, integrated flow of shared information. The new platform features a variety of enhancements to the design, workflow, control, performance and environmentally-conscious functionality of each model. Providing a solution that converges existing office systems and services rather than simply connecting them, this series of imageRUNNER ADVANCE streamlines business workflows by incorporating innovative cloud and mobile solutions, extensive security measures and powerful new software offerings.

“We are a part of an incredible evolution of the workforce as organizations are now implementing more efficient and secure business processes than ever before,” said Sam Yoshida, vice president and general manager, Marketing, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A. “The imageRUNNER ADVANCE platform will serve as a business catalyst and central communications hub that merges a variety of mobile and cloud technologies to help facilitate seamless, optimized workflows.”

Advanced Design
The next-generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE models build upon the user-centric design of the previous generation, already rated highest in ease-of-use in the MFP industry by Industry Analysts, Inc.1 With a customizable and streamlined display, users have the option to feature a logo or special graphics in the wallpaper background of the main menu of the user interface and tailor the quick menu to meet specific departmental or user needs. In addition, each device has the ability to act as a dynamic, personalized communications hub that streamlines business processes with document-driven workflow.

Advanced Workflow
At the forefront of the effort to optimize business processes, Canon will offer MEAP-Web to allow applications to be developed via web services with integration on the device through the imageRUNNER ADVANCE Web Access software. With the MEAP-Web capability as a part of the next generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE, this platform offers the capability of building an integrated solution to back-end enterprise applications such as ERP, CRM, content management systems and more. The variety and strength of this platform will allow partners and integrators to develop powerful tools that propel businesses forward toward success.

In today’s increasingly mobile world, the next generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE models are equipped to take advantage of several mobile and cloud-based solutions that enable customers to safely print and scan from a variety of devices and locations. Customizable for different needs and price points, Canon offers the following solutions:

  • Cloud Portal for imageRUNNER ADVANCE, a cloud-based print and scan solution that provides direct connection from Canon MFPs to Google Docs and Microsoft SharePoint Online
  • Direct Print and Scan for Mobile, a peer-to-peer solution that provides print and scan functionality via direct communication between iOS and Blackberry mobile devices and Canon MFPs
  • EFI PrintMe, a cloud-based mobile print solution that enables printing from any email-enabled mobile device to Canon MFPs
  • uniFLOW, a complete, server-based output management solution that includes mobile printing and scanning
  • Canon Mobile Printing, a mobile application available later this year that will enable users in homes and offices of all sizes to send print jobs directly from their iPhone and iPad to a compatible Canon output device

With drag-and-drop simplicity, the imageRUNNER ADVANCE Desktop Quick Printing Tool allows users to combine documents, print, fax and convert files to PDF format without opening the native application.

Advanced Control
As security and control become increasingly important, Canon provides the tools to easily configure a system, migrate settings, safeguard data and track resources with the next-generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE systems. With Canon’s server-less Advanced Anywhere-Print (AA-Print) solution that includes a new login application called Universal Login Manager, users can print to a connected Canon device and retrieve their documents after authentication at any Canon device on their network, and IT administrators can track usage and enforce printing control when needed. Each model is also equipped with a tamper-resistant security chip, which protects passwords and encryption keys. In addition, the standard HDD Data Erase and HDD Lock features help protect information even after the hard drive is removed.

Canon will also offer cloud-based control solutions through its Managed Document Services (MDS) Business Infrastructure. To be launched in early 2013, Canon Business Imaging Online (CBIO) will not only offer device functionality extensions via the cloud for scanning, mobile solutions and customized applications, but also provide a cloud-based platform for implementing additional control solutions such as managing, configuring and monitoring devices remotely for MDS engagements. This new infrastructure will not only assist Canon’s channels in supporting customer demands for MDS engagements, but also provide a global framework to support the needs of global customers in any region or country.

Advanced Performance
The new imageRUNNER ADVANCE platform builds upon the reliability of the first-generation lineup and provides improved copy quality along with faster output. This quality is enhanced by Canon’s state-of-the-art imaging technology and the integration of a built-in ZIMA chip that supports delivery of crisp, clear copies. In addition, faster and more consistent processing speed is delivered through Canon’s advanced imageCHIP architecture that features two dedicated processors that work together to accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously.

Advanced Responsibility
Users will benefit from energy-saving and environmentally conscious features. The new models have a low Typical Energy Consumption (TEC) value and consume very little energy during sleep mode. Organizations can control their resources through intelligent device management solutions that optimize the use of toner and paper. In addition, the combination of fusing technologies and low melting point toner helps lower overall energy consumption.

Availability
The next-generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE models will become available in the fourth quarter of 2012, with additional models added to the line-up in 2013. First to be introduced will be the imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5255/C5250/C5240/C5235 color multifunction systems designed for small- to mid-volume workgroups, followed by the imageRUNNER ADVANCE 6275/6265/6255 black-and-white systems designed for high volume office environments and the imageRUNNER ADVANCE 8205/8295/8285 black-and-white light production systems. Specifications and pricing details will be announced when those systems become available.

More information on Canon’s next generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE platform can be found at www.usa.canon.com/SimplyAdvanced 

Commentary by Cary Sherburne

We’ll probably never get to the paperless office, but an increasing number of companies are looking for ways to seamlessly integrate paper and digital workflows. They want information to be able to be acted upon, stored, categorized in document management systems, emailed, and placed into other workflows regardless of whether it enters the enterprise in paper or digital form, and with as little human intervention as possible.

This announcement from Canon gives these enterprises more to work with as they strive to streamline workflow, taking time, cost and the potential for error out of a wide range of business processes.

I had the opportunity to speak with Dennis Amorosano, Sr. Director, Solutions Marketing & Business Support at Canon USA, both as a follow-up to my discussion with him last July and specifically about this announcement.

Amorosano said, “Customers anticipate leveraging investments in MFPs to tie more directly into business application workflow. They are beginning to look at the MFP as a communications hub within the enterprise. As a result, from a development perspective, we have invested in enhancing our technology to more readily meet the need to connect to specific office workflows.”

Although there have been solutions around for some time that can make at least some of this happen, one issue has been usability-or the lack of it.  Canon claims to have improved ease of use with this release by “leaps.” Amorosano adds, “As opposed to what might be considered an arm’s length connection to ERP and CRM systems, we can now tie in tightly. Technology is only as good as how easy it is for users to take advantage of it.”

With this release, Canon has also added extra usability from the desktop as well as more mobility and increased capability to personalize operations and menus to companies, departments, functions and even individual users. Amorosano says, “In addition to becoming part of the workflow, and combined with mobile and cloud elements, the MFP now becomes a catalyst for system convergence.  It is a middleware platform that allows for better communication with enterprise applications and builds in a document workflow.”

It’s what we used to call, in the “old days,” an “information onramp.”

Another cool feature is AA PRINT which offers secure printing without the need for a server.  An end user can print to an ADVANCE box and walk up to any MEAP-enabled printer/copier on the network to securely print and retrieve documents.

Earlier this year, Canon introduced a cloud-based application with tools that help in the performance of Managed Document Services (MDS) engagements, and Amorosano reports that that solution, MDS Portal, will be fully rolled out in 2013.  Not only will it monitor Canon devices, but it will also allow MDS operators to monitor third-party devices as well.  They will be able to fully understand usage, see error reporting, configure a fleet of devices and more, all from a cloud interface.

By the end of 2012, Canon will have a total of four mobile print solutions as well as cloud print-and-scan and a SOHO app-based solution for iPhones (Android is expected to be added shortly following launch, and Windows phone support will be added as and when demand justifies).

From an environmental perspective, this new family of imageRUNNER ADVANCE color and black & white devices will be one of the first to feature U.S. EPA EPEAT certification.  To achieve this prestigious certification, the EPA must evaluate not only the device itself, but also look at how it is manufactured and how it can be recycled at end of life.

I asked Amorosano how he thought this continuing evolution of in-house capability was likely to affect the small commercial printer, who might see volumes decline as companies are able to keep more volume in-house. His response:

“From a manufacturer’s perspective, we need to capture the page volume wherever those pages are going to be created. That being said, there is a discernible difference in image quality between office and production class devices.  Most commercial printers will be looking for press-like image quality that can be offered by products such as the imagePRESS family and Océ sheet-fed and continuous feed presses. The applications that have the most risk of moving away are more office-oriented, such as printing of PowerPoint presentations and the like. The truth is, printers need to transform their businesses.  If they are only providing basic printing output services, they are in trouble.  If they haven’t already made investments in things like variable data, marketing services, packaging, etc., they are probably a little late at this point.  It is just the nature of the market at this stage.”

original article

EPSON Launches Win & Print Sweepstakes With Weekly Winners

LONG BEACH, Calif., Sept. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Epson America, Inc. today announced the EPSON® Win & Print Sweepstakes, an exciting online chance to win either an EPSON Artisan® or WorkForce® all-in-one printer each week through Oct. 15, 2012.

Starting today, visitors to the EPSON Win & Print Sweepstakes page can enter for a chance to win one of four premium EPSON all-in-one home or office printers, including the WorkForce 645WorkForce 845Artisan 730 and Artisan 837. Participants are allowed to enter once during the duration of the contest, but will be carried over to each week’s drawing if they are not selected as winners.

“Epson is always looking for fun and interactive ways to engage our online audience, and the Win & Print Sweepstakes is just one of the ways we’re showing consumers how much we appreciate their support,” said Scott Sturcke, senior manager, online marketing, Epson America, Inc. “Offering our award-winning WorkForce and Artisan all-in-ones for the Win & Print Sweepstakes is our way of saying thank you to the community that has helped distinguish Epson as a leader in the printer industry.”

About Epson
Epson is a global imaging and innovation leader whose product lineup ranges from inkjet printers and 3LCD projectors to sensors and other microdevices. Dedicated to exceeding the vision of its customers worldwide, Epson delivers customer value based on compact, energy-saving, and high-precision technologies in markets spanning enterprise and the home to commerce and industry. Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 75,000 employees in 97 companies around the world, and is proud of its ongoing contributions to the global environment and the communities in which it operates. To learn more about Epson, please visit http://global.epson.com.

No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Sweepstakes starts 09/18/2012 and ends 10/16/2012. Sweepstakes open to individuals who are 18 years of age or older as of 09/18/2012 (except in Alabama and Nebraska, where you must be 19 years of age or older to enter) and a legal U.S. resident of one of the 50 United States or D.C. Void where prohibited. Subject to Official Rules. Sponsored by Epson America, Inc., 3840 Kilroy Airport Way, Long Beach, CA 90806. Any questions, comments or complaints about this Sweepstakes should be directed to Sponsor.

You may also connect with Epson America on Facebook (http://facebook.com/EpsonAmerica), Twitter (http://twitter.com/EpsonAmerica andhttp://twitter.com/EpsonEducation) and YouTube (http://youtube.com/EpsonTV).

Specifications are subject to change without notice. EPSON, WorkForce and Artisan are registered trademarks, and EPSON Exceed Your Vision is a registered logomark of Seiko Epson Corporation. All other product and brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Epson disclaims any and all rights in these marks.

SOURCE Epson America, Inc.

original article

Purdue University Professor Fixes Major Flaw In 3D Printing

3D printing has come a long way since its humble roots over 20 years ago. The technology has become affordable and people are starting to make some really awesome objects with the technology. Unfortunately, it’s still hampered by a few setbacks. A major flaw is that some objects just don’t have the strength to stay together.

Purdue University professor Bedrich Benes knows how fragile some 3D printed objects can be. He claims to have a “zoo” of broken 3D printed objects strewn about his office. His newest project aims to create new 3D printing software that can find points of stress in an object before it heads to the 3D printer. The software is being co-developed by Benes and Adobe’s Advanced Technology Labs.

The new software isn’t only about making 3D printed structures stronger. Benes says that his software can cut down on weight and cost by 80 percent. It does, however, have one caveat – precision. The software’s main focus is structural stability. Benes says that 3D printing can sacrifice precision in the name of stability. Your 3D printed object can have a precise shape, but it’s still worthless if it falls apart.

For now, the software can only detect grip points on an object and strengthen those parts. I can see this software evolving in the future alongside other 3D printing projects, like housing. It could detect stress points on a house and fix them in the planning stages before the construction begins.

3D printing is becoming more prominent in all of our lives. We need to have software like this to make sure things don’t break where we need them most. A small plastic figurine is fine if it breaks, but it would be a problem if a 3D printed satellite were to break.

original article
  • Toner Talk with Trudy, Part 3 – Printers and Their Ink (webpronews.com)

Toner Talk with Trudy, Part 3 – Printers and Their Ink

The neatest thing about owning a specialty store is that your customers like to talk about their needs and give feedback regarding the printers they own or want.  Of course, my specialty is supplying every possible product that will fit into an inkjet or laser printer. I primarily want to see my customers purchase printers that are right for them.  I want to tell you what I have learned about inkjet printers; mainly because nearly everyone owns one, and I garner a ton of information (good and bad) quizzing my customers when they stop in to purchase cartridges.

The first thing is to beware of is when you are offered a “printer bundle package,” (a free printer with your new computer), you can count on the cartridges being extremely expensive. Instead of a printer, take an upgrade in software or memory that does not get thirsty for ink a few weeks later. If the printer is a “bargain”… the ink most likely will be a rip-off of epic proportions.

I won’t mention their name, but their initials are HP and here is a good story about the “bargain”….

A customer of ours purchased three HP inkjet printers at about $20 each just for the cartridges that came with the printers. He knew darn well that the ink would run twice the price of the printer.  This is a little extreme, but creative nonetheless.

If you are printing recipes, emails, kids’ homework and a few photos, a $100 printer will suit your needs just fine.  But watch out, there are two very different $100 printers out there.

One style printer popular since the invention of inkjet printers is the printer requiring two cartridges.  You buy a black cartridge and a tri-color cartridge.  We routinely refill these, so I know exactly how much ink gets squished into that tiny sponge filled box with three colors.  Folks, it’s not much.  Newer versions are even built to look like older models, but are effectively hollowed out to reduce the amount of ink that can be replaced.  I think this could not be more dumb! I know what ink cost and few more drops would not break the bank for Canon or Lexmark or HP.  I also think it is an absolute crime that printer manufacturers present you with a new

printer and their lame excuse of what they call “starter cartridges”.  All these cartridges do is get you started, and then you start your car to buy the full size version that are still woefully low when it comes to page production!

I have also encountered products made now that cannot stand up to the rigors of refilling nor will they read in your printer a second time due to firmware that kills the electronics on these little inkjets.
In case I have not made myself perfectly clear, I am not a fan of the two- cartridge inkjet system.  I also know the attention span of a reader. So let us revisit soon and I shall let you in on the printers I do think make economical and practical sense.

If you cannot wait to hear the ending, feel free to call me at 972 548 9393. I can speak more frank with you and not get sued.

original article

Ask LH: What’s A Good Cheap Laser Printer For A Student?

Dear Lifehacker,
Dear Lifehacker, I am a first year university student in need of a new printer that better suits my needs as a student. Ideally the printer would be around the $100 budget, have a high page per minute output and relatively cheap toner. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks, Printing Profusely

Dear PP,

You know that old axiom about having things good, fast or cheap, but you’ve got to pick only two? It totally applies here, and arguably within this category you can’t really have fast anyway. Even within the laser world (although some of them are more accurately LED printers now), cheap printers are built on the razor blades model; the replacement inks/toners are more expensive than the comparatively more costly ones, if only because it’s expected at the cheap end of town that you’ll be using them for lower-impact printing that a small to medium sized office might.

But if budget is your primary consideration, Brother’s standalone monochromes are a good bet in this regard; for whatever it’s worth I’ve got a cheap Brother HL-2150N in my office right now, and while it’s been complaining for a while that the toner is low, it continues to chug along. That’s an obsolete model right now, but the slightly more current HL-2130 can be had for around sixty bucks. You won’t find too many really budget-priced single function mono lasers with really cheap toner, but careful use of draft mode (which shouldn’t be a concern for most University students unless you’re producing a lot of very fine drawings or such) should also keep your toner costs low.

As always, I’d be interested to hear what other Lifehacker readers think. Are cheap laser printers a good buy, or do you prefer a more expensive model with better toner performance?

Cheers
Lifehacker

Brother MFC-8910DW

BY M. DAVID STONE

One step up in Brother’s mono laser multi-function printer (MFP) line from the Brother MFC-8710DW $369.99 at TriState Camera, that I recently reviewed, the Brother MFC-8910DW shares almost all of the same features and specs. However, there’s one important addition. Instead of being limited to scanning only one side of a page, it can scan both sides at once. Not only can it deal with duplex (two-sided) documents, it can handle them at reasonably fast speed.

That alone is enough to make the MFC-8910DW of particular interest to any micro or small office or workgroup that has to scan, copy, or fax multi-page duplex documents. But it also helps that the printer offers all the same capabilities that make the Brother MFC-8710DW an attractive choice for heavy-duty needs.

Basic MFP features include the ability to print, scan, and fax, including over a network, as well as work as a standalone copier and fax machine. Conveniences include the ability to print from and scan to a USB memory key, as well as support for Wi-Fi and for a variety of mobile printing options, including AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, and Brother’s own mobile print and scan app.

Also loosely in the convenience category is the addition of on-site service to the one-year warranty, a little sweetener that isn’t included with Brother MFC-8710DW. The most important extra, however, is the duplex scanning.

Seeing Both Sides
As with most MFPs aimed at offices, the MFC-8910DW offers both a flatbed and an automatic document feeder (ADF) for scanning. Unlike most of its competition, however, it can fit legal-size pages on its flatbed, so you don’t need to use the 50-page ADF for one-page legal-size documents. Even more important is that it can scan in duplex, which may be an even better feature than you think.

There are two ways to scan both sides of a page. What most inexpensive MFPs offer is often called a reversing ADF. With these MFPs, the ADF is doing the duplexing, scanning one side of a page, turning the page over, and then scanning the other side. With the MFC-8910DW, the scanner does the duplexing, with two scan elements that each scan one side of the page at the same time. The result is much faster scans, with the paper moving through the ADF only once instead of twice.

In theory, using two scan elements should let you scan both sides of the page as quickly as one side, which is usually true for most duplexing desktop scanners for example. In my tests with the MFC-8910DW, however, the scanner visibly slowed down when I scanned in duplex. The good news is that the speed was still a lot faster than scanning each side separately.

Paper Handling and Setup
The MFC-8910DW also scores well on paper handling for printing, with a 250-sheet paper drawer, a 50-sheet multipurpose tray, and a built-in print duplexer. That should be enough for most small offices, but if you need more, you can boost the input capacity to 800 sheets with an optional 500-sheet second drawer ($209.99 list). Note too that the combination of a duplexing scanner and duplexing printer gives you the ability to copy both single- and double-sided pages to your choice of single- or double-sided copies.

As with the Brother MFC-8710DW and most other MFPs with a similar paper capacity, the MFC-8910DW is a little large to share a desk with comfortably, at 17.6 by 19.3 by 16.3 inches (HWD). However, it’s small enough to fit easily enough in most micro or small offices. Assuming you have room for it, setup is absolutely standard.

Speed and Output Quality
For my tests, I connected the printer to a wired network and ran the tests from a Windows Vista system. Interestingly, despite all the similarities to the Brother MFC-8710DW, Brother rates the MFC-8910DW at a slighter faster speed, namely 42 pages per minute (ppm) rather than 40 ppm. On our tests, however, the two were essentially tied.

Brother MFC-8910DW

I clocked the MFC-8910DW on our business applications suite (usingQualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing), at 10.0 ppm. The Brother MFC-8710DW actually came in a touch faster, at 10.5 ppm, which isn’t enough of a difference to count as significant. As another point of reference, the Editors’ Choice OKI MB471 $352.27 at gocomputersupplies managed 9.5 ppm, putting the speed for all three printers in the same range of being respectable, but not particularly impressive.

Output quality earns the same general description: respectable, but not impressive, which translates to par quality across the board. Text and graphics output are both easily good enough for any internal business need. However, the text isn’t up to what you’d want for high-quality desktop publishing, and depending on how demanding you are, you may not consider the graphics good enough for, say, PowerPoint handouts when you’re trying to convey a sense of professionalism. Photo quality is suitable for printing photos in company or client newsletters and the like, and easily good enough for printing Web pages with photos.

When I reviewed the Brother MFC-8710DW, I pointed out that it was a perfectly good choice, with reasonably good speed, par output quality, ample paper handling, and all the MFP features that most small offices need. The MFC-8910DW offers all the same features, which makes it at least as reasonable a pick for any micro or small office. However, it’s the added ability to scan in duplex that makes it either worth picking or not.

Quite simply, if you don’t need a duplex scan capability, there’s no point in paying for it. You should be looking at the Brother MFC-8710DW or the OKI MB471. On the other hand, if you need to scan, copy, or fax duplex documents even occasionally, being able to scan in duplex is worth the extra cost. It also makes a compelling argument for choosing the Brother MFC-8910DW instead.

Cutting printing costs, one pixel at a time

Tech at Israel’s Preton trims stray pixels, reducing ink and toner use

By Robert Daniel, MarketWatch

TEL AVIV (MarketWatch) – A popular riddle these days asks: What’s the most expensive stuff on the planet? The answer is supposed to be printer ink, and while a perfume or other esoteric fluid might actually qualify, there is no arguing that the technological containers take a big bite out of consumer and corporate budgets.

An Israeli start-up, Preton Ltd., produces a software agent, downloadable to a personal computer or server, that trims unnecessary pixels from all documents—images and text—so printers expel less ink and toner to reproduce them. Preton’s patented Pixel Optimizer system works without reducing the sharpness of the printed documents, said Chief Executive Ori Eizenberg.

These days, everyone assumes that since documents can be instantly transmitted over the Net and cellphones, no one will use printers, Eizenberg said. In fact, “world-wide, 1% to 3% of global revenue goes to printing,” simply because the machines are cheap and literally everywhere, he says.

And there is little point to all that printing, since 70% of printed documents are dumped in the trash within they day they’re printed, he said.

Simple question. Unclear answer.

Eizenberg, 42, founded Preton in 2005. (The name is pronounced PRE-tone and connotes pre-toner technological intervention.) He runs it with Yishai Brafman, chief technology officer, and Boaz Katz, vice president of technology support. The company employs 13 at Tel Aviv headquarters, five in Hong Kong and two in Japan, and it recently opened its U.S. office in Boca Raton, Fla., with one staffer.


Preton

The method behind Preton’s technology.

Eizenberg says that when he started Preton, he canvassed some major companies with a simple question: “`Do you know how much you’re spending on printing?’ I got the same answer from all of them: `a lot, but we don’t know how much,’” he said. “All of them understood that it’s expensive but they had no visibility” about the true cost.

For the printer companies, the market is like razors and blades: The profit sits not in the equipment itself but in the consumables people must buy thereafter, “The ink is massively profitable,” he said.

One obvious example is Hewlett-Packard, HPQ +1.39% the Palo Alto, Calif., imaging-equipment major. “The previous CEO was thinking of selling the printer business,” Eizenberg said.”The new CEO will merge it with the personal-computer division. [Printer] companies are aggressively marketing printers and people are using them.”

Gartner Inc. analysts said that ink and toner account for half the total cost of operation on some printers and more in color printing.

For businesses, “reducing the density of ink or toner by 10% to 20% could help realize annual cost savings” of about $30 a user without major loss of readability, the June report, by Sharon McNee, Ken Weilerstein and Tomoko Mitani, said.

In addition, Weilerstein told MarketWatch that 10% to 20% is a conservative range. Some companies can and will cut their ink and toner usage 30% to 40%, with additional savings.

How it works

Eizenberg explained that computer pixels are squares, but printers can’t print squares, so printer drivers convert them to circles. In the print process, these circles are structured so they overlap each other, and that overlap creates substantial unnecessary pixels.

Preton’s optimizing technology identifies and deletes those useless pixels and enables ink or toner to bleed into the spaces left by the deleted pixels.

The system also negotiates text and graphics differently. The savings on color printing is less since colors aren’t uniform across a picture and fewer pixels can be deleted in the interest of maintaining the quality of the image, he said. On the fly, the system distinguishes text and different graphics on a particular document and eliminates pixels from each element, he said.

What’s critical, Eizenberg said, is that the savings on ink can be measured in real money.

Preton’s current customer base varies widely across sectors including banking (for example, Spain’s BBVA BBVA +0.82% ES:BBVA -1.79% and South Korea’s Hana Bank,KR:086790 -0.73% health care (Israel’s Clalit public-health-clinic network, a number of U.K. hospitals), retail (Tiffany & Co. TIF +2.29% in Japan, Carrefour S.A. FR:CA -2.58% in Spain), telecom and technology, government and education.

One group of companies has Eizenberg’s particular attention: providers of managed print services like a division of Japan’s Oki Electric Industry Co. JP:6703 +1.09%

For these providers, to which organizations outsource the management of their imaging needs, toner makes up half of fixed costs, Eizenberg noted. “They have a strong incentive to reduce fixed costs,’ he says.

Preton is profitable, Eizenberg said, but declined to discuss financial details. The company has financed itself internally from the get-go, with no input from venture capital, he said.

And with the June opening of the Florida office, he’s looking to expand broadly into the U.S. “The U.S. is in a fairly positive [economic] position relative to Europe and Asia,” he said. “It’s a huge market and it’s the right opportunity.”

Robert Daniel is MarketWatch’s Middle East bureau chief, based in Tel Aviv.

Eliminating Clogged Inkjet Printers by Mimicking Tearful Eyes

Electric “blinks” keep printer nozzles working.
Originally published:
Sep 12 2012 – 2:45pm
By:
Joel N. Shurkin, ISNS Contributor

(ISNS) — It isn’t often that you can learn to build a better inkjet printer by studying eyeballs, but researchers have done just that.

One of the problems with an inkjet printer is that the cartridges can clog up. This can happen if the nozzle has dried-up ink, from infrequent use, or if it contains air bubbles, which can form after changing cartridges. When you send a job to a clogged printer, wet ink from the cartridge has to blast through the crust or air bubbles, and if it manages to work at all, you end up with some wasted ink.  If you are using one of the new3-D printers for additive manufacturing, it could waste even more expensive materials.

Like printers, eyes also require a consistent supply of moisture. Nature washes eyes in tears, spread on the outside of the eye with each blink. The problem is that the tears can evaporate in contact with air, leaving the eye dry and irritated if blinking isn’t constant.

That usually doesn’t happen because the outer layer of tears is a lipid layer secreted by the meibomian gland on the rim of the eyelid that prevents evaporation by keeping the rest of the tears from contact with the air.

The device invented at the University of Missouri ends the printer problem by imitating how eyes cope, said Jae Wan Kwon, associate professor of engineering.

“It can be used on any kind of inkjet printer out there at low cost, and it works just as well on the larger printers,” Kwon said.

Kwon and graduate student Riberet Almeida transferred the anatomical idea to the problem of clogged printer nozzles, a scientific approach called biomimicry, where science or engineering mimics nature.

The nozzles in inkjet printers are tiny. They are 45 microns wide, half the diameter of a typical human hair. The small size itself is a problem.

The system designed by Kwon and Almeida covers the nozzle of the printer with a droplet of silicone, keeping the nozzle and the ink at the nozzle mouth moist by blocking contact with the air.

Mechanically blinking the silicone over the tiny nozzle with tiny shutters or mechanical eyelids won’t work because surface tension would keep the nozzle closed, Kwon said. His process moves the droplet of oil off the nozzle when it is ready to print by an electrical field. When the printing is done, the field covers the nozzle with more oil.

“The oil drop can be used on any kind of print head,” Kwon said, including most if not all the printers used in home and office. Since ink cartridges are the most expensive part of operating a printer, which could save a considerable amount of money.

Printers are sold with the same business plan that got King C. Gillette rich: His razors were cheap enough to encourage a sale, and the profit came in expensive blade refills. In printers, the machines are cheap, and the profit is in the ink cartridges.

It can be expensive. A 2009 report by printer manufacturer Lexmark International and O’Keeffe & Co., a marketing firm, indicated that the federal government alone wastes $440 million a year in printing and each federal employee prints an average of 30 pages a day.

Further, studies show that when printers signal that they are out of ink, they often aren’t. A study by the magazine PC World showed that in some brands, the printer signaled “empty” where the cartridge still had nearly half its ink.

Anything that improves the efficiency of printers would help business and government.

Manufacturers apparently understand that.

Thom Brown, a supplies expert at Hewlett Packard, said the manufacturer was aware of the potential problem.

“HP already takes a number of steps to avoid ink from drying in cartridges such as cartridge design, ink chemistry, careful selection of ingredients, printer design, and servicing algorithms,” said Brown. “Additionally, HP printers are equipped with a physical cap to prevent the ink at the print head from drying out while the printer is not in use. Under normal wear and use this design performs very well to prevent ink drying at the nozzle.”

Brown said using the manufacturer’s ink, drying shouldn’t be a problem if the printer is used normally.

In 3-D printers, some of which extrude plastics or biological material, the savings could be even greater.

One type, Kwon said, would be in printers being used to create biological matter such as tissue material. These printers could eventually be used to “print” human organs by squirting out human cells.

“These cells are so expensive that researchers often find it cheaper to replace the nozzles rather than waste the cells. Clog-free nozzles would eliminate the costly replacements,” Kwon said.


Joel Shurkin is a freelance writer based in Baltimore. He is the author of nine books on science and the history of science, and has taught science journalism at Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Brother MFC-8950DW

Although nearly identical in most ways to the Brother MFC-8910DW that I recently reviewed, the Brother MFC-8950DW $525.00 at PCNation, offers enough extra to be easily worth the extra cost. The key additions are a higher paper capacity, making it suitable for even heavier-duty printing, and front-panel touch-screen controls, making it easier to give commands from the front panel. Either feature by itself can be well worth having. Together, they make the printer an Editors’ Choice.

Clearly aimed at a micro or small office or workgroup with heavy-duty needs, the MFC-8950DW can print, scan, and fax, including over a network. It can also serve as a standalone copier and fax machine, with the touch screen helping to make it unusually easy to use in those roles. Notable conveniences include printing from and scanning to a USB memory key, as well as support for a variety of mobile printing options, including AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, and Brother’s own mobile print and scan app. In addition, it offers Wi-Fi Direct, so you can easily connect to mobile devices.

Serious about Scanning
One of the more unusual touches for the MFC-8950DW is far better scan capability than you may expect. As with most MFPs aimed at offices, the MFC-8950DW includes both a flatbed and an automatic document feeder (ADF). Unlike the flatbeds on most small office MFPs, however, the MFC-8950DW’s flatbed is big enough for legal-size pages.

You can also scan at legal size with the 50-page ADF, and scan in duplex (both sides of the page). Very much worth mention is that the scanner, rather than the ADF, does the duplexing, meaning it has two scan elements, so it can scan both sides of the page at the same time. Many, if not most, small office MFPs with duplex scanning use duplexing ADFs instead (often called reversing ADFs), which scan one side of the page, turn it over, and then scan the other side.

In theory, having two scan elements should let you scan both sides of the page as quickly as one side. In reality with the MFC-8950DW, the scanner visibly slowed down when I scanned in duplex. Even so, the speed was a lot faster than it would be scanning each side separately.

Not so incidentally, note that the ability to scan in duplex, combined with print duplexing, also lets you copy both single- and double-sided pages to your choice of single- or double-sided copies.

Paper Handling and Setup
For small offices with heavy-duty print needs, the MFC-8950DW also earns lots of points for its paper handling for printing, with a 500-sheet paper drawer, a 50-sheet multipurpose tray, and a built-in print duplexer standard. If you need still heavier-duty printing, you can bring the capacity up to 1,050 sheets with a 500-sheet second drawer option ($209.99 list), although the smarter choice is to get the Brother MFC-8950DWT ($700 street), which according to Brother is the identical printer with the second tray already added.

As you would expect for any MFP with this much paper capacity, the MFC-8950DW is too large to share a desk with comfortably. However it’s small enough at 18.8 by 19.3 by 16.3 inches (HWD) that you shouldn’t have any trouble finding room for it in most small offices. Once you have it in place, setup is standard.

Speed and Output Quality
The MFC-8950DW’s speed is best described as respectably fast, but not impressive. For my tests, I connected the printer to a wired network and ran the tests from a Windows Vista system. Not surprisingly, given all the similarities to the MFC-8910DW, including the same 42 page-per-minute (ppm) engine rating, the two performed similarly on our tests. On our business applications suite, I timed the MFC-8950DW at 10.6 ppm, essentially tying the MFC-8910DW. As another point of reference, the somewhat less expensive Editors’ Choice OKI MB471 $352.27 at gocomputersupplies scored a slightly slower 9.5 ppm.

Output quality is par for a mono laser MFP across the board, which makes it acceptable without being impressive. Text and graphics output are easily good enough for any internal business need, but text is a little short of what you’d want for high-quality desktop publishing, and depending on your level of perfectionism, you may not consider the graphics suitable for, say, PowerPoint handouts when you’re trying to convey a sense of professionalism.

Photo quality is easily good enough for printing Web pages with photos. Whether you consider it suitable for printing photos in company or client newsletters and the like will depend, once again, on how much of a perfectionist you are.

In my MFC-8910DW review, I suggested that its ability to scan in duplex was a primary reason to either choose it if you need duplex scanning or pass on it if you don’t, since there’s no reason to pay extra for the feature if you don’t need it. The same logic applies here to some extent, but the MFC-8950DW has other compelling arguments in its favor as well.

In an office with sufficiently heavy-duty print needs, the high paper capacity by itself can make the Brother MFC-8950DW worth getting, and the convenience of touch-panel controls can be particularly attractive if you expect to use the standalone copier and fax features often enough. Also worth mention is the printer’s Gigabit Ethernet, which, depending on network traffic and the rest of your network hardware, could make a difference in the print speeds you’ll actually see. All of these features together make the Brother MFC-8950DW Editors’ Choice for any micro or small office with truly heavy-duty needs.