$3,000.00 Color Laser Printers. What the Sales Person Won’t Tell You!
By: Mike Lipshultz

By now you have all heard about the wide assortment of color Laser Printers out there for $3,000.00 or less. Without a doubt, if you have been thinking about buying one, you have done your research on them. Asked the questions, read the articles. Now BizNet Online Magazine is going to give you the information you really need. The information no sales person will ever tell you. When it comes to those $3,000.00 color Laser Printers there is a dirty little secret. In one word, it’s Duplexing!

You know, Duplexing, that simple act of printing on both sides of a piece of paper. Well, when it comes to those $3,000.00 printers, if you Duplex even one sheet of paper you will do serious harm to your printer. Now understand, we are not talking paper jam here. We are talking about voiding the warranty and doing THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in damage by just putting ONE piece of paper through your printer if you have already printed on one side.

Now, think about the reason for the purchase of a color Laser Printer. The main reason is how great the color output looks, which translates to how great it makes your company look. Sharp, clean, beautiful, waterproof color! Now, with this in mind, do you ever think you may want to do some Duplexing on that printer? You know, to put the finishing touches on a brochure or two.

Imagine your surprise when you try it only one time and discover you have basically destroyed your printer! Most tech support and manuals will only tell you that they do not support or recommend Duplexing and that it will void your warranty. They will not tell you it will destroy your printer. Now, let’s be honest. Most people that are only being told "We do not recommend it" or " It will void your warranty", are going to think, "Come on, one or two pieces of paper"? They are then going to try it, only to discover they just destroyed the printer. Why does this happen? It is simple, all Color Laser Printers use a heat process to fuse the toner to the paper. When you put a piece of paper into the printer that now has toner fused to the back side, it goes though the same process that fused the toner to the paper; it is now taking the toner off the back side of the paper and fusing it to the insides of your printer. Totally destroying your print engine, the most expensive part of the printer. You are now looking at $1,500.00 to $2,000.00 in non-warranty repair work.

Now you’re thinking, "you have got to be kidding, every printer does this?" The answer thankfully is no. First the more expensive color Laser Printers are designed to handle Duplexing. Unfortunately, you’re now looking at printers that cost $20,000.00 or more. Now the good news, The Minolta Page Works’ Color Laser Printer can do Duplexing, but read on. This printer uses a patented "Transfer Belt" system to transfer the toner to the paper; because of this you can get away with Duplexing.

Now please note, I did not say "It is designed, marketed, and warranted to do Duplexing. It is not. Duplexing is hard on this printer. It was not designed to do it. So if you choose to do limited Duplexing on it, you are also choosing to shorten its overall life and you will have to increase the maintenance on it. Now understand, this printer can do it and Minolta does not recommend or support doing it. For more information please see this month’s story on "When does it pay to wreck a $3,000.00 printer?"

One last piece of information, Tektronix printers use a Dye Sublimation printing technique. The "toner" used is a wax based toner. A large number of users are reporting that the wax based toner prevents the printed paper from going though document feeders on copy machines. Tektronix is working on this problem. If you need more information on the Tektronix problem check out their web site : http://www.tek.com/

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Last modified: November 08, 2002