As technology changes in the ACE (Architecture, Construction, and Engineering) industry, so do the needs of the business equipment. Today, more CAD sets and project plans are being shared electronically through Email, Cloud Storage Services, and FTP websites. These increasingly popular methods of sharing information put the burden of printing hardcopies on your company. Along with the additional cost of printing more wide-format documents in house, there has also been a growing demand to incorporate more color enhancements into the drawings.
Because of the changes in how wide format files are sent out, and the increased need for color, it is more important than ever to make sure you are equipped with the right device for the times. Let’s take a look at 3 reasons why you might want to consider upgrading to a toner based wide format system:
The immediate difference you will notice when comparing the cost of an inkjet or toner system is the initial hardware cost. The average inkjet system (print/copy/scan) can cost approximately $6,000.00, compared to a toner system which can cost about $30,000.00.
With the initial shock of the price tag out of the way let’s take a deeper dive into what the cost of operation truly is for these machines. Based on the average coverage of a Color CAD drawing at 12%, and using average consumable costs and their respective yields we can accurately project an inkjet system will cost $0.17 per square foot, compared to an average toner system cost of approximately $0.065 per square foot.
For our cost of operation comparison let’s assume both machines are owned for 5 years, and average 6,000 sq. ft. per month (1,000 24”x36” drawings).
Hardware: $6,000 / 60 months = $100.00 per month
Consumables: $0.17 per sq. ft. x 6,000 sq. ft. = $1,020.00 per month
Total Cost of Operation: $1,120.00 per month ($67,200 over 60 months).
Hardware: $30,000 / 60 months = $500.00 per month
Consumables: $0.065 per sq. ft. x 6,000 sq. ft. = $390.00 per month
Total Cost of Operation: $890.00 per month ($53,400 over 60 months).
As you can see, once you get past the upfront price of the device there are plenty of cost savings available if you are producing the volume. In this example we are projecting a savings of $13,800.00 over a five year period. Now imagine how much more you could save if you produced over 1,000 D-Sized drawings per month.
Should you buy or lease your next office equipment.
Inkjet wide format devices are in the same boat as those cheaper inkjet printers you can find in many offices that end up getting replaced every couple of years. Often these devices are designed to only last 3-4 years before needing to be replaced. And if you are putting some decent volumes on the device the cost of consumables (Print Heads, Maintenance Kits, etc) can force you into upgrading earlier than expected.
The toner models in the current market are made to handle much larger volumes and can last well into 7-10 years of operation. This kind of durability brings you much more financial freedom. You can do a Dollar Buy Out lease knowing you can expect it to keep running after end of term, or you can feel comfortable purchasing the unit with the confidence you will have the device for a long time.
Another major difference between these two types of devices is the output speed. Inkjet machines are considerably slower than a toner based machine. On average an inkjet will have an output speed of 2 D-Sized drawings per minute, while the toner machines out today are at least 4 times faster at around 8+ D-Sized drawings per minute.
Think about the benefits that extra speed could provide you. If you have multiple inkjet machines (which I see a lot in ACE environments), you can consolidate devices and not sacrifice any speed. You can stop relying on outside sources to help with your overload printing and put the money you saved back into your company’s pocket. If you have to manage multiple inkjets at various job site locations, you would now have the speed and functionality to create a centralized printing facility at your main office.
Please don’t take this article as a knock on any Inkjet Wide Format devices. Inkjets definitely have their place in many different industries and can be the preferred choice for higher quality graphic output. If your volumes are not as high as the examples above, they could even be a perfect fit in your environment.
If after reading this blog you think it’s finally time to look into upgrading to a new toner based system, make sure to reach out to a professional who can accurately measure your needs and recommend the best product for you.