Out with the old, in with the new

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Think before switching printer technology

As we raised a glass and sang Auld Lang Syne to herald the start of 2018 I reflected on how people use New Year as an opportunity for fresh beginnings; ‘out with the old and in with the new’. From ‘Dry January’ and gym memberships/diets to shake off festive excesses to extremes like divorce proceedings! (Yes, the first Monday back at work after Christmas has long been dubbed Divorce Day).

But in the rush to replace old with new, we sometimes throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater and lose something valuable. I smiled over the festive period at stories of kids playing their parents’ LPs and 45s on record decks given as Christmas presents. They were engaging with an old technology despite having literally a plethora of digital alternatives at their fingertips. Some argue it’s a fad, some purists claim the sound quality of vinyl is better than digital but the jury seems out on a definitive answer.

But if we look at the impact of digital in our own sector, there are many that claim that dematerialisation makes print redundant. Yet with the huge growth in internet sales and the need to print off labels, delivery notes etc, there has arguably never been a higher demand than now for print.

I was told recently that Europe prints 33,300 pages every second. I imagine that figure includes home printers as well as business documentation but it illustrates that print is far from dead. Or far from being dematerialised any time soon. And in our line of work, with Regulations requiring us to keep paper trails, I can’t see an imminent end to print for critical business processes like inventory management, logistics, or production.

Widespread dematerialisation poses several obstacles because formats, standards and computer languages ​​are varied, like human language. Paper as a medium is also a kind of universal interface that can be read and annotated by virtually anyone, and then filed. It’s also easier to look at several paper documents simultaneously than toggling between screens in real time.

So while we may be printing less overall, there is still no viable, practical alternative technology that competes directly with the printing of certain critical documents. Which brings me back to forsaking old to embracing new. In this modern industrial and digital age it’s all too easy to overlook established and proven technologies like serial dot matrix. Some companies feel it no longer competes in terms of the print resolution, speed or paper handling abilities of newer technologies, or that it’s too noisy, particularly for offices.

Don’t overlook proven technologies like serial dot matrix

But in a world of expensive to maintain desktop printers, nothing could be further from the truth with devices like Printronix LLC’s new S828 and S809. They are very much fit-for-purpose workhorses. They deliver maximum uptime, low total cost of ownership (TCO) and reliably print transactional supply chain documentation.

The S828 has a print speed of 800cps while the S809 reaches 900cps. Both devices have best in class printhead life and an extended ribbon life (25 million characters); 25% better than competing desktops. Strong 6-pin tractors ensure superior form feeding every time. An optional second tractor allows two separate forms to be loaded simultaneously that the operator can easily switch between.

With noise levels of just 54dBA, the S809 and S828 are quieter than their peers making them ideal for both office and industrial spaces.

I’m all for embracing new technologies where the benefits are both obvious and measurable. But when it comes to high volume printing in busy production and distribution areas, with exacting workloads and hostile conditions, the use of serial dot matrix print is a no-brainer. These latest Printronix devices are tough, reliable assets and outclass their peers in terms of both performance and low TCO.

So, if you are thinking of replacing old desktops with new ones in 2018, take a deep hard look at the advantages of upgrading within a technology rather than embracing a shiny new one.

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jane@str8marketing.co.uk'

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