We recently posed the following question to the members of our LinkedIn group (Digital Printing Council): How do you distinguish between “convenience printing” or office digital copying equipment and “production” digital presses. In our post, we asked if anyone made this distinction solely on the basis of speed or pages per minute (PPM). We received a couple of in-depth responses that explained why simple PPM is not an effective means of distinguishing production equipment from office equipment.
John Conley, Vice President Commercial Print and Publishing, Xerox Corporation
The nomenclature of "production" versus "office is not driven by speed. It is driven by durability. Equipment that goes into a production environment needs to have the ability be up and running for the time frame the associated printer has designated as his working production period. This could be one, two, or three shifts. A production piece of equipment must be able to run billable work at rated speed over a sustained period of time with predictable outcomes and for the economic life of the equipment. A 100 PPM machine that is not built to produce 2.5 million+ pages a month of billable output over the 5 or more years of expected product life would not be a production device.
Said another way, office equipment is used on demand. It is not scheduled and has an expected usage of the average office work day, which is usually 8 to 10 hours and not potentially three 8 hour shifts as you could have in a production plant.
Karen Kimerer, Business Development Consultant, Xerox Corporation
I agree with John, PPM is not a qualifier. The question isn’t how many pages it can print over a minute, hour, or shift; it’s how many pages it can print over the course of a month—pages that may be unique job to job and that require make-ready and finishing. Along that line, a production press is differentiated by registration—image to page registration as well as front to back registration. Without consistent registration the print can’t be finished and subsequently becomes waste.
Media flexibility or substrate range also distinguishes a digital press from a fast copier. With the growth of eligible digital pages comes the growth of media types. a production press will have paper feeding, paper handling, turn radius and fusing elements designed and manufactured to address the challenges of heavier weight paper, synthetics, and even mixed media within a job.
Reliability and uptime that withstand the volumes and various media types clearly separates a production press from high-speed office products.