Colour multifunction printers are a category of print device which continue to be popular with small business clients as well as some corporate users. Combining the monochrome capability of a traditional printer copier with the output of colour documents has built this class of device into a favourite, especially in offices with only one multifunction device.
Lower monochrome costs drive adoption
One of the reasons that this trend has come about is the ability of the monochrome 'click' charge (the rate charged for each page printed) on the colour multifunction to drop close to that which would be charged on a monochrome only device. In addition the capital cost of the colour device is now much closer to that of the black and white. This means that if you have a black and white copier to replace and you have a need for colour you can combine the two needs into one and pay only a small incremental cost for the combined unit.
Colour operating costs are lower
The trend to the colour multifunction printer is also supported by the ability to provide a lower colour operating cost (under ten cents per page) when compared to a stand alone colour printer. This is a result of the design of the units and also the fact that they tend to operate at higher volume than a dedicated colour device might do. Usually they will offer more features including the potential to have finisher/staplers and booklet capabilities added if they are needed.
Wide range of speeds available
When colour printing first started to enter the office the colour speed of devices was very slow, often less than 20% of the black and white speed. This meant that if the unit was being used for colour output it held up the potential monochrome jobs which were coming behind. Most colour multifunction printers now offer the same or very similar speed in colour and black and white, thus ensuring that if sized right there will not be bottle necks created by the colour work being done.
User codes protect colour costs
The final barrier to deploying a colour multifunction printer was the potential that the use of colour could overwhelm budgets. Traditionally colour printers were restricted and only selected users had access to the device. When the only device in the office is the combined multifunction then all users need to have access to it. The solution to this problem is the use of user codes to restrict access to the colour functions only by the authorized users. This permits colour to be used in a controlled way while giving full access to the black and white capability required.
I have found that most of the colour multifunction printers we have deployed in our area based in Burlington Ontario, have been replacements for older monochrome devices. Clients see the benefits of running one unit, paying one support contract, and giving their employees the tools they need while controlling the overall cost of printed output. Speeds range from about 20 pages per minute up to over 65 pages per minute depending upon the brand and need so there is a colour multifunction device that can meet the needs of most offices.
Does your office provide colour multifunction capability? What has your experience been? Add your comments below.