Buying a Used Wide Format Printer for CAD/GIS Jobs? 8 Things to Consider
Canon Solutions America has published a white paper entitled “Buying Used Wide Format Printers- What You Should Know.” The paper lists eight factors that can influence whether the short-term savings of buying a used wide format printer will make economic sense over the long term. They point out that latent hidden costs associated with a used wide format printer can prevent you from saving as much as you might expect.
Here are the eight factors that can add increased risk to purchasing used printers:
1. Security: A used printer could be useless in a secure environment if the printer’s controller isn’t running a Windows 7 operating system or higher. Older printers also may not have some of the security features that have been added as information has become increasingly electronic.
2. Software License: Some software licenses can’t be transferred to a third party. Software license(s) you acquired as part of the used printer may not be transferable to you.
3. File Processing Speeds: Some older printers have slower processing speeds and smaller memories than newer models. A smaller printer memory can take more time to print large, multi-page PDF, GIS or BIM files.
4. Printer Drivers: Manufacturers typically don’t update drivers for discontinued models of printers. As a result, drivers for older systems might not work at all when the operating systems of individual workstations are upgraded. If a 5-year-old printer is two three generations behind in print driver technology, printing from your CAD or other Windows applications may not be fully supports. So, your print could be missing important fonts, layers, line weights, etc.
5. Print Quality and Color Output: Older, used printers may print at a lower resolution, making it more difficult to render the quality required for complex black-and-white and color files.
6. Service and Parts: Getting service and parts may be an issue, particularly if you don’t buy the printer from the manufacturer or an authorized dealer. The availability of some parts may be limited as the older printer gets closer to obsolescence.
7. Financing: Leasing used large format printers usually carries higher financing rates. The risk of obsolescence is exacerbated if you are locked into lease for several years.
8. Total Operating Costs: If your print volume is low, the printer will likely be in stand-by mode for most of the day. Older equipment is often not as energy efficient as comparable new models, which can result in needless energy costs over time. Other costs to consider with older equipment include slower file-processing times, the inability to correctly print large, complicated files, and the likelihood of increased downtime.
Technology Keeps Changing
The white paper points out that “Only you can determine if there is sufficient reward for your business by purchasing a used wide-format printer. It always feels great to find a ‘deal.’ However, consider how much technology has changed over the past several years and how it is likely to change in the future.”