New Graphic Arts Printers that Make On Demand, In-House Printing Affordable

Andrew Hall, marketing manager, OKI Systems UK

A new term brings fresh opportunities. For some it’s the start of a new life, but it’s also time to review how a school or other organisation works. From a practical point of view, can efficiencies be made and are there better ways to carry out certain tasks?

The printing function is often a feature of school life that’s largely ignored – when it’s running smoothly that is. But at this time of year it comes to the fore. New starters need information packs, maps of the building must be produced and then flyers for clubs and sports fixture lists. Further ahead there’s the Christmas concert or play to publicise and programmes to create – and banners for the autumn fair.

With this year’s new intake settled in, next year’s school brochure might be on the agenda, together with other marketing materials such as posters. And this is all before even considering coursework materials and teaching aids.

So as well as being busy, this time of year can also be expensive. Outsourcing all these print jobs does take the pressure off staff, but it still needs to be carefully managed. Last minute changes can increase the bill significantly, as can over-estimating quantities. But there’s still the tendency to add more to the print run to be on the safe side, especially if there’s a minimum order. However, if you go for the cheapest option it may not be the best quality and it could dilute the image of the school to outsiders – a reputation that no doubt has been built up over many years.

If this is the case, have you thought of investing in one of the latest graphic arts printers that have been shown to work so well in schools, colleges and universities, whether in art and design departments or the print room?

This hasn’t really been an option until now. Printers that reproduced high end graphics were so large they took up an entire office or studio. They were also a major investment.

However, more recent models such as the OKI C911or the OKI Pro9541 are entirely different. Their relatively small footprint, affordable price tag and low total cost of ownership put them within reach of most educational establishments, especially if combined with a managed print servicecontract. This consolidates all print-related needs including supply of consumables and maintenance in one single monthly payment.

There is also one more aspect of these new devices that sets them apart –a real printing breakthrough. The Pro9541 provides white toner and clear spot colour. Previously printing white was expensive, long-winded and needed manual intervention, making it too costly for schools or colleges to consider. Now, using LED technology, white or clear toner can be used alongside high definition colour on a wide range of media, including coloured print media and film.

As a result, professional quality, vibrantly coloured printing can be achieved in-house at a fraction of the cost. They can handle paper from A6 size to SRA3 and banner lengths up to 1.3 metres. They can also print on paper stock up to 360 gsm single-sided and 320 gsm duplex, heavier than any comparable printer and ideal for invitations and programmes.

This versatility provides schools with the capability to print on demand with all the advantages this brings. For example, it eliminates the need for long lead times or delays due to a print house’s packed schedule. It makes it possible to print accurate volumes, saving on over-ordering and storage space. It also helps improve the quality of materials as it’s now possible to do short dummy runs and tweak the results quickly to reach an optimum quality.

For quick results, some print vendors such as OKI provide templates as part of the licence fee. These can be downloaded as software from the internet and used to create and print branded stationery. The templates simplify the editing of text and graphics and help users to match the document to the media and ensuring it’s the right size and is properly aligned.
But having these printers in-house can also prove a further asset for the generating revenue for the school. They can also print on transfer media which can be used with a heat press to produce original branded goods such as mugs to be sold at fairs and other events. This can also be used in art, design technology or business studies lessons to inspire revenue-making ideas.

These days there are few opportunities to help save costs and make money without sacrificing quality. But these OKI graphic arts printers are a chance to do all this and at the same time provide a platform for creativity.