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Minolta and Ricoh Dealer Meetings Focus on Color and Solutions

24 Jan, 2003 By: Buyers Laboratory, Inc. imageSource

Minolta and Ricoh Dealer Meetings Focus on Color and Solutions

Corporation and Minolta Corporation recently held annual dealer meetings that,
like the recent meetings of most other vendors, had themes related to selling
“solutions” rather than just boxes.

Ricoh, the theme was “See IT, Get IT, Grow with IT,” promoting the idea that
Ricoh sales representatives need to build a relationship with organizations’
IT departments because “whoever owns the network, owns what’s on the
network.” Toward that end, Ricoh, which aims to achieve the number two
position in market share for color laser printers as part of its three-year
plan, announced for several of its Ricoh Aficio products free plug-ins for Web
Jet Admin, the administrative software used by companies that use
Hewlett-Packard printers. This means that network administrators who use Web Jet
Admin, who previously could identify only that a Ricoh Aficio device was on
their network and receive only generic and perhaps incorrect information about
its configuration or status, can now download a plug-in for a specific Aficio
model in order to get the more detailed information they can get on HP printers.
And although it won’t appear in Ricoh products for some time, according to a
representative at the product exposition, Microsoft’s universal plug-and-play
technology, which lets the network know the characteristics of a device
connected to it and eliminates the need for scan drivers,for example, was  being demonstrated.

broadly focused on solutions, Minolta’s dealer meeting had as its theme
“Beyond the Box.” Minolta announced that it had established the Minolta
Solutions Business Group, headed by Mark Santus and dedicated to “developing
and marketing hardware, software  and
services packages to help customers be more productive in their working

meetings of both companies also shared an emphasis on color, with Ricoh showing
what it claims to be the “first black-and-white multifunctional product with
color capability,” the type of product expected to accelerate the conversion
to color in offices since its cost for black-and-white pages is said not to
carry a premium, and Minolta showcasing its recently introduced CF3102 and
CF2002, successors to the CF2001 and CF1501 LED array color multifunctional
products, which offer significant enhancements.

companies also stressed the importance of dealers and sales representatives
gaining hands-on experience with solutions, which both companies say will drive
sales of hardware in the future. So, at Minolta’s meeting, for example, the
product exhibits included hands-on, classroom-like sessions where dealers
actually used PageScope Cabinet to create a real estate flyer and tried out the
new capabilities of the utilities bundled with the latest Fiery-developed
controllers. Similarly, the Ricoh meeting included a session entitled “Eat
What You Cook” that suggested ways for dealers to set up their dealerships to
encourage sales representatives to become knowledgeable of Ricoh’s software

New From Minolta?

With color as one of Minolta’s  core competencies, the recently introduced CF3102 and CF2002,
single-pass color LED multifunctional products, were among the highlights of
Minolta’s show. As we reported in last month’s issue, these two new
products, which output black at 31 ppm and output color at 31 and 20 ppm,
respectively, offer a number of significant enhancements over their
predecessors. The new models employ Konica-developed polymerized toner.
According to Minolta, this resulted in a newly designed fusing section that no
longer includes a fuser oil web application roller or oil cleaning roller and
that requires less heat and pressure, enabling feeding of a wider range of
stocks—glossy paper and stocks up to 140-lb., as well as labels, envelopes and
transparencies designed for use in laser devices can all be fed from the
multipurpose drawer.

improvement in this latest generation are higher yields for the components,
resulting in longer uptime for customers and a cost per page for color that
Minolta says is less than 8 cents per page. The new models can each be
configured with an optional 10-GB hard drive that supports expanded
functionality such as the ability to store jobs and print them later and to
program a copy job while a print or copy job is in progress. They also offer
more sophisticated editing functions such as the ability to produce color
separations and adjust the density of specific colors.

CF3102 is priced at $17,395, while the CF2002 is priced at $14,195. A choice of
optional print controllers includes the CN3102e (priced at $4,200) embedded
controller from EFI, which is based on a 700-MHz processor and offers both Adobe
PostScript 3 and PCL 5c, and Minolta’s CN3101e (priced at $3,600), which has a
slower processor and offers PCL 5c only. Scanning capability (to file, e-mail,
FTP and Internet fax) is offered with both controllers. A print-only version of
the CF2002 will be available early next year, while a print-only version of the
CF3102 will be available sometime later.

color systems on display were the Magicolor 3100, a 16-ppm single-pass laser
printer, and the Magicolor 2210, which outputs at 5 ppm in color and 20 ppm in
monochrome. Minolta, which placed third in terms of color placements last year,
according to John Reilly, director of marketing and strategic planning, 
will also sell the 50-ppm Konica-developed color unit that Konica
previewed at Seybold.

also showed several new monochrome multifunctional products, the 55-ppm DiALTA
Di551 and the 85-ppm DiALTA Di850, both of which are based on Konica engines.
Recommended by Minolta for monthly volumes up to 750,000 impressions, the DiALTA
Di850, priced at $39,000, is an 85-ppm unit. The DiALTA Di551, recommended by
Minolta for up to 300,000 impressions a month, is a 55-ppm unit priced at
$18,000. The Di850 offers a standard paper capacity of 2,350 sheets (expandable
to 6,750 sheets), while the Di551 offers a standard paper capacity of 2,600
sheets (expandable to 7,000 sheets). Both models are equipped with a 20-GB hard
drive and the DiALTA Di551 is equipped with 64 MB of RAM (expandable to 320 MB),
while the DiALTA 850 offers 128 MB of RAM (expandable to 512 MB). Both units are
offered with a choice of finishers. The DiALTA Di850 can also be configured with
a trimming unit.

Pi6500e (Fiery) embedded print controller, offered for both the DiALTA Di551 and
DiALTA Di650, features bidirectional capability, whereby the unit’s
configuration is automatically detected and displayed on the driver and
information on paper size and paper and toner levels is also accessible from a
tab on the driver. The controller offered for the DiALTA Di850 is the
Fiery-developed Pi8500Pro ($7,200). Scan capability (to hard drive, FTP server
and e-mail) is available for both systems. Also on display were several of
Minolta’s microfilm document imaging systems.

the solutions on display at Minolta’s dealer show was a new high-end document
management system for scanning and retrieval of documents. Whereas PageScope
Cabinet is a low-volume client-based application with no indexing capabilities,
Recollect Enterprise, from Rebus, is a high-volume solution with sophisticated
capabilities. Other solutions on display included onCore and OneRIP print
controllers from AHT, MicroPress controllers from T/R Systems, accounting
solutions from Equitrac (PageCounter 100 and PrintLog Accounting Server) and the
PR2000, a solution from LCI Intermate for printing to Minolta’s
multifunctional products from IBM mainframe and minicomputers such as the AS/400 

New From Ricoh?

Among the new products on display at Ricoh’s show were the CL5000, a color
printer aimed at corporate use that outputs at 10 ppm in color and 36 ppm in
black and white, as well as a multifunctional product based on a similar engine,
the Ricoh Aficio 1232C. Slated for availability in the first quarter of 2003,
both are positioned by Ricoh as monochrome units with the added benefit of
convenience color output. Whereas Ron Potesky, director of workgroup systems
marketing for Ricoh, estimates that Ricoh’s Aficio 3800C color printer has a
usage ratio of about 80 percent color output to 20 percent black output, the new
products are expected to reverse that ratio, with about 80 percent of their
output being in black and only 20 percent in color.

CL5000 employs dual laser beams and prints at 600 x 600 dpi (600 x 1800
enhanced) at 2-bit depth. All three color drums are contained in a single color
development unit that has a life of 120,000 impressions so when one of the color
drums is spent, a new color development unit must be installed. A separate black
development unit also has a life of 120,000 impressions. Toner yields (based on
5 percent coverage) are 18,000 impressions for black and 10,000 impressions for
each of the three color toners. Ricoh estimated a cost of 9 cents a page for
color and 1.5 cents a page for black (including service and supplies). While
there will be a price premium for the added benefit of color in the suggested
retail price of the unit, Ricoh executives characterized the premium as “very
reasonable” and said that sales representatives accustomed to selling Segment
2 units will feel “very comfortable” offering color to the customer at the
price at which the Aficio 1232C will be offered.

CL5000, which can print full-bleed 11” x 17” images on stock up to 12” x
18”, has a standard paper capacity that consists of a 250-sheet drawer and a
100-sheet bypass tray and can be expanded to a maximum of 1,350 sheets. Paper
weights of up to 28-lb. bond are accommodated through the standard drawer and up
to 90-index can be fed through the bypass. A 10/100BaseTX Ethernet interface is
standard, as are parallel and USB ports, while a FireWire interface is offered
as an option. The print controller is based on a 250-MHz RM5261 processor and
offers Adobe PostScript 3 as well as a PCL 5c emulation and Ricoh’s own RPCS
language/driver. It has a standard RAM of 64 MB, which can be expanded to 384
MB. Automatic duplexing is an option, as are up to two additional 500-sheet
paper trays and a 20-GB hard drive. Output options include a 500-sheet finisher
and a four-bin mailbox that holds 125 sheets per bin.

multifunctional unit based on a similar engine, the Aficio 1232C, offers
duplexing and a 50-sheet reversing automatic document feeder as standard
features, as well as a higher standard paper capacity of 750 sheets. Ricoh
points out that the Aficio 1232C will employ Ricoh’s controller architecture
and offer all the functionality of a monochrome Segment 2 multifunctional unit,
including scan to e-mail, faxing on up to two lines, copying and network
printing with the added benefit of color. Users can adjust the density of colors
and perform a manual calibration by printing out a test page and scanning it in.
A similar but slower model, the Aficio 1224C, which prints full-color output at
8 ppm and black output at 24 ppm, will follow.

printer model, the CL3000, which offers a speed of 16.9 ppm in color and 21 ppm
in black and resolution of up to 1200 x 1200 dpi, will follow in the fourth
quarter of 2003. Ricoh’s previously introduced AP3850C, which prints at 38 ppm
in black and 28 ppm in color, has been selling very well, according to the

units on display include the recently introduced Aficio 1060 and 1075 (see the
July 2002 issue of Digital Imaging Review for details), configured with
Ricoh’s GlobalScan (see the August issue of Digital Imaging Review for
details), which now has plug-ins for DocuLex and Kofax Ascent software, as well
as integration with Captaris RightFax fax servers. The Priport JP8500 ($18,995),
a digital duplicator slated for December launch that will be offered with an
embedded controller, was also shown. Though not on display at the dealer show,
Ricoh has just launched its newest monochrome product, the Aficio 1055, which
replaces the Aficio 551. This model, which is recommended by Ricoh for monthly
volumes of up to 175,000 impressions, is priced at $17,000. A 55-ppm unit, the
Aficio 1055 is very similar in terms of features to the Aficio 551. The new
model differs primarily in that it’s offered with the Type 1055
Peerless-developed controller. The predecessor model was offered with Fiery and
T/R Systems controllers. Unlike its predecessor, it’s also offered with only
one finisher, a new 3,000-sheet finisher that staples up to 50 sheets per set.
The Aficio 1055 also offers a higher toner yield than its predecessor (46,000
impressions vs. 43,000 impressions).

the fax front, Ricoh has launched its FAX5510L, a high-volume fax machine with
standard 33.6-Kbps dual-line capability and JBIG compression that boasts a
23-ppm print speed, outputs up to ledger-size paper and has a maximum paper
capacity of 2,600 sheets. A network configuration, the FAX5510NF, which comes
standard with a paper capacity of 500 sheets and a NIC Fax Unit that provides
real-time Internet fax (T.38), LAN fax and color scan-to-e-mail capabilities,
and optional 1200-dpi printing, is priced at $3,695. The FAX5510L, priced at
$3,495, offers a standard paper capacity of 1,000 sheets and offers the NIC Fax
Unit as a $795 option.

addition to GlobalScan, software solutions spotlighted at the show included
Ricoh’s Document Mall, a solution for hosted Web-based document storage and
retrieval, as well as variable data printing software called Document Output
Technology that will enable Ricoh output devices to print data from any host
computer onto custom-designed forms that can be simultaneously printed, faxed,
e-mailed and/or archived. Other software solutions demonstrated were a Web-based
version of Ricoh’s SmartNetMonitor administrative software utility and
plug-ins for Web Jet Admin. The first plug-ins available, will be for the Aficio
AP3800, AP4510 and 1045, with others to follow.

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